Australia shares set to ease at open on weak U.S. cues, Perth lockdown

    Feb 1 (Reuters) - Australian shares were poised to open
lower on Monday, tracking a sharp sell-off in U.S. equities on
Friday amid a clash between Wall Street hedge funds and retail
investors, while a fresh lockdown in the country's fourth-most
populous city was likely to weigh on domestic risk appetite.
    The country's 14-day streak of no locally acquired cases
came to an end as a security guard working in hotel quarantine
in Perth tested positive for COVID-19, prompting authorities to
order a five-day lockdown in the city.             
    The local share price index futures          fell 0.5%, a
100.4-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index        
close. The benchmark declined 0.6% on Friday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         fell 0.2%
at 2118 GMT.

 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter