Australia shares may pause as mkt looks for new drivers
* Local share price index futures slipped 0.1 percent to 4,987, a 49.9 point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index. The benchmark hit a 4-1/2 year high on Thursday, and closed up 0.7 percent at 4,036.88.
* New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 35.92 points to 4,203.28 in early trade.
* The S&P 500 eked out a small gain for a third straight session on Thursday, helped by a flurry of merger activity, though investors see no catalysts to lift the market further with major averages near multi-year highs.
* Optimism that China's demand for copper will pick up after the Lunar New Year holidays boosted copper prices.
* Australia and New Zealand Banking Corp, the country's fourth-largest bank, posted a 6.2 percent rise in first quarter cash earnings.
* Reserve Bank of Australia's Christopher Kent will speak to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Perth.
* Wall St ends up slightly for third day.
* Oil rises with US gasoline supply concerns.
* Gold drops to 6-week low on euro recession fears.
* Copper rises on optimism over Chinese demand.
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