Aust stocks close lower

Local investors pause for breath, await tapering hints from US Federal Reserve

The Australian stock market has closed half a per cent lower, pulling back from yesterday's fresh five-year closing high as investors wait for hints about when the United States Federal Reserve may start to reduce its stimulus measures.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.48% lower at 5,415.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 0.49% weaker at 5,410.7 points.

CMC Markets analyst Betty Lam said investors across Asia caught their breath today after a strong run of gains.

"All eyes are focussed on the Feds over the next 48 hours, as investors wait for clues as to when the US stimulus wind down may begin," Ms Lam said.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) reported earnings today, and did not disappoint investors with its fifth consecutive record profit.