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Australia shares set to gain but rocket attack in Baghdad may weigh; NZ flat

Jan 9 (Reuters) – Australian shares are set to open higher on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump’s tempered response to Iranian missile attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq helped calm markets, although reports of fresh missile attacks are likely to cap gains. U.S. stocks closed higher after Trump said there were no casualties from the attacks, adding that the United States having military power and equipment did not mean it would have to be used against Iran. However, reports of a rocket attack inside Iraqi capital Baghdad’s heavily fortified green zone may weigh on stocks in Australia. The share price index futures fell about 22 points on the news. By 2113 GMT, the index futures traded just 46 points or 0.7% higher, a 19.6-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index close. The benchmark fell 0.1% on Wednesday. Neighboring New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.64 points or 0.01% in early trade. (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool)

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