Australian shares open lower on Cyprus, political worries
(Updates to open)
SYDNEY, March 22 (Reuters) - Australian shares fell 0.4 percent early on Friday as investors wait to see if Cyprus can meet a deadline on Monday to secure a bailout, with worries about the stability of the Australian government after a leadership crisis also hurting sentiment.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 17.8 points to be at 4,941.6 by 2310 GMT. The benchmark slipped 0.2 percent on Thursday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.1 percent or 2.3 points to 4,340.2. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by John Mair)
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