Aust stocks close flat

Local market little changed, finds support from BHP amid earnings deluge.

The Australian stock market has closed flat after buying in the resources sector as BHP Billiton supported the market on revealing a first-half profit that exceeded expectations.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched up 0.18%, at 5,392.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index increased 0.14% to 5,402.2 points.

CMC Markets analyst Betty Lam said the anticipated higher open was somewhat muzzled this morning.

"BHP’s head-turning first half results did most of the heavy lifting, as the stock price reached fresh 12 month highs," Ms Lam said.

"Given Rio Tinto’s impressive results and dividend announcement the previous week, the hopeful-market had already began to positioned themselves for BHP’s delivery yesterday."

There was also dividend-grabbing in the market today, as yield-hungry investors supported the likes of Rio Tinto, which has stepped up to the dividend table, Ms Lam said.

"The market operated in single-digit green and red for most of the session with miners stealing of the lime light away from the recently popular financials."

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