The Australian stock market flatlined ahead of US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to Congress, with investors reluctant to take positions before the latest take on the timeline on aggressive stimulus measures.
At the 1615 AEST official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index edged down 0.09% to 4981.7 points and the broader All Ordinaries index lost 0.04% to 4966.5 points.
CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said the market was unsure whether Mr Bernanke would be wearing his hawkish cap or his dovish cap when he testifies to Congress on Wednesday night, Australian time.
"There has been no shortage of mixed signals coming from the FOMC in recent times regarding the future course of the QE program, so it will be interesting to see if Bernanke echoes his ‘accommodative’ comments from last week or whether he reverts back to talk of potential tapering," Mr Waterer said.
Strong iron ore results from the major miners this week has helped shore up some confidence in materials, countering persistent China growth concerns.