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SYDNEY, Feb 15 AAP

February 15 2013, 12:04AM

Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at noon on Friday:

ANZ - ANZ BANKING GROUP LTD - down 20 cents, or 0.71 per cent, at $27.86

ANZ shares have fallen amid disappointment at its first quarter earnings result.

SEPARATELY: ANZ New Zealand, the country's biggest lender, reported a 25 per cent fall in first-quarter profit as the local unit of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group recorded softer margins, even as it grabbed more market share.

APN - APN NEWS & MEDIA LTD - in trading halt, last traded at 30 cents

APN News & Media has placed its shares in a trading halt amid speculation about the future of its chief executive.

CQR - CHARTER HALL RETAIL REIT - down three cents, or 0.78 per cent, at $3.83

Shopping centre group Charter Hall Retail REIT has swung back into the black with a first half net profit of $15.8 million.

RIO - RIO TINTO LTD - down $1.66 cents, or 2.30 per cent, at $70.41

SYDNEY, Feb 15 AAP - Rio Tinto's shares have fallen by more than two per cent in early trade after it posted its first ever loss.

SGM - SIMS METAL MANAGEMENT LTD - down 21.5 cents, or 1.96 per cent, at $10.745

Recycler Sims Metal Management will write down the value of inventory at its British operations by $78 million after uncovering a possible case of fraud.

TGR - TASSAL GROUP LTD - up five cents, or 2.91 per cent, at $1.765

Salmon farmer Tassal says it has a strong marketing plan and new product initiatives to continue to boost the consumption of salmon among domestic consumers.

WES - WESFARMERS LTD - up 51 cents, or 1.31 per cent, at $39.39

WOW - WOOLWORTHS LTD - down 10 cents, or 0.30 per cent, at $32.78

The head of Australia's competition watchdog says it was hard to get grocery suppliers to come forward to give evidence about alleged improper practices by Coles and Woolworths.