Aust stocks hold gains at noon

Local market lifts over half a per cent, rebounding from yesterday's losses.

The Australian stock market held early gains at noon, rebounding from the heavy losses suffered in the previous session and bucking the trend of weaker global bourses.

At 1210 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.62% to 5,042.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.58%, to 5,025.8 points.

The market bucked the expectations of most analysts, who expected it to follow the downward trajectory of overseas markets.

"Global equities seem to be tapering off with a lack of positive drivers to keep the momentum going," IG's Stan Shamu said.

Mr Shamu said miners would be a key focus of the market during the session ahead of Rio Tinto earnings results this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.7%, against expectations of a rise.

Financials rallied, with the big four banks in the black.

Commonwealth Bank increased 0.42% to $72.385, while ANZ Banking Group lifted 0.76% to $29.32.

National Australia Bank added 0.21% to $30.595 and Westpac Banking Corporation rose 0.59% to $30.72.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 2.17% to $44.63.

In the insurance sector, QBE lifted 0.8% to $17.055, Insurance Australia Group added 0.71% to $5.71 and Suncorp was 1.3% higher at $12.51.

Materials were mixed.

BHP Billiton inched down 0.11% to $34.86, while Rio Tinto added 0.51% to $58.90.

Fortescue Metals slipped 0.53% to $3.73.

Whitehaven Coal was flat at $1.95 and Newcrest rose 0.31% to $11.315.

Wang Jiahua, executive vice chairman of China Mining Association, is scheduled to speak at the Melbourne Mining Club.

In equities news, Rio Tinto will release its latest earnings results.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday took its heaviest fall in seven weeks, as healthy housing finance figures may have convinced investors the latest interest rate cut could be the last.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 94.3 points, or 0.185%, at 5011.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 91.4 points, or 1.80%, to 4,996.6 points.

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