Aust stocks close flat

Local market little changed as some investors switch from banks to staples.

The Australian stock market closed flat today as the major banks ended their recent run of gains with investors taking profits and switching into staples.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 0.1% to 5,425.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index inched down 0.09%, at 5,420.3 points.

National Australia Bank Ltd reported a solid lift in full-year cash profit, but after share price gains in the lead-up to the announcement, today saw a case of buy the rumour, sell the fact.

IG analyst Stan Shamu said the result was solid, but probably didn't justify the near 50 per cent gain NAB has posted this year.

"The final cash earnings of $5.936 billion was the thinnest of beats, with the street expecting $5.93 billion (medium estimate)," Mr Shamu said.

"This resulted in some profit taking with support kicking in around $35."

CMC Markets trader Betty Lam said a side-by-side comparison with ANZ began as NAB's numbers were almost on par with forecasts, while financials more broadly fell out of favour.

"In afternoon trading signs of switching out of the banks and into staples are appearing," Ms Lam said.

"Retail giant Woolworths received upward support amongst buyers who were thrilled with their Q1 sales results this morning.

"Wesfarmers also enjoyed a buyer’s buoy."

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