The sharemarket has closed flat after a slower increase in property prices in China generated anxiety about the strength of the Chinese economy.
The market had been doing reasonably well in early trade despite major companies such as Telstra, Wesfarmers and Woodside Petroleum trading ex-dividend, IG market strategist Evan Lucas said.
But that momentum was lost in afternoon trading, after data was released showing a slump in China's housing price index, he said.
The data drove down the Chinese share market and caused a reversal in direction among local iron ore suppliers such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals.
"The Australian market as a whole has been dragged down by the China story, because there is also talk about possible more lending tightening and lending issues over in China," Mr Lucas said.
"That, unfortunately, put a real dampener on the day."
BHP added 21 cents to $39.38, Rio Tinto dropped 68 cents to $69.55 and Fortescue Metals shed three cents to $5.99.
The banks were also mixed, with NAB losing 11 cents to $34.43, while CBA edged 18 cents higher to $75.36, ANZ added 18 to $32.00 and Westpac gained 26 cents to $33.57.
BlueScope Steel gained 43 cents to $6.30 after it returned to profitability thanks to improved performances from its North American, Asian and Australian businesses.
Oil refiner Caltex Australia gained 45 cents to $20.94 despite suffering a 28 per cent slide in its full year profit, partly due to the impact of the fall in the Australian dollar.
Mining services firm Boart Longyear dropped 6.5 cents, or 15.3 per cent, to 36 cents after it fell to a full year loss of $US620 million.
- At the close on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.5 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,440.2 points.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.7 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 5,450.1 points.
- The March share price index futures contract was seven points higher at 5,422 points, with 22,821 contracts traded.
- National turnover was 1.7 billion securities worth $4.9 billion.