Australia shares up 0.4 pct on Wall St record; BHP, Rio drop
SYDNEY May 15 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose 0.4 percent early on Wednesday, buoyed by Wall Street's rally to record highs and gains for companies with exposure to the U.S. market after the Australian dollar slid to an 11-month low against the greenback.
BHP Billiton Ltd and Rio Tinto Ltd dropped 1.0 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, after the two largest miners said on Tuesday that they would slash billions of dollars of spending.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 22.5 points to 5,243.5 by 0012 GMT. The benchmark edged 0.2 percent higher to notch a five-year closing high on Tuesday.
Stocks which benefited most from the softer Australian dollar included QBE Insurance Group Ltd, which added 2.0 percent, and pharmaceutical products maker CSL Ltd, which gained 2.2 percent.
The market ignored the struggling Labor government's budget on Tuesday night, which delayed a long-promised return to surplus due a dramatic fall in revenues attributed to the stubbornly high Australian dollar and lower commodity prices.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index slipped 0.2 percent to 4,637.5.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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