February 22, 2018 / 9:17 PM / a year ago

Australian shares set to edge up; NZ gains

    Feb 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to gain at
Friday's open, following a positive lead from Wall Street and
higher oil prices.
    U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday, buoyed by gains in
industrial and energy shares. Meanwhile, oil prices rose to
two-week highs on Thursday, boosted by data showing a surprise
draw-down in U.S. crude inventories and also by a drop in the
    Brent crude         gained 1.5 percent, to $66.38 a barrel,
after touching its two-week high at $66.56. 
    Australian share price index futures          rose 36
points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,950, a 0.9-point discount to the
underlying S&P/ASX 200 index         close. The benchmark gained
0.1 percent on Thursday.
    In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         rose
0.4 percent in early trade, largely due to industrials and
    The main index's biggest prop was Meridian Energy Ltd
        , which gained as much as 1.4 percent. It was the
stock's biggest percentage gain in 10 days.

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin
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