Aust stocks close little changed

Local market finishes flat after selling in resources, buying in financials.

The Australian sharemarket closed flat today amid selling in resources stocks after a fall in the iron ore price and buying in financials.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 2.3 points, or 0.04%, higher at 5,413.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged down 1.5 points, or 0.03%, to 5,429.3.

CMC Markets analyst Betty Lam noted yesterday's 8 per cent fall in the iron ore price, hitting an 18-month low.

"Iron ore producers were again tested and subjected to heavy selling pressure in early trading, with Fortescue Metals Group on its knees," Ms Lam said.

"Financials and comfort-inducing defensives received upward support and buoyed the local bourse up as the market found an excuse to buy into recent lower levels."

Meanwhile, National Australia Bank's February business survey showed a sharp drop in business conditions due to weakness in the manufacturing sector.

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