Aust stocks close lower

The Australian stock market has closed weaker after local unemployment edged higher and a reduction in United States monetary policy next week became more likely.

The Australian stock market has closed weaker after local unemployment edged higher and a reduction in United States monetary policy next week became more likely.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.82% to 5,062.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 0.79% to 5,069.2 points.

IG analyst Chris Weston said weak Wall Street leads left a slightly bitter taste in traders' mouths, as the chance the United States Federal Reserve will start to taper its bond-buying program at next week's meeting moved closer to 50-50 after negotiators reached a budget agreement yesterday.

Locally, he said selling has been broad-based, with sizeable volumes and without one major catalyst.

"The banks have once again been at the heart of the rout, with rumours on the floors of a US bank putting through a sizeable sell order through the market," Mr Weston said.

Unemployment data released today showed a slight lift in the unemployment rate to 5.8% in November, from 5.7 per cent in October, although the total number of jobs increased by 21,000, above expectations of a lift of 10,000.

"On a pure headline basis the 21,000 jobs created was strong and nicely above consensus, with the mix of full-time and part-time enough to please those calling for future rate hikes," Mr Weston said.

"However, the market seems to have put more emphasis on the underlying unemployment rate."