Aust stocks fall at noon

Local market pushes lower in early afternoon trade ahead of US Fed meeting.

The local market opened flat after overseas markets lost ground as investors wait for news from the United States Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

At 1205 AEST, the S&P/ASX 200 benchmark index was 0.39% lower at 5,026.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index also inched down 0.38% to 5,008.6 points.

Materials were mixed with the major miners both creeping slightly higher.

Rio Tinto put on 0.09% to $57.16, while BHP Billiton gained 0.46% to $34.71.

Fortescue Metals added 0.41% to $3.665.

Whitehaven Coal shed 1.43% to $2.07, while Newcrest rose 1.98% to $12.39.

In energy, Santos added 0.07% to $13.65, Oil Search lost 0.69% to $7.935 and Woodside lost 0.69% to $37.24.

Financial stocks were weaker, with all of the big four banks in the red.

Commonwealth Bank lost 0.39% to $73.57, while ANZ Banking Group shed 0.69% to $29.435.

National Australia Bank dropped 0.55% to $30.99, while Westpac Banking Corporation inched down 0.19% to $30.76.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 0.94% to $43.05.

In the insurance sector, QBE added 0.31% to $16.23, Insurance Australia Group lost 1.53% to $5.80 and Suncorp lost 0.7% to $12.73.

The retail sector was mostly weaker.

Wesfarmers lost 1.51% to $39.92, while Woolworths dropped 2.01% lower to $33.09 as it announced a lift in full-year sales.

Myer lost 0.38% to $2.65 while rival David Jones decreased 0.57% to $2.635.

Harvey Norman lost 0.19% to $2.665 while JB Hi-Fi lifted 2.19% to $18.65.

In media, Fairfax Media was flat at 49.5 cents, while 21st Century Fox reduced 0.73% to $32.80.

Ten Network lost 1.82% to 27 cents and Southern Cross Media shrank 2.06% to $1.425, while Seven West contracted 4.42% to $2.055.

Meanwhile, blue chip Telstra put on 0.41% to $4.94, while Qantas lost 0.2% to $1.2775

In local economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released weaker-than-expected building approvals data for June.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens is scheduled to deliver a speech at a function in Sydney, and the Housing Industry Association publishes its trades report for June quarter.

The market on Monday was pushed higher by shares in the four major banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 4.3 points, or 0.09%, to 5046.3, and the broader All Ordinaries index added 4.1 points, or 0.08%, to 5027.9.

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