August 7, 2014 / 11:21 PM / 3 years ago

Australia shares seen falling as Russia's import ban raise growth concerns

SYDNEY, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares are seen retreating further from 3-week lows on Friday, after Wall Street extended its losses on concerns the tensions between Russia and the West and tit-for-tat sactions may hit global growth.

* Local share price index futures fell 0.4 percent, an 83.0-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark dipped 0.1 percent on Thursday.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks ended lower on Thursday, continuing a recent streak of weakness as Russia’s surprisingly harsh retaliatory measures in response to Western sanctions raised concerns about global growth.

* Moscow banned imports of most food from the West on Thursday in retaliation against sanctions over Ukraine, a stronger than expected measure that isolates Russian consumers from world trade to a degree unseen since Soviet days.

* Nickel prices rose to a 1-1/2 week high, lifted by the closure of a mine in Papua New Guina and the prospect that wider Western sanctions against Russia could affect the major producer of the metal.

* Gold prices rose as safe-haven buying amid rising tensions in Iraq and Ukraine extended the previous session’s rally, and analysts said the metal could gain further after having breached key technical resistance.

* Two of Asia’s richest men won shareholder approval to buy Australian property and infrastructure firms for a combined A$4.5 billion on Thursday, extending the rush of offshore investors to tap the country’s high-yield, low-risk assets.

* Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto raised hopes it could sharply boost cash returns to investors after topping market forecasts with a 21 percent rise in first-half profit.

* News Corp will announce its fourth quarter earnings later in the day, while Australia-mortgage lending data is also due later on Friday.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2306 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1909.57 -0.56% -10.670 USD/JPY 102.05 -0.04% -0.040 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.4095 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1311.2 -0.15% -2.000 US CRUDE 97.43 0.09% 0.090 DOW JONES 16368.27 -0.46% -75.07 ASIA ADRS 150.05 -0.32% -0.48 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St ends down on heightened Russia concerns * Oil prices rise on reports U.S. mulling airstrikes on Iraqi militants * Gold turns higher on technical buying as tensions rise * Nickel rises on Russia sanctions concerns, copper gains

For a digest of the day’s business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on

Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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