Australian shares have finished near-flat with solid gains for energy stocks and BHP failing to overcome weakness in industrial and consumer stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 1.8 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,280.2 points on Tuesday, while the All Ordinaries was down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,366.2 points.
The Australian market is holding on to near multi-year highs and has now achieved a fourth consecutive month of gains.
“It does suggest that there are valuation impacts holding back the overall market and that in a technical sense this is the top of the range for the moment,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader
BHP rose two per cent to close at $34.86 to provide the main boost for the index.
“BHP’s getting the credit from selling its shale assets. People are hanging on because they think potentially there will be capital management like a buy-back, or even higher dividends,” said Mathan Somasundaram, a Blue Ocean Equities market portfolio strategist.
The energy index climbed over 1 per cent, with Woodside Petroleum topping the gains with a 1.8 per cent lift to $36.14, despite oil prices retreating in Asian trade on oversupply concerns.
In company news, lending and debt recovery business Credit Corp jumped $1.62, or 8.5 per cent, to $20.58 after posting a 17 per cent hike in full-year profit to $64.3 million.
The Australian dollar got a boost from official figures showing a surprise 6.4 per cent lift in approvals for construction of new homes in June – well above market expectations.
The Aussie was at 74.27 US cents at 1700 AEST, up from 73.93 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 1.8 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,280.2 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,366.2 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was down eight points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,218 points at 1630 AEST.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 74.27 US cents, from 73.93 US cents on Monday
* 82.5335 Japanese yen, from 82.154
* 63.36 euro cents, from 63.43
* 56.54 British pence, from 56.39
* 108.80 NZ cents, from 108.72
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,221.989 per fine ounce, up from $US1,220.03 per fine ounce on Monday.