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Resources stocks have weighed on the local sharemarket due to investor concerns about the Chinese economy and weaker commodities prices.

The resources sector fell by around 1.1 per cent on Wednesday, but gains in the banking and health sectors offset those falls, resulting in a small gain in the main market indices.

Iron ore miners suffered some of the biggest falls following a dip in the iron ore price.

"Overall, the mining sector is the main reason why the market hasn't done better today," CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.

"Rio, BHP and Fortescue were the big losers, but they have had some incredible gains since the start of this month."

BHP Billiton dropped 52 cents to $38.58, Rio Tinto lost $1.65 at $67.97 and Fortescue Metals shed 16 cents to $5.68.

Among the mid-tier iron ore miners, Atlas Iron dropped 5.5 cents to $1.00, Mount Gibson Iron Ore lost 1.5 cents to 91.5 cents and BC Iron was 30 cents weaker at $4.94.

Among the banks, NAB lifted 36 cents to $34.87, Westpac gained 14 cents to $33.56, ANZ added six cents to $32.08 and Commonwealth Bank was 22 cents higher at $75.49.

CSL added 78 cents to $71.95, Ramsay Health Care gained $1.43 to $48.97 and Sonic Healthcare rose by 25 cents to $17.83.

Travel retailer Flight Centre was one of the better performers, up $1.59 to $51.39 after it said strong leisure and corporate travel sales had helped lift the company's profit by 20 per cent.

Uranium miner Paladin also gained 9.5 cents, or 21 per cent, to 54 cents as Japan made moves towards restarting its nuclear energy program.


  • At the close on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 3.2 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 5,437.

  • The broader All Ordinaries index was up 3.0 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 5,447.

  • The March share price index futures contract was 20 points higher at 5,430, with 26,188 contracts traded.

  • National turnover was 2.19 billion securities worth $5.6 billion.