Australia shares end touch lower, miners weak

Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:43am EST

(Updates prices, adds comments)
    MELBOURNE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended 0.1
percent lower on Tuesday, weighed down by a weaker mining sector
hurt by soft copper and iron ore prices.
    Investors showed little reaction to news Rio Tinto 
 plans to boost iron ore output by 15 percent this year,
with the shares ending off 0.1 percent.
    In its quarterly production report, the global miner said
production in 2012 climbed to 253 million tonnes, beating its
own guidance, as resurgent Chinese demand drives a price
recovery. 
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index lost 3.1 points to
4,716.6. The benchmark rose 0.2 percent on Monday.
    "The local market has been treading water all day and
remains relatively flat. Once again there is no dominant theme
in place," said IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu.
    Shares in Australia's Billabong International Ltd 
surged 16 percent after the struggling surfwear company received
a second takeover proposal.
    Billabong received an offer from a consortium led by San
Francisco-based private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners
and clothing group VF Corp worth A$1.10 ($1.16) per
share. That matches a A$556 million ($586.55 million) bid led by
Billabong's U.S. boss, Paul Naude, and New York-based private
equity firm Sycamore Partners.  
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index gained 0.4
percent to 4,171.
    
    

 (Reporting by Victoria Thieberger; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)