Aust stocks put on 2.7% in week

Local market loses puff to close flat in volatile trade, after latest sign of China slowdown.

The Australian stock market toyed with the 5000 level in volatile trade before closing flat to put the week's gains at 2.7%, with investors losing enthusiasm on the latest indication of a drop off in China's growth rate. 

Early buying momentum that saw the index track above the key 5000 threshold to an intra-day high of 5012.5 faded in late trade, after China's finance minister Lou Jiwei cautioned the economy was likely to grow at slower pace than expected.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.17% higher to 4,973.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 0.21% to 4957.5 points.

IG market analyst Chris Weston said materials were largely unmoved by China's Lou Jiwei signalling the economy likely to grow at slower pace than expected.

"Chinese growth has once again hit the limelight, although traders seem to be taking it rather well...with Lou Jiwei detailing that a 6.5% growth rate would not be a major issue and that the Tiger economy should achieve 7%," Mr Weston said.

The US Federal Reserve had this week moved to provide a "more supportive landscape" for investors.

"With the Fed...doing a fantastic job in separating the market’s view of an early tapering and a rise in the Fed funds rate, a more supportive backdrop has been provided for emerging markets and commodities, at least from a speculative stand point," he said. 

CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said materials were the main driver behind the market's brief re-acquaintance with the 5000 level.

"With the lower US Dollar (on the back of Bernanke’s comments) translating into higher commodity prices, once again it was the materials stocks that made the best of the conditions on the ASX," he said.

"A move lower on the Shanghai market appeared to dampen some enthusiasm elsewhere across Asia, particularly with a key reading on Chinese GDP due early next week. "

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