Wires

Australia shares seen steady around 14-month high

MELBOURNE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Australian shares are expectedto open roughly unchanged on Monday, buoyed by a surprise dropin the U.S. unemployment rate, with the market set toconsolidate gains that took the benchmark index to a 14-monthhigh last week.

* Local share price index futures

rose 1 point to4,493.0, a 1.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200index

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

* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index

was virtuallyunchanged in early trade on Monday, giving up less than 1 pointto 3,903.9.

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

* On Wall Street, the S&P 500 broke a four-day string ofgains, ending slightly lower as the drop in the unemploymentrate was overshadowed by concerns about the coming earningsseason, which begins with Alcoa this week.

* Copper steadied as optimism the drop in the U.S. joblessrate that signalled economic improvement which could boostmetals demand was offset by fears of an interruption of loosermonetary policies in the U.S.

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

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

INSTRUMENT LAST PCT CHG NET CHGS&P 5001460.93 -0.03% -0.470USD/JPY78.64 0.23% 0.18010-YR US TSY YLD1.7428 -- 0.000SPOT GOLD1780.84 0.00% -0.060US CRUDE89.88 -2.00% -1.830DOW JONES13610.15 0.26% 34.79ASIA ADRS120.65 -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 Australiannewspapers, double click on

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by John Mair)

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

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