June 12, 2014 / 11:31 PM / in 4 years

Australia shares seen lower on U.S., Iraq concerns

SYDNEY, June 13 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open lower on Friday after Wall Street lost ground overnight on concerns about attacks by Sunni Islamist militants in Iraq and disappointing economic data.

* Local share price index futures fell 0.6 percent to stand at 5401.0, a 27.8-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.5 percent on Thursday to a one-week low.

* New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index lost 0.3 percent in early trade.

* U.S. stocks fell as concerns escalated about Iraq and after disappointing economic data on retail sales and jobless claims. The S&P 500 slid 0.7 percent.

* Obama told reporters that he refused to rule out U.S. action in Iraq against Sunni Islamist militants who have surged out of the north toward Baghdad, threatening to divide the country and establish their own jihadist state.

* Nickel sank to its lowest price in about two months on persistent profit-taking after months of rallying on an Indonesian ban on ore exports. Gold prices climbed on a rally in oil and concerns over Iraq.

* Whitehaven Coal Ltd said it would halt forest clearing at its Maules Creek mine after anti-coal activists sought court action to stop the work, but the coal mine’s March 2015 deadline would not be impacted.

* Suncorp Group Ltd has appointed Matt Pancino as CEO Of Suncorp Business Services.

* Calibre Group Ltd said it has been awarded new and extended work on the Hay Point Coal Terminal.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2307 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1930.11 -0.71% -13.780 USD/JPY 101.67 -0.03% -0.030 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.5969 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1272.56 -0.02% -0.300 US CRUDE 106.96 0.40% 0.430 DOW JONES 16734.19 -0.65% -109.69 ASIA ADRS 147.38 0.03% 0.04 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St Slides on concerns about Iraq * Oil prices at nine-month highs amid Iraq violence * Platinum, palladium sink as S.African strike nears end * Nickel drops to near two-month low, copper falls

For a digest of the day’s business stories in Australian newspapers, double click on (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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