Aust stocks close little changed

The Australian sharemarket closed little changed today.

The Australian sharemarket closed little changed today amid mixed local data as investors lacked fresh catalysts to push the index higher ahead of jobs numbers from the United States.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index edged up 6.6 points, or 0.12%, to 5,409.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index inched up 6.9 points, or 0.13%, to 5,415.7 points.

Official data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning showed retail spending lifted slightly less than economists expected, while Australia's trade balance performed better than analysts had expected.

A private survey from the Australian Industry Group showed the services sector slipped into contractionary territory in March.

In China, official non-manufacturing PMI continued to expand in March, but at a slower rate than in February, while the rival HSBC read lifted to a four-month high.

CMC Markets sales trader Betty Lam said local equities spent the day oscillating in a tight range.

"Non-farm payrolls due out of the US tomorrow evening may provide the catalyst the Australian market needs to see return in trading," Ms Lam said.

Materials were mixed, with the major miners going each way.

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