Australian shares have finished flat as cautious investors worry about a slowdown in China following the release of lower-than-expected inflation figures.
China's inflation rate was 2.6 per cent in 2013, official data showed on Thursday - well below the 3.5 per cent target set by the government in the world's second-biggest economy.
"Analysts were expecting 2.7 per cent and I guess it's just another sign that China could be slowing with tighter monetary conditions," Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said.
Local mining stocks were under pressure on Thursday as investors worry about how the Chinese economy is tracking.
The rise in energy stocks was being led by oil and gas producer Santos, which was 21 cents higher at $14.50, while Woodside Petroleum had lifted 12 cents to $38.00 and Oil Search was up three cents at $8.15.
In companies news, Qantas shares were up, indicating investors were unconcerned about the negative news that ratings agency Moody's had downgraded its credit rating to junk status.
Qantas was two cents, or 1.8 per cent, higher at $1.12.
Insurer QBE rose 2.5 per cent to $12.07.
The banks were mixed, with Westpac down 10 cents at $31.94, ANZ 12 cents weaker at $31.59, while National Australia Bank was up five cents to $34.45 and Commonwealth Bank gained 10 cents to $77.98.
Among the miners BHP Billiton fell seven cents to $36.97, Rio Tinto lost five cents to $65.30 and iron ore producer Fortescue Metals dropped three cents to $5.36.
- At 1615 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 8.4 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 5,324.4.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was up 8.8 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,327.5.
- The March share price index futures contract was up two points at 5,293, with 15,544 contracts traded.
- National turnover was 1.99 billion securities worth $2.96 billion.