October 4, 2017 / 9:09 PM / a year ago

Australia shares set for a steady start; NZ lower

    Oct 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open
flat on Thursday, despite positive leads from Wall Street, as
investors will be watching out for August retail sales figures
and trade balance data expected later in the day, while a
continued dip in oil prices might pressure energy stocks.
    Retail sales in July were flat, missing estimates, as
consumers, burdened by stagnant wages and rising utility bills,
sharply cut back their spending at department stores and on
household goods. Trade surplus for the month had also
    The local share price index futures          rose 0.3
percent, or 19 points, to 5,647, a 5.1-point discount to the
underlying S&P/ASX 200 index         close. 
    The benchmark had closed down 0.9 percent on Wednesday
dented by a decline in energy stocks and a weaker local
currency. The Aussie          since picked up after the U.S.
dollar lost momentum on speculation regarding the next Federal
Reserve Chair.       
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         was down
6.26 points, or 0.08 percent, to 7,493.43 at 2103 GMT.

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru)
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