(Updates to close)
SYDNEY Aug 21 Australian shares closed 0.4
percent higher on Wednesday as a rebound in the banking sector
offset a mixed bag of earnings that kept buyers in check, with
top miner BHP Billiton Ltd sliding after its profits
Investors were also awaiting the release of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's minutes of its July meeting as they look for clues on
when Fed plans to trim its massive stimulus.
The S&P/ASX 200 index added 21.8 points to 5,100.0.
The benchmark fell 0.7 percent on Tuesday. New Zealand's
benchmark NZX 50 index climbed almost 1.0 percent to
New Zealand market leader Fletcher Building Ltd
jumped 6.2 percent to a nearly four-month high, after reporting
a 76 percent rise in annual profit on a recovery in its home
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Matt Driskill)