- Insurance Australia Group and QBE Insurance added 4.6% and 3.2%, respectively, ahead of earnings later this week
Australian shares ended flat on Monday as losses in gold and mining stocks offset strong gains in financials, which were lifted by insurers ahead of earnings later this week.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed unchanged at 7,538.4 points, the record closing level hit on Friday.
Gold stocks shed 3.2%, the most among all sectors, as bullion dipped after solid US jobs data stoked concerns of a sooner-than-expected interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining fell 2.4% and 2.7%, respectively.
Miners were also among top drags, shedding as much as 1.2%, as iron ore prices came under pressure from prospects of improved supply and weakening Chinese demand.
BHP Group, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group fell between 0.8% and 1.4%. Financial stocks were the bright spot, adding 1.3% for the day.
Shares of National Australia Bank closed 0.9% higher after the country's third-largest lender said it would buy Citigroup's local consumer unit in a deal valued at about $882 million.
Insurer Suncorp Group climbed 7.8% after announcing strong annual results and a share buyback that supported outsized gains by the sector.
Insurance Australia Group and QBE Insurance added 4.6% and 3.2%, respectively, ahead of earnings later this week.
Westpac rose 1% after it agreed to sell its domestic life insurance business to Japan's Dai-ichi Life Holdings for A$900 million ($660 million).
Australia's pharmaceutical regulator granted provisional approval to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, while authorities in New South Wales expanded lockdown measures to the countryside.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 12,700.83.