The Australian stock market has closed flat after recovering some of its early losses after better-than-expected economic data from China.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 2.1 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,141.7 points on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,249.7 points.
The ASX200 had been down as much as 0.33 per cent following a poor finish to the week on Wall Street and continued worries over potential US tariffs on Chinese goods.
In futures trading, the SPI200 futures index was down 13 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 6,131 points.
The overall picture improved after positive economic data from China – annual consumer inflation accelerating to a higher-than-expected 2.3 per cent in August – and the market sat flat at noon before drifting lower again by the close.
The heavyweight financial sector remained a drag on the market, with National Australia Bank the worst performing of the big banks after saying it had decided not to hike its mortgage rates despite its rivals doing so – sacrificing margins in the process.
NAB shares were down 0.65 per cent at $27.69, compared to a slight gain for CBA and declines of about 0.49 and 0.4 per cent for ANZ and Westpac respectively.
The major miners were also weighing on the market, with Rio Tinto and BHP both in the doldrums.
Iron ore shipments to China from Port Hedland rose nearly 10 per cent in August from a month earlier, but Rio was 0.77 per cent lower at $70.95, and BHP was down 0.32 per cent to $31.20.
Elsewhere, shares in Explaurum jumped 42 per cent to 10.5 cents on news gold miner Ramelius Resources had made a takeover bid for the gold and base metals explorer.
Health stocks showed gains, with Primary Health Care rising 1.78 per cent to $2.86 after announcing the acquisition of seven clinics that will form the nucleus of a new day hospital division deriving non-Medicare revenue.
The Australian dollar continued its decline and was buying 71.16 US cents, down from 71.52 US cents on Friday.
On the ASX:
* The S&P/ASX200 closed down 2.1 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,141.7 points.
* All Ordinaries index was down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,249.7 points.
* In futures trading, the SPI200 futures index was down 13 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 6,131 points 1615 AEST.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1615 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.16 US cents, from 71.52 US cents on Friday.
* 78.96 Japanese yen, from 79.11
* 61.6 euro cents, from 61.42
* 55.07 British pence, from 55.27
* 108.02 NZ cents, from 108.74
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1615 AEST was $US1,192.87 per fine ounce, from $US1,200.70 per fine ounce on Friday.