Australia shares drift, miners up, banks unwind gains

Australia Shares

Australian shares drifted on Wednesday as banks gave up some recent gains, but top miners climbed on firmer copper prices after China's top think tank raised its economic growth forecast for 2013.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.3 points at 4,887.7 by 2315 GMT. On Tuesday, it rose 1.1 percent, or 53.8 points, to its highest since April 2011.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index rose 0.4 percent to 4,218.9.

Top miner BHP Billiton rose 0.9 percent while banks declined, led by a loss of 0.8 percent in National Australia Bank.

Supermarkets-to-hardware retailer Wesfarmers slipped 0.8 percent to A$38.53 after it said same-store December quarter sales at its Coles supermarket chain rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier, a touch softer than analyst forecasts.

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