Australia shares up 0.4 percent to 4-1/2 yr high, awaiting BHP

Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:31am EST

(Updates to close)
    SYDNEY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australian shares ended 0.4
percent up at a fresh 4-1/2 year high on Tuesday, continuing the
recent rally on better-than-expected corporate earnings. 
    BHP Billiton Ltd rose 0.9 percent ahead of its
first half results, which are due on Wednesday morning. Rio
Tinto Ltd eased 0.5 percent.
    The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 18.5 points
to 5,081.9, according to the latest data, which is the highest
since September 3, 2008. The index rose 0.6 percent on Monday.  
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.7
percent to 4,244.2.

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Borsuk)