Aust stocks flat at noon

Local market little changed despite stronger than forecast construction data.

The Australian stock market is little changed at noon, despite the release of stronger than expected construction data.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.16% lower at 5,348.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged down 0.18% to 5,341.1 points.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released construction work done data for the September quarter, beating expectations with a 2.7% lift.

CMC Markets analyst Ric Spooner said the local market has not been closely following the United States market, after the technology-focused Nasdaq composite hit a 13-year high to close above the 4,000 mark.

"The Australian market is dancing to its own beat at the moment," Mr Spooner said.

Financials were mixed, with the big four banks in the black.

ANZ rose 0.5% to $32.11 and Commonwealth Bank added 0.51% to $77.24.

National Australia Bank rose 0.49% to $34.57 and Westpac lifted 0.82% to $33.03.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lost 0.2% to $54.92.

Bank of Queensland lifted 0.24% to $12.36 after its chairman said recovery in the local economy would depend on a lower Australian dollar.

In insurance, IAG retreated 1.21% to $6.135, Suncorp fell one% to $13.385 and QBE shed 0.76% to $15.58.

Materials were mostly weaker.

BHP Billiton fell 1.08% at $37.39, while rival Rio Tinto retreated 1.29% to $64.20.

Fortescue Metals retreated 0.17% to $5.73, while Newcrest dropped 4.2% to $7.76.

Whitehaven Coal fell 1.09% to $1.5825 and Santos lost 0.21% to $14.50.

Oil Search retreated 0.72% to $8.32, while Woodside Petroleum inched up 0.18% to $38.47.

The retail sector mostly lost ground.

Wesfarmers fell 0.11% to $43.81, while rival Woolworths inched down 0.03% to $34.07.

Myer fell 1.4% to $2.82 and rival David Jones retreated 0.49% to $3.035.

Harvey Norman retreated 2.43% to $3.21, while JB Hi-Fi rose 0.79% to $20.36.

In media, Fairfax Media lost 1.65% to 59.5 cents, 21st Century Fox was flat at $35.71 and News Corp lifted 1.52% to $19.38.

Ten Network rose 0.89% to 28.25 cents, while Seven West lost 0.88% to $2.24 and Southern Cross Media slipped 3.08% to $1.575.

Blue chip Qantas retreated 1.46% to $1.1825, while Telstra added 0.39% to $5.10.

In equities news, Bank of Queensland, Independence Group, Regional Express Holdings and AWE have annual general meetings scheduled.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed higher for the third straight day, driven by gains among the big banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.5 points, or 0.08%, higher at 5,350.6.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 4.2 points, or 0.08%, at 5,357.0.

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