SYDNEY, Feb 15 Australian shares dipped 0.2
percent in early trade as the market consolidated recent strong
gains and investors remained cautious after weak euro zone
growth data and a $3 billion annual loss from Rio Tinto.
Global iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd fell 2.6
percent to A$70.20, while rival BHP Billiton eased 1.0
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 10.8 points
to 5,026.1 by 2314 GMT. The index hit a 4-1/2 year high on
Thursday, closing up 0.7 percent at 5,036.9 points.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index fell 1.1
percent, or 47.2 points to 4,192.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Richard Pullin)