Australia shares set for soft open ahead of China data, NZ edges up

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 Oct 18 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open
slightly lower on Friday, as investors will likely exercise
caution ahead of growth data from the country's biggest trade
partner, China. Mining heavyweights such as BHP Group and Rio Tinto are likely to be pressured due to tumbling iron ore
prices. The local share price index futures fell 0.2% or 13
points, a 33.7-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200
index close. The benchmark skidded 0.8% on Thursday to
snap a five-session rally. New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index inched up
by 0.1%, or 10.13 points, to 11,151.99. (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler) 

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