The Australian sharemarket has fallen slightly after China released disappointing manufacturing figures, local retail spending fell and mining giant BHP Billiton went ex-dividend.

At 10.00am the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 4.8 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 4311.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 5.4 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 4333.6 points.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was five points lower at 4313 points, with 15,832 contracts traded.

IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock said that while the US market closed 0.69 per cent higher on Friday after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke hinted there could be new stimulus measures, disappointing local and overseas economic data had since dragged the Australian market lower.

China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to a nine-month low of 49.2 index points in August, from 50.1 the previous month.

Locally, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, released on Monday, showed that retail spending fell 0.8 per cent in July. Economists had forecast a rise of 0.2 per cent.

"The market has been pulled in all sorts of directions," Mr Peacock said.

In the mining sector: BHP Billiton, trading ex-dividend, was down 54 cents to $31.25 and Fortescue was down 1.5 cents to $3.52 but Rio Tinto was up 34 cents to $49.58.

The major retailers were lower after ABS figures showed there was a 10.2 per cent drop in department store spending in July.

David Jones was down four cents, or 1.65 per cent, at $2.38 and Myer was 4.5 cents, or 2.26 per cent, lower at $1.94.

The four major banks were mixed.

ANZ dropped three cents to $24.79, National Australia Bank was 2.5 cents lower at $25.23 and Commonwealth Bank fell seven cents to $54.67, but Westpac was two cents higher at $24.79.

National turnover was million 679 securities worth $1.183 billion, with 348 stocks up, 402 down and 288 unchanged.

The West Australian

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