Australia shares to open steady; New Zealand flat

An investor looks at a board displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Australian shares are likely to open steady on Monday (Nov 27) as gains in materials and energy stocks on stronger commodities prices could be offset by a weakness in financials, with a draft bill aiming to put pressure on the government to probe banks.

Iron ore prices in China on Friday posted their biggest weekly increase in nearly five months as stronger steel prices spurred gains in the raw material.

US oil prices hit their highest levels in more than two years on Friday (Nov 24).

Meanwhile, a rebel member of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's coalition government is circulating a draft bill to step up pressure for an official inquiry into the country's scandal-hit banks.

The local share price index futures fell 1 point to 5,993, a 10.4-point premium to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.06 per cent on Friday.

New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.02 per cent or 1.800 points to 8,128.490 in early trade.

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