(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, March 6 Australian shares finished flat
on Thursday as upbeat retail sales and trade balance data helped
the index recover from heavy losses in the morning, although
investors remained cautious over developments in Ukraine.
The S&P/ASX 200 index ended just 0.3 point lower at
5,445.9, after hitting a session low of 5,422.7. The benchmark
had gained 0.9 percent on Wednesday to close at its highest
point since June 2008.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.8
percent to extend its rise to a new all-time high of 5,114.8,
underpinned by an improving economy.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Chris Gallagher)