(Updates to close)
SYDNEY, Feb 15 Australian shares finished flat
on Friday, as investors were cautious after bleak euro zone data
and a $3 billion annual loss from global miner Rio Tinto.
The absence of positive catalysts kept most buyers at bay as
markets awaited the outcome of the weekend meeting of G20
finance ministers in Moscow.
Global iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd tumbled 2.7
percent while rival BHP Billiton Ltd dropped 0.8
The S&P/ASX 200 index was 3 points lower at 5,033.9,
according to the latest data. The index hit a 4-1/2 year high on
Thursday, closing up 0.7 percent at 5,036.9 points. The
benchmark jumped 1.3 percent for the week, continuing the
market's bull-run for the fifth consecutive week.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index closed the
session down 1 percent or 42.5 points at 4,196.7.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)