January 3, 2018 / 9:16 PM / a year ago

Australia shares likely to open higher; NZ slightly up

    Jan 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open
higher on Thursday, inspired by continued strength on Wall
Street where major indexes climbed to record levels, while
upbeat oil prices are also likely to support energy stocks.
    The S&P 500 index rose above 2,700 for the first time on
Wednesday and other major indexes hit record highs, lifted by
technology stocks. Meanwhile, oil prices rose about 2 percent to
its highest in 2-1/2 years.           
    The local share price index futures          rose 0.5
percent or 32 points to 6,063, a 7.4-point discount to the
underlying S&P/ASX 200 index         close. The benchmark rose
0.2 percent on Wednesday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         rose 0.1
percent in early trade.

 (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
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