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SYDNEY, Nov 8 AAP

November 08 2012, 12:33AM

The Australian market has recovered slightly after a negative start and following big falls on Wall Street.

At 1203 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 32 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 4,484.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 32.2 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 4,502 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 18 points lower at 4,478 points, on volume of 13,729 contracts.

Paterson's Securities private client adviser Sam Fimis said Australian stocks had recovered slightly from its lacklustre opening which had followed US market's negative lead.

Wall Street tumbled more than two per cent and posted its largest daily fall in almost a year after Fitch Ratings warned that the US would lose its AAA credit rating if the government failed to address looming tax increases, spending cuts and the fast approaching debt ceiling.

"It was a little bit of a shock that the ratings agencies threatened to downgrade the US debt rating again and it seems that our market has reacted negatively again, which is expected," Mr Fimis said.

"But it is improving as we're going along."

The Dow fell 2.36 per cent to a three-month low, the S&P500 declined 2.37 per cent and the NASDAQ slid 2.48 per cent.

Locally, the materials sector was down 0.89 per cent and financials dropped 0.79 per cent.

BHP Billiton dropped 20.5 cents to $34.775, Rio Tinto dived 82 cents to $59.18 and Fortescue lost seven cents to $3.98.

ANZ dropped $1.02 to $24.49 after it went ex-dividend, Westpac gained six cents to $25.92, National Australia Bank fell 10 cents to $24.89 and Commonwealth Bank was up four cents $57.84.

But Transfield Services gained 1.5 cents, ot $1.585 after announcing it had won a $200 million five-year contract to provide maintenance and operations services to QGC's Queensland upstream coal seam gas assets.

In economic news, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Australia's unemployment rate was steady at 5.4 per cent in October.

National turnover was 778 million securities worth $2.405 billion, with 216 stocks trading up, 531 down and 323 unchanged.