Aust stocks lift at noon

Local market gains as investors eye continued stimulus in the US.

The Australian stock market gained at noon, following strong Wall St leads as investors expect likely new United States Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen to continue stimulus measures.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.4% to 5,376.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.38% to 5,372.1 points.

Financials were mostly higher.

ANZ added 0.97% to $32.15 and Commonwealth Bank rose 0.58% to $77.65.

National Australia Bank lifted 1.12% to $34.16, and Westpac put on 0.74% to $32.89.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lifted 1.4% to $54.39.

In insurance, IAG rose 0.33% to $6.01, Suncorp added 1.07% to $13.27, and QBE rose 0.78% to $15.52.

Materials were mostly lower.

BHP Billiton fell 0.59% at $37.595, while rival Rio Tinto lost 0.08% to $65.08.

Fortescue Metals retreated 0.6% to $5.785, while Newcrest increased 0.58% to $9.605.

Whitehaven Coal added three% to $1.545.

In energy, Oil Search added 0.36% to $8.46, while Santos inched up 0.07% to $14.74 and Woodside Petroleum fell 0.34% to $38.51.

The retail sector was mixed.

Wesfarmers fell 0.17% to $43.805, while rival Woolworths lost 0.41% to $33.76.

Myer shed 0.68% to $2.91 and rival David Jones rose 0.65% to $3.08.

Harvey Norman was 0.92% lower at $3.24, while JB Hi-Fi was 0.47% higher at $21.46.

Fairfax Media rose 1.74% to 58.5 cents, 21st Century Fox lifted 1.38% to $36.11 and News Corp fell 0.32% to $18.76.

Ten Network lifted 1.92% to 26.5 cents, while Seven West fell 0.44% to $2.26 and Southern Cross Media retreated 0.91% to $1.635.

Blue chip Qantas fell 1.24% to $1.195, while Telstra rose 0.88% to $5.175.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its Payments System board meeting.

In equities news, Lend Lease Group, MacMahon Holdings, Automotive Holdings and Perseus Mining have annual general meetings scheduled.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed higher due to indications economic stimulus in the US is likely to run into next year.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 36.2 points, or 0.68%, to 5,355.4.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 34.5 points, or 0.65%, at 5,352.

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