Aust stocks flat at noon

Local market recovers morning losses as speculation swirls around US debt talks.

The Australian stock market recovered morning losses to sit flat at noon as speculation mounts a possible deal to end the United States debt ceiling crisis may be imminent.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched up 0.17% to 5,268.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged up 0.17% to 5,268.1 points.

IG analyst Stan Shamu warned trade is likely to be choppy until the United States resolves its political impasse.

"Once again it seems US leaders will be taking this to the wire," Mr Shamu said.

Materials were mostly stronger.

BHP Billiton rose 1.23% to $35.835, while rival Rio Tinto inclined 1.36% to $64.06.

Fortescue Metals increased 3.04% to $5.42 and Whitehaven Coal lifted 1.04% to $1.7025.

Newcrest rose 0.69% to $10.21.

In the energy sector, Santos fell 0.94% to $14.75, Oil Search rose 0.58% to $8.74 and Woodside put on 0.13% to $38.55.

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

ANZ Banking Group put on 0.13% to $31.51, while Commonwealth Bank lost 0.03% to $72.99.

National Australia Bank rose 0.5% to $35.185 and Westpac Banking Group inched up 0.09% to $33.27.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 0.12% to $48.96.

In the insurance sector, QBE increased 1.31% to $14.72, Insurance Australia Group slipped 0.76% to $5.865 and Suncorp dropped 0.77% to $12.84.

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