It was a roller-coaster ride for shares this week as a long list of companies reported their full-year profit results.
Fears about US Federal Reserve tapering continued this week, with bond yields increasing and global sharemarkets remaining volatile.
There was renewed speculation that the Bank of Japan might have to unleash another round of stimulus in coming months.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned the normalisation of global monetary policy could lead to a sharp outflow of capital from the Asia-Pacific region, triggering higher financing costs and exchange rate volatility.
But there was some good economic news from overseas, with positive manufacturing data from China and Europe helping to improve sentiment at home.
For the week, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 9.5 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5123.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 15.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5115.2 points.
Analysts pointed out that only 49 per cent of the 126 companies that have reported their profits so far have surprised on the earnings line.
So the market had been drifting lower for the week, with little help from lacklustre profits, but it managed to close slightly in the black after Asia bounced back strongly on Friday, lifting Australia with it.
Local shares outperformed Wall Street on Friday as the first positive Chinese manufacturing data in four months boosted the big banks and miners.
China's upbeat purchasing managers' index reading for August helped the local market gain nearly 1 per cent, against a smaller 0.44 per cent gain for the American Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight.
"You go back three or four months and there were some concerns that China wasn't going to grow," RBS Morgans senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said. "Irrespective of commentary from some of the political areas ... saying the mining boom is dead, it's not."
For the week, BHP Billiton fell $1.23, or 3.3 per cent, to $35.64, after the mining company suffered a heavy fall in annual profit. It also committed $US2.6 billion to its Canadian potash project in a surprise move.
Crown jumped 74¢, or 5.4 per cent, to $14.34.
Suncorp rose 50¢, or 4 per cent, to $12.84.