(Updates to close)
SYDNEY Feb 24 (Reuters) - Australian shares finished flat on Monday in choppy trade as gains in the banking and resource sectors was offset by investors selling out of ex-dividend heavyweight stocks including Australia's biggest phone company Telstra Corporation Ltd.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 1.5 points higher at 5,440.2. It added 0.5 percent on Friday.
Telstra fell 2.5 percent.
New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index climbed 0.9 percent to 4,969.6. (Reporting by Thuy Ong; Editing by Kim Coghill)