Australian shares were muted on Tuesday, after losses in miners offset strength in bank stocks, as investors awaited U.S. economic data this week for clues on the Federal Reserve's stance on monetary policy.
The S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.1% higher at 6,606.30 points. The benchmark fell 1.1% on Monday.
The Australian market is being influenced by macroeconomic data right now, so I think the market is going to be treading water until we get some more news this week, said Brad Smoling, managing director at Smoling Stockbroking.
U.S. consumer price index data for June is due on Wednesday and June retail sales data is expected on Friday.
The data should provide clues on the outcome of the Federal Reserve's upcoming policy meeting, where a 75 basis point (bps) interest rate hike is expected.
Rate-sensitive financial stocks advanced 0.7%, with the "Big Four" banks—Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group—up between 0.1% and 1.4%.
Healthcare stocks, which are export focused, gained 1.1% as the dollar hit a two-decade peak. CSL Ltd hit a six-month high, adding 1.7%.
On the downside, miners dropped 1.4% as persistent concerns about weak demand in top steel producer China hurt iron ore prices.
Lithium miners, including Leo Lithium, Ioneer Ltd and Core Lithium, were among the sub-index's top decliners.
Sector majors BHP and Fortescue Metals Group declined 1.2% and 0.2%, respectively, while rival Rio Tinto was up 0.1%.
Domestic data on the day showed consumer sentiment slid to pandemic lows in July amid surging cost of living and rising interest rates.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 ended flat at 11,103.39 points, a day before its central bank is widely expected to raise rates by another 50 bps.
Maybank analysts expect a further four 50 bps hikes from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand this year.
(Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)