March 22, 2020 / 9:59 PM / 18 days ago

Australian shares poised to drop at open; NZ slides

    March 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open
lower on Monday as the widespread closure of venues across the
country offset new fiscal stimulus from the government to stem a
coronavirus-induced slowdown.
    Australia ordered pubs, cinemas, churches and casinos to
close and two more states said on Sunday they would shut their
borders, while the government pledged an extra A$66.4 billion 
($38.43 billion) to combat the impact of the respiratory virus.
    The local share price index futures          fell 1.8%, a
108.6-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index        
close. The benchmark closed 0.7% higher on Friday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         slid 5.5%
in early trade even as the central bank announced quantitative
($1 = 1.7280 Australian dollars)

 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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