Australian shares slipped at the start of Monday and then pared losses as some investors saw bargains in the beaten-down metals sector but banks and consumer staples weigh on the sentiment.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,555.1 at 0216 GMT.
The index, which last week had its biggest fall since June 8-12, remains on track to post a monthly gain in July after falling each month since March.
Despite a slump in global commodities, mining giant BHP Billiton reversed early losses to gain 0.24 percent. Fortescue was up 1.9 percent.
Gold miners rallied with Newcrest Mining rising 2.2 percent and North Star jumped 7.4 percent.
Investors also looked for bargains in healthcare. Hearing implants maker Cochlear rose 1.4 percent.
“We’ve already seen a willingness from the bulls to step in and embark on some bargain hunting,” said Chris Conway, head of research and trading at Australian Stock Report.
“We could get back to parity by the end of the day, defying what was really quite bearish lead from the Friday night session,” he said.
National Australia Bank was down 0.3 percent and Commonwealth Bank off 0.5 percent.
New Zealand’s benchmark NZX50 share index was 0.3 percent lower at 5,874.48 as investors moved on from last week’s central bank rate cut and its statement that was less-dovish than some expected.
Falls were widespread among the biggest stocks, with Fletcher Building down 0.9 percent, software developer Xero was down 1 percent while casino company Sky City was down 0.5 percent.
Medium-cap stocks also eased with fuel retailer Z Energy , retirement village Metlifecare and Mighty River Power down 1.5 percent or more.
Standout among the rises was Australian-controlled gold miner Oceana Gold, up 8 percent, reflecting a similar gain across the Tasman.
Specialist milk producer A2 Milk, which has knocked back a potential takeover, pushed up 2.5 percent.
The market is expected to trade sideways ahead of the earnings season which starts early next month.