(Updates to close)
SYDNEY Aug 20 Australian shares reversed early losses on
Wednesday to edge higher as investors dumped shares of BHP Billiton after the
global miner missed earnings expectations, though an upbeat finish on Wall
Street helped boost the market.
BHP Billiton Ltd lost 3.9 percent, its biggest one-day percentage
drop since March 10, as investors remained wary of the company's plans to spin
off businesses worth an estimated $16 billion.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 10.8 points to 5,634.6 at the close of
trade. The benchmark added 0.7 percent on Tuesday, its fourth consecutive
session of gains.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index added 0.5 percent or 26.1
points to 5,140.3.
(Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Eric Meijer)