Aust stocks close flat

Local market little changed as investors wait for news from earnings season.

The Australian stock market has closed flat as news of benign inflation and falling building approvals failed to encourage moves from investors waiting for local earnings season.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slipped 0.04% to 5,187.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 0.06% to 5,201.9 points.

Australian Industry Group figures showed a fall in manufacturing in January, while a TD-MI report found inflation was largely benign in the same month and Australian Bureau of Statistics data unveiled today showed a fall in December building approvals.

IG chief market strategist Chris Weston noted that local company earnings reports start trickling in this week.

"The major things I will be looking at are price action going into the earnings release, the level of short interest in the name and whether the stock has a good pedigree of beating consensus expectations," Mr Weston said.

"The earnings season will also be interesting for forex and commodity traders as well, especially given the murkiness surrounding Chinese growth."

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