Aust stocks close flat

Local market closes flat amid low volumes across Asia, with RBA minutes revealing a lack of urgency for another rate cut.

Investors sat on the fence to send the Australian stock market to a flat finish for the second straight session, amid subdued trade across Asian markets, with minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia taking traders by surprise in their lack of urgency on another rate cut.

The market stopped just short of reaching the 5000 level as investors confined trade to a narrow range and failed to find direction.

At 1615 AEST official market close the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.1% to 4986 points and the broader All Ordinaries index put on 0.06% to 4968.6 points.

IG market analyst Chris Weston said the local market has traded in a range of 4999 to 4973 and seemed to take intra-day support from China.

CMC Markets sales trader Betty Lam said Australian stocks followed China's benchmark and also took guidance from the RBA’s comment that ‘economic activity continued to grow at a below trend pace’.

In its latest board meeting the RBA flagged concerns over the impact of US monetary policy and tightening liquidity in China on the Australian economy.

Looking ahead, traders will shift focus back to Wall Street where US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke will stand before Congress later this week.

"Bernanke’s tone and sentiment will be closely watched by investors; his comments will cement which direction the markets will end the week." Ms Lam said.

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