(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, May 14 Australian shares ended flat on
Wednesday, shrugging off concerns around the government's tough
budget, with losses in ex-dividend big banks and healthcare
firms offset by buying in global miner BHP Billiton and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Commonwealth Bank climbed 1.2 percent, hitting a
record high of A$80.99 earlier, after reporting a 16 percent
rise in March quarter cash earnings, bolstered by revenue growth
and cost cuts.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was off just 1.7 points to
finish at 5,496.5, recouping nearly all of its earlier losses.
The benchmark rose 0.9 percent on Tuesday.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.3
percent to 5,213.4.
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)