Australia shares end 0.4 pct lower, miners consolidate

Fri Jan 4, 2013 12:22am EST

(Updates to close)
    SYDNEY, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Australian shares eased 0.4
percent on Friday, with miners consolidating recent gains and
investors taking a breather after some senior U.S. Federal
Reserve officials expressed concerns about continuing to expand
stimulative monetary policy.
    Top miners lost ground after hitting their highest since
last February on Thursday. BHP Billiton Ltd dropped 0.6
percent, while Rio Tinto Ltd lost 1.0 percent.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 16.9 points at
4,723.8, according to the latest data. It rose 0.7 percent to
4,740.7 on Thursday, its highest since May 19, 2011.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched down 0.2
percent to 4,075.0. 

 (Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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