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Australia shares set to open lower on dented rate cut hopes, NZ hits fresh high

Dec 20 (Reuters) – Australian shares are set to fall on Friday, a day after robust jobs data dampened expectations of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia at its next policy meeting in February. Data on Thursday showed Australian employment rebounded sharply in November, while the jobless rate fell in a sign the labour market might still have enough life in it to lessen the need for more interest rate cuts. The local share price index futures fell 32 points or 0.5%, a 1.4% discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.3% on Thursday. Elsewhere, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.1% to 11,496.75, a new peak, by 2105 GMT. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru Editing by Chris Reese)

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