The share market surrendered its early gains to close relatively steady as investors practised caution ahead of US inflation data and Australian jobs figures out later in the week.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index dropped 2.1 points to 5,744.3 points.
The market moved within a narrow range despite a relief rally since the weekend, when North Korea refrained from testing another long-range missile, CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said.
""Despite the relief rally since the weekend, it (North Korea) does remain an overall concern for markets, and I think that's evidenced by the fact that we've seen really only a minor pullback in the (safe-haven) gold market," Mr Spooner said.
"There's also quite a bit coming up on the economic calendar this week."
Mr Spooner said the market was likely to be very sensitive to US inflation data because it could have a significant bearing on whether the US Federal Reserve lifts interest rates in December.
"So there's a bit of caution in advance of that," he said.
"We've also got, locally, our employment figures tomorrow, which are expected overall to be very good but are possibly due for a bit of mean reversion."
The mining sector of the market got a boost from commodity prices, with BHP Billiton up one per cent to $27.38, Rio Tinto up 1.1 per cent to $69.53, though Fortescue Metals dipped one per cent to $5.84.
Gold miner Newcrest added 0.9 per cent to $22.41 after announcing it has resumed ore extraction from the second section of its Cadia East mine in NSW, where operations were suspended after an earthquake in April.
Energy stocks were lower despite oil prices lifting after OPEC forecast higher demand next year and Russia and Venezuela confirmed their commitment to a production-cutting deal to reduce the global crude glut.
Woodside Petroleum was off one per cent at $28.31 and Santos fell 0.5 per cent to $3.90.
Commonwealth Bank advanced 0.8 per cent to $76.55, ANZ gained 0.5 per cent to $30.04, Westpac added 0.2 per cent to $31.72 and National Australia Bank dropped 0.2 per cent to $30.71.
The Australian dollar weakened slightly against the US dollar.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 2.1 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,744.3 points at 1630 AEST.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 2.4 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,804 points.
* The September SPI200 futures contract was up one point, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,746 points.
* National turnover was 2.7 billion securities traded worth $5.3 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 80.28 US cents, from 80.37 US cents on Tuesday
* 88.39 Japanese yen, from 88.03 yen
* 67.04 euro cents, from 67.11 euro cents
* 60.31 British pence, from 60.92 pence
* 110.07 NZ cents, from 110.40 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,330.02 per fine ounce, from $US1,326.29 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9386pct, from 1.915pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6186pct, from 2.59pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.33 (implying a yield of 2.67pct), from 97.36 (2.64pct) on Tuesday
* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.97 (2.03pct), from 98.01 (1.99pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)