Aust stocks close flat

Local market recovers morning losses despite weak Chinese manufacturing data.

The Australian sharemarket recovered morning losses to close flat today, buoyed by gains in Asian markets.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 8.8 points, or 0.16%, higher at 5,346.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 8.1 points, or 0.15%, at 5,362.1.

HSBC flash manufacturing PMI released today printed at an eight-month low of 48.1, down from 48.5 in February.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said gains in Tokyo and Shanghai helped lift the mood, with modest gains in financials and materials despite the weaker manufacturing numbers.

"This was enough to offset losses in industrial and consumer related stocks, resulting in a surprising gain for the overall market as investors sought the safety of the largest listed stocks."