(Updates to opening levels)
SYDNEY, Jan 4 Australian shares slipped 0.3
percent in early morning trade on Friday, with investors pulling
back after a sharp two-day rally on the Federal Reserve's
growing concern about its highly stimulative monetary policy.
Big miners lost ground with BHP Billiton Ltd
falling 1.3 percent and Rio Tinto Ltd declining 2.0
percent, although spot iron ore prices climbed to a 15-month
high of $149.80 a tonne .IO62-CNI=SI on Thursday thanks to
demand from China.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 14.1 points at
4,726.6 by 2316 GMT. It rose 0.7 percent to 4,740.7 on Thursday,
its highest since May 19, 2011.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index inched up 0.1
percent to 4,084.8.
(Reporting By Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Stephen Coates)