Investor caution saw the local market close flat after being in the red for most of the session. Investors elected to stay out of equities ahead of the August non-farm payrolls report being released in the US tonight and tomorrow's Federal Election.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed up 5.6pts or 0.1pct to 5144. Over the course of the week, the market rose 0.4 per cent.
Mining stocks were among the worst performers today, following general weakness on the London Metals Exchange in London. BHP Billiton (BHP) fell 0.3 per cent to $35.16 while Rio Tinto (RIO) shares were off 0.2 per cent to $61.09.
In company news, Thiess - a subsidiary of Leighton Holdings (LEI) - won a $1.8 billion contract for work on the massive Queensland Curtis liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The contract expands Thiess' role on the project and will see it construct all 18 field compressor stations and four central processing plants. LEI shares closed up 0.2 per cent to $18.30.
A review of the ASX 200 of top performing Australian stocks will see underperforming surf-wear retailer Billabong (BBG) thrown out of the index after market close on Septemebr 20. BBG will be replaced by property group Cromwell (CMW). BBG shares closed steady at 44.5c while CMW was up 3 per cent to $1.04.
Forge Group (FGE), STW Communications (SGN) and Sky Network Television (SKT) will also be added to the ASX 200 Index replacing Discovery Metals (DML), Emeco Holdings (EHL) and Mineral Deposits (MDL).
On the market overall, a total of 1.6 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.6 billion. 531 were up, 403 were down and 332 were unchanged.
At 4pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5139, up 1pt.
Ahead tonight non-farm payrolls are released. The Australian Federal Election is held tomorrow, Saturday 7th September.
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