Aust stocks close slightly lower

Local market slips after yesterday's window dressing as investors focus on year ahead.

The Australian sharemarket has closed lower on the first day of the new financial year in choppy trade as investors get their strategy for the year ahead in order.

At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the S&P/ASX200 index fell 19.8 points, or 0.37%, to 5,375.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 15.5 points, or 0.29%, to 5,366.5 points.

Maxim Asset Management investment director Winston Sammut said many investors have taken the opportunity today to focus on the longer term, following some window dressing yesterday as the financial year ended.

"It's the start of the new year and there's not a lot of reasons why people would want to take a position today," Mr Sammut said.

"I think what most investors would be doing is looking at strategies going forward."

The Reserve Bank of Australia's decision this afternoon to leave the official cash rate on hold at a record low 2.5% was not a surprise, he said. 

Meanwhile, Chinese official and private data  showed the country's manufacturing sector expanding in June, putting in the best performance in six months. 

"For the time being it's interesting but it's not enough to drive the market from the position that it's in at the moment," Mr Sammut said.

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