Aust stocks close slightly lower

Local market lifts slightly, boosted by stronger than expected building approvals.

The Australian stockmarket has closed slightly higher today, holding just above the 5,400 level after a boost from official data showing building approvals beat forecasts in January.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.3% to 5,400.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 0.26% to 5,411.7 points.

CMC Markets sales trader Betty Lam said traders dusted themselves off today after the market fell due to the tensions between Ukraine and Russia yesterday, while bargain-hunters took the opportunity to buy. 

The stronger than expected building approvals data, showing a lift of 6.8% in January, also boosted the market, she said.

"In afternoon trading, activity remained limp and volumes were considerably lower," Ms Lam said.

"The major miners spent a majority of the day in recovery mode, retracing most of yesterday’s footsteps."

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