Aust stocks close little changed

Local market narrows morning losses as risk-off sentiment prevails

The Australian sharemarket narrowed morning losses to close flat today, as risk-off sentiment prevailed after the prospect of Chinese stimulus faded and Wall Street fell on downbeat manufacturing data.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 10.3 points, or 0.19%, to 5,336.6, while the broader All Ordinaries Index lost 11.1 points, or 0.21%, to 5,351 points.

CMC markets sales trader William Leys said gold stocks and industrials led the slide.

"The risk-off sentiment follows the decline in United States markets overnight," Mr Leys said.

"Manufacturing data came in slightly below expectations, which prompted traders to unwind long positions."

Concerns about slowing Chinese growth also took centre stage today, he said.

"Yesterday’s disappointing Chinese manufacturing data initially prompted markets to rally, amid speculation Chinese authorities would intervene with some form of stimulus.

"However, after the dust settled, it seems conventional logic has prevailed and now bad news is being met with selling."