Trading Room home page

Aust stocks weaker at noon

Market watch top headlines

World reports

Stocks to watch

ERA, LYC, NST, OGC, ORG, SHL, WPL,

PERTH, Jan 21 AAP

January 21 2013, 12:48AM

The Australian market is slightly lower, with few strong leads to drive investment decisions.

At 1200 AEDT on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.2 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 4,766 and the broader All Ordinaries index was 3.8 points, or 0.08 per cent, lower at 4,790.7.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down six points at 4,734 with 5,019 contracts traded.

IG Markets market strategist Evan Lucas said volumes were flat in the absence of major drivers, and ahead of the release of official inflation figures on Wednesday.

"Therefore, we're seeing trading a little bit mixed rather than any strong leads to give the market a leg-up further," Mr Lucas said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 53.68 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 13,649.70, reaching its highest close since December 10, 2007.

The broader S&P 500 added 5.04, or 0.34 percent, to hit 1,485.98, its highest since December 26, 2007.

The result followed news that Congressional Republicans planned to vote for a three-month extension to the US debt ceiling as President Barack Obama sorts out the budget and a long-term strategy for government spending cuts.

Australian banking stocks were mixed, with the Commonwealth Bank shedding 13 cents to hit $62.03, Westpac down 15 cents to $26.43 and ANZ 3.5 cents lower at $25.55.

However, the National Australia Bank added 40 cents to $26.75 amid speculation Spanish banking giant Santander was considering making a $3 billion bid for its UK business.

Meanwhile, in mining stocks, BHP Billiton shares were 18 cents lower at $36.32 ahead of the release of fourth quarter earnings results later this week while Rio Tinto shares were nine cents higher at $66.44.

In local news, Scrap metal recycler Sims Metal Management shares fell 40 cents to $9.58 amid fears managers of its British operations could have defrauded the company.

Shares in global insurer QBE rose 29 cents to $12.04 amid speculation it could cut 700 jobs to cut costs.

National turnover was 143 million shares worth $232.6 million, with 336 stocks up, 215 down and 287 unchanged.