November 1, 2017 / 9:37 PM / a year ago

Australia shares expected to open slightly lower; NZ edges down in early trade

    By Aaron Saldanha
    Nov. 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to slip
lower on Thursday morning, on oil prices weakening after
rallying to their highest in over two years. 
    Brent crude futures         closed down 45 cents, or 0.74
percent, at $60.49 a barrel, receding from highs last touched in
June 2015 after the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
said crude stocks fell 2.4 million barrels last week, a smaller
draw down than the American Petroleum Institute (API), an
industry trade group, had reported.         
    Australia is due to release its trade balance data later in
the day.             .
    The share price index futures          rose 0.1 percent, or
4 points, to 5,933, a 4.8-point discount to the underlying
S&P/ASX 200 index         close. The benchmark rose 0.5 percent
on Wednesday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         slipped 0.1
percent in early trade, weighed down by healthcare and consumer
staples stocks. 
    The index's biggest drag was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare
Corporation Ltd         , which fell as much as 1.2 percent.
    On Wednesday, data showed that house prices grew at their
slowest pace in five years, with those in the Auckland region
falling for the first time in six years.             

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Robin
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