April 16, 2018 / 6:44 AM / 10 days ago

Australia shares end slightly firmer as miners support; NZ slips

* Aussie shares close up 0.2 pct, CBA caps gains

* NZ shares cut some losses, end down 0.1 pct (Updates to close)

April 16 (Reuters) - Australian shares pared earlier gains to finish 0.2 percent higher on Monday, with strength in miners countered by a fall in Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 12.2 points to 5,841.3 at the close of trade after rising as much as 0.7 percent earlier on relief that the fallout from U.S.-led strikes on Syria over the weekend appeared limited.

The benchmark rose 0.2 percent on Friday.

The United States, France and Britain launched missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma earlier in April.

Top miner BHP Billiton was the biggest boost on the index, rising 0.8 percent to its best close since March 1.

South32 Ltd rose 3.2 percent, while Alumina Ltd closed up 2.7 percent at its highest in seven years.

Shanghai aluminium prices hit a two-month high after Rio Tinto said it would declare force majeure on certain customer contracts in light of U.S. sanctions on its partner, Russian aluminium giant Rusal.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia capped the gains on the index, reversing from a 0.5 percent rise earlier to fall 0.7 percent.

Australia’s four biggest retail banks and wealth manager AMP have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to customers for poor advice over the past decade, a major inquiry into the financial sector heard on Monday.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1 percent or 8.42 points to finish the session at 8,406.35.

Healthcare stocks accounted for most of the index’s losses, with Ryman Healthcare falling 2.6 percent and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation down 0.7 percent.

Dairy firm a2 Milk Company helped cut some losses on the index, firming 2.2 percent after announcing plans to expand into South Korea.

The country’s biggest telecommunications and internet provider Spark New Zealand closed up 1.5 percent after securing rights to stream the Rugby World Cup 2019. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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