Aust stocks lift at noon

Local market pares morning gains slightly after deluge of data and RBA releases.

The Australian stock market has pared morning gains slightly but is still higher at noon after the Reserve Bank of Australia again warned the Australian dollar was still too high and official data showed a lift in new car sales.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.46% higher at 5,113.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 0.46%, at 5,116.5 points.

The federal government is set to release its Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, with Treasurer Joe Hockey speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra at 1230 AEDT.

Financials were mostly stronger.

ANZ rose 1.27% to $30.675 and Commonwealth Bank rose 0.98% to $74.35.

National Australia Bank rose 0.6% to $33.40 and Westpac added 0.88% to $31.04.

Investment bank Macquarie Group put on 1.26% to $52.15.

In insurance, IAG retreated 4.3% to $5.455 after yesterday's announcement it will acquire Wesfarmers' underwriting businesses and completion of an equity raising and Suncorp added 0.73% to $12.43.

QBE fell 0.77% $10.28.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed lower ahead of the United States Federal Reserve's last meeting for 2013.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 8.8 points, or 0.17%, at 5,089.6 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was 8.4 points lower, or 0.16%, at 5,093.1 points.

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