Aust stocks close slightly higher

Local market ekes out a gain over the month despite a fall in the iron ore price putting miners under pressure.

The Australian sharemarket has closed the month slightly higher but posted a fall today as continued weakness in the iron ore price placed miners under pressure.

At the 4.15pm official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 27 points, or 0.49%, to 5,492.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 25.4 points, or 0.46%, to 5,473.8 points.

On April 30, the benchmark closed at 5,489.1 points.

CommSec analyst Juliette Saly said the market has held onto its gains this month despite the old saying, "Sell in May and go away."

"The main area of weakness over the course of the month has been a pullback in the mining sector," Ms Saly said.

"Investors are really worried about the iron ore price holding at levels not seen since September 2012 and continuing to fall.

"The likes of Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have all come under significant selling pressure this month. There's a bit of concern about what they'll say in the reporting season in August [about the iron ore price]."

Overnight, the iron ore price fell further to $US95.70 a tonne, down from $US96.80 in the previous session.

Fortescue is happy with an iron ore price of around $US110 a tonne, chairman Andrew Forrest told the Australia in China's Century conference in Melbourne this afternoon.

The commodity could fall as low as $US80 in the next 12 months, he said.

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