Australian stocks came off their opening lows Monday to sit flat after about an hour of trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 down just fractionally. The big banks pulled back to weigh on the market, as Greece remained without a new bailout deal and with the markets awaiting testimony this week from Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group lost 1.1%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia eased 0.2% lower, and National Australia Bank Ltd. was down 0.3%, though investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. managed to improve by 0.2% after a sharp Friday rally on Wall Street. Among the miners, iron-ore names gave up some of their strong gains at the end of the previous week (Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. down 0.4%, Arrium Ltd. down 1.9%, BC Iron Ltd. down 3.4%), but some of the gold miners followed the yellow metal higher (Newcrest Mining Ltd. up 1.9%, Perseus Mining Ltd. up 2.4%, Oz Minerals Ltd. up 3.3%). A drop for crude-oil futures pushed Oil Search Ltd. down 1.5% and Beach Energy Ltd. down 1.1%, but also helped support a 2.9% improvement for Qantas Airways Ltd. .
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