Australia shares end touch lower, miners weak
(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)
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