January 11, 2013 / 12:55 AM / 5 years ago

Australia shares take breather, miners lag

SYDNEY, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Australian shares eased 0.1
percent in late morning trade on Friday, backing off from a
global rally on better-than-expected Chinese trade data, as
major miners weighed on the market after shutting down some
operations due to an approaching cyclone.
    A cyclone intensifying off Australia's northwest coast has
forced Rio Tinto Ltd to shut down key iron ore export
terminals and BHP Billiton Ltd to suspend offshore
    BHP fell 1.4 percent and Rio Tinto declined 1.3 percent,
with analysts noting the stocks had rallied strongly into the
new year on the recent gains in iron ore prices.
    "BHP and Rio have been doing very well on the boost in iron
ore prices, but you can't keep accelerating everyday like that,"
said Lonsec economist Michael Heffernan.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index shed 4.6 points to 4,718.4 by
0040 GMT. It rose 0.3 percent on Thursday to 4,723.0.
    The banking sector was moderately firmer, led by a 0.5 rise
in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, after the
European Central Bank held interest rates steady and said the
euro zone economy would recover later this year. [ID:
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1
percent to 4,123.6. 
    * Australia's flagship telecommunications company Telstra
Ltd rose 0.3 percent to A$4.50, its highest since
August 2008.
    (0034 GMT)
    * Online job-seeking service Seek Ltd jumped 2.5
percent to A$7.42, after it said it would increase its ownership
in Chinese job-seeking website Zhaopin, potentially to 79
    (0035 GMT)
    * Base Resources galloped 38 percent higher to
A$0.35 after saying its Kwale mineral sands project in Kenya
would be excluded from the African nation's 35 percent local
equity participation requirement.  
    (0036 GMT)

 (Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Richard Pullin)
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