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Australia shares seen steady around 14-month high

MELBOURNE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expected to open roughly unchanged on Monday, buoyed by a surprise drop in the U.S. unemployment rate, with the market set to consolidate gains that took the benchmark index to a 14-month high last week.

* Local share price index futures

rose 1 point to 4,493.0, a 1.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index

close. The benchmark rose 0.9 percent on Friday to its highest close since August 2011.

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

was virtually unchanged in early trade on Monday, giving up less than 1 point to 3,903.9.

* The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8 percent in September, falling to its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office and providing a boost to his re-election bid.

* On Wall Street, the S&P 500 broke a four-day string of gains, ending slightly lower as the drop in the unemployment rate was overshadowed by concerns about the coming earnings season, which begins with Alcoa this week.

* Copper steadied as optimism the drop in the U.S. jobless rate that signalled economic improvement which could boost metals demand was offset by fears of an interruption of looser monetary policies in the U.S.

* Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens may be questioned about his outlook on the economy following last week's interest rate cut at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.

----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT @ 2136 GMT ------------

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1460.93 -0.03% -0.470 USD/JPY 78.64 0.23% 0.180 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.7428 -- 0.000 SPOT GOLD 1780.84 0.00% -0.060 US CRUDE 89.88 -2.00% -1.830 DOW JONES 13610.15 0.26% 34.79 ASIA ADRS 120.65 -0.45% -0.55 -------------------------------------------------------------

* S&P 500 dips after four days of gains; earnings eyed

* Oil dips as weak global economy offsets rise in US jobs

* Gold drops from 11-month high after US payrolls

* Copper steadies as U.S. unemployment falls

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

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by John Mair)

((Sonali.Paul@thomsonreuters.com)(+61 3 9286 1419)(Reuters Messaging: sonali.paul.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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