SYDNEY, July 28 Australian shares are set for a
soft start to the week on Monday, tracking weakness on Wall
Street and metal prices, though an uptick in gold may limit the
* Local share price index futures slipped 0.1
percent, a 61.5-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. The benchmark fell 0.1 percent on Friday.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 0.3
percent in early trade.
* U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday in a broad
consumer-discretionary-led selloff after Visa and Amazon, a pair
of closely watched bellwether names, reported disappointing
* Copper slipped, hurt by the prospect of increased supplies
from Indonesia, but further falls were limited by encouraging
economic data from top consumer China.
* Gold rebounded from the previous session's drop to a
one-month low, as heightened tensions between Russia and the
West over Ukraine prompted speculators to scale back their
bearish bets ahead of the weekend.
* Australia's No. 2 private hospital company Healthscope Ltd
has its sharemarket debut in the country's biggest listing since
* National Australia Bank Ltd has agreed to sell a
625 million pound ($1.06 billion) portfolio of mostly
non-performing UK commercial property loans to private equity
firm Cerberus Global Investors.
* Frasers Centrepoint Ltd said its offer to
acquire Australand Property Group will close at 1900
Sydney time on August 7.
* Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd says it will acquire
Bear Head LNG project in Canada.
* REA Group Ltd has acquired a 17.2 percent
shareholding in IProperty Group.
* Leighton Holdings Ltd says its half year net
profit fell to A$291.3 million from A$366.2 million, and
declared an interim dividend of A$0.57 per share.
* Navitas Ltd will release its preliminary earnings
report later in the day.
* Wall St closes lower on Amazon, Visa; S&P's weekly gain
* Brent climbs above $108/bbl on U.S.-Russian tensions
* Gold up on Ukraine, short-covering; posts weekly loss
* Copper, zinc gain as China's factory growth rebounds
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(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)