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Australia shares seen higher; Fortescue, cbank in focus

SYDNEY, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open higher on Tuesday, with resources stocks likely to underpin gains after data showed a surprising expansion in U.S. manufacturing in September.

* Local share price index futures

were at 4,413 points, a 24.4 point premium to the close of underlying S&P/ASX 200 index

. The benchmark ended flat on Monday.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia reviews policy settings on Tuesday and is expected to keep interest rates steady for a fourth month, a Reuters poll on Friday found, although some see a real chance of a quarter-point cut.

* A court is expected to deliver its verdict on whether Fortescue Metals Group

and its chairman Andrew Forrest mislead investors over agreements signed with Chinese firms in 2004 and 2005.

An adverse ruling could force Forrest to resign from the company he founded nine years ago. The iron-ore producer recently finalised US$4.5 billion in financing, a deal necessitated by a substantial fall in the cost of iron ore

* Copper prices rose on Monday, reversing earlier losses, on the unexpected expansion in U.S. manufacturing, though shrinking factory activity in China and renewed worries over public debt problems in Spain capped gains.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

rose 0.4 percent in early trade.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2243 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1444.49 0.27% 3.820 USD/JPY 78.02 0.06% 0.050 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.6181 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1776.69 0.16% 2.900 US CRUDE 92.46 -0.02% -0.020 DOW JONES 13515.11 0.58% 77.98 ASIA ADRS 120.39 0.04% 0.05 -------------------------------------------------------------

* Wall St kicks off October with modest gains

* Oil ends down on weak growth signals in Europe, Asia

* Gold near 1-year high after funds buy

* Copper rises on dollar, growth worries cap gains

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

(Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by John Mair)

((narayanan.somasundaram@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 2 93731815)(Reuters Messaging: narayanan.somasundaram.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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