Aust stocks close flat

Local market little changed as Chinese manufacturing expands more slowly.

The Australian stock market has narrowed early losses to close little changed after the release of a private survey showing China's manufacturing sector expanded at the slowest rate in three months in December.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the official benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched down 0.17% to 5,089.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged down 0.16% to 5,093.1 points.

IG analyst Chris Weston said the HSBC flash China manufacturing purchasing managers' index print of 50.5 for December, down from 50.8 the previous month, took some wind out of the market's sails.

"The ASX 200 saw solid buying from the low of 5,060, down 0.7 per cent in early trade, giving tentative signs that this market looks like it wants to go higher," Mr Weston said.

"We may get a more positive tape into Christmas.

"As the day rolled on and United States futures dropped after lunch, the index has been better offered, though presumably on reports the Republicans are gearing up for a new fight over the US debt limit in the new year."

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