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MELBOURNE, Nov 7 AAP

November 07 2012, 12:36AM

Australian stocks were trading higher at noon but were trailing the stronger gains made on European and US markets overnight.

At 1227 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 13.9 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 4,498.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen 12.7 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,516.4 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 13 points higher at 4,486 points, with 12,110 contracts traded.

US stocks closed with solid gains led by risk assets as the country went to the polls to choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for president, with the economy the key issue in the tight election.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 133.24 points (1.02 per cent) at 13,245.68 in closing trade.

European markets finished slightly below one per cent stronger.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said trading was cautious and subdued, as investors waited to see who won the US election.

Traders also seemed unconvinced that the overnight gains in the US would lead to a sustainable rally.

"It is general uncertainty and I am personally not sure the (election) outcome itself will make much immediate difference," he told AAP.

"The next thing that has to be done is resolution to this fiscal cliff, as far as the US is concerned that is the main game in the short term rather than the actual outcome of the election."

The cliff refers to $US600 billion ($A577.28 billion) in spending cuts and tax hikes due to take effect to reduce the massive US budget deficit.

The Australian Reserve Bank's decision to keep official interest rates on hold had also cooled sentiment on the markets, Mr Spooner said.

In equities news, global media giant News Corporation announced that its net profit more than tripled in the first quarter of the 2012/13 financial year.

News Corp shares were 74 cents, or 3.2 per cent, higher at $24.09.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has lifted its first quarter cash profit to about $1.85 billion despite low demand for loans and higher funding costs.

CBA shares had reversed early losses to be 9.5 cents, or 0.17 per cent, higher at $57.57, at 1220 AEDT.

Global resources company BHP Billiton was flat, up just two cents to $34.83 amid a report the company has started the process to find a new chief executive to replace Marius Kloppers.

BHP refused to comment.

Fellow resources company Rio Tinto was 31 cents better at $59.81 and Fortescue Metals had lifted nearly 0.9 per cent to $4.035.

National turnover was at 636 million securities worth $1.34 million, with 410 stocks up, 302 down and 322 unchanged.