Aust stocks flat at noon

Local stock market pares morning losses after weak Wall Street leads.

The Australian stock market was flat at noon, paring morning losses after downbeat Wall Street leads as United States debt ceiling concerns weigh on investor sentiment.

At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had inched down 0.15% to 5,267.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged 0.13% lower to 5,263.3 points.

“Although the market could have a strong run into the end of 2013 we are entering a seasonally weak period for stocks, being the end of September and October,” Rivkin analyst Tim Radford said.

“In the backdrop there are major fundamental catalysts that could send stocks sharply lower over the next month, mainly in the form of the US debt ceiling and US Federal Reserve taper concerns.”

In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released August job vacancy figures, showing a fall in the August quarter.

Financials were mixed, with three of the big four banks in the red.

ANZ Banking Group dropped 0.35% to $31.30, while Commonwealth Bank added 0.12% to $72.93.

National Australia Bank fell 0.88 to $34.99 and Westpac Banking Group retreated 0.45% to $32.96.

Investment bank Macquarie Group slumped 0.53% to $48.80.

In the insurance sector, QBE rose 1.03% to $14.77, Insurance Australia Group inched up 0.09% to $5.855 and Suncorp rose 0.46% to $13.24.

In Australia, the market yesterday defied other Asian markets, rising on the back of strength in the energy and consumer goods sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 41.7 points, or 0.8%, to 5,275.9 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 40.6 points, or 0.78%, to 5,270.1 points.

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