Australia shares stabilise after sell-off

Australian shares may stabilise on Wednesday as investors hunt for bargains after the market's steep fall to a seven-week low, with mining stocks likely to find some support from firmer copper and iron ore prices.

* Local share price index futures rose 12 points to 4,401.0, a 21.2-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 1.5 percent to 4,379.8 on Tuesday, its lowest close since late September.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.4 percent to 3,955.5 in early trade. New Zealand retail sales volumes fell a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in the September quarter, 30, against expectations for a rise of 0.5 percent.

* US stocks sold off late on Tuesday, led by a slide in Microsoft shares. Concerns about the looming fiscal cliff kept investor activity subdued as lawmakers returned to Washington after the Nov. 6 election.

* Copper rebounded as the dollar eased against the euro but the metal used in construction remained vulnerable due to the unresolved debt crisis in Greece and the U.S. budget impasse.

* BHP Billiton said it has agreed to sell its Canadian EKATI diamond operation to Harry Winston for $500 million.

* CSR Ltd said net profit for the half year was A$20.4 million and it saw some encouraging signs of a recovery in housing construction beyond the current year.

* Fortescue Metals holds its annual shareholder meeting later on Wednesday

* Microsoft's slide hits tech shares, but retailers gain

* Brent crude falls on demand concerns, economies

* Palladium, platinum rally after report, gold flat

* Copper gains on dollar, Greece, US fiscal woes lurk.

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