February 12, 2013 / 6:16 AM / in 5 years

Australia shares end flat as rally pauses ahead of earnings

(Adds details, comments)
    SYDNEY, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Australian shares finished flat on
Tuesday, pausing near the 5,000 mark as investors awaited a slew
of corporate earnings due this week that will likely determine
whether the market continues its bull-run or suffers a
    The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Australia's top
lender, rose to an all-time closing high of A$65.52 ahead of
half-year results due on Wednesday, with investors keen to see
if the bank will increase its dividend.
    The S&P/ASX 200 index finished the day 0.5 points
lower at 4,959.
    "The market seems to be bouncing off high resistance points
at these levels," said Ben Taylor, sales trader at CMC Markets.
    "To break through from here we need to see sights of clear
earnings momentum."
    The index has climbed 6 percent since the start of the year
and 14 percent since mid-November, helped by receding fears
about the potential for European and U.S. debt woes to erupt
into crisis.
    Rio Tinto Ltd , Wesfarmers Ltd,
Mirvac Group, Boral Ltd and CSL Ltd 
are also due to report their results this week.
    "Should these reporting names fail to impress, this could be
the trigger for a near-term correction," said Stan Shamu, market
strategist at IG Markets.
    Global iron ore miners were slightly down, with BHP Billiton
Ltd slipping 0.3 percent while Rio Tinto lost 0.6
    Gold miners were softer, after the bullion fell to a
one-month low on Monday, hit by technical selling and as
investment appetite for the physical metal dropped. Newcrest
Mining dropped 2 percent while Regis Resources 
tumbled 3 percent.
    New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index also finished
flat, slipping 2.4 points, to 4,218.1.

 (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)
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