Aust stocks fall slightly at noon

Local market slips as current account deficit widens, retail sales beat forecasts

The Australian stock market is slightly lower at noon after falls on international markets and the release of local data showing the current account deficit widened.

At 1206 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 0.23% to 5,267.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 0.21% to 5,262.4 points.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data released this morning showed the current account deficit widened more than expected to a seasonally adjusted $12.71 billion in the September quarter, while retail sales beat forecasts to lift 0.5% in October.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its monthly board meeting and makes its interest rate decision.

No major equities news is expected.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed at a six-week low, with better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data unable to inspire investors.

HSBC's purchasing managers' index for China, released yesterday, slipped to 50.8 in November from 50.9 in October, on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

The November reading indicated that China's massive manufacturing sector was improving, albeit marginally.

The reading was also an improvement from a preliminary reading of 50.4 released earlier last month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 40.5 points, or 0.76%, at 5,279.5 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 40.8 points, or 0.77%, at 5,273.5 points.

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