Aust stocks lower at noon

Local market pares some earlier losses but remains more than half a per cent weaker.

The Australian stock market pared some of its early losses, but remained lower at noon following weak leads from Wall Street.

At 1215 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.48% to 5,396.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index retreated 0.47% to 5,389.8.

Financials were mixed.

ANZ added 0.46% to $32.53, while Commonwealth Bank edged down 0.06% to $79.27.

National Australia Bank rose 0.06% to $34.70 and Westpac slipped 2.84% to $33.16.

Investment bank Macquarie Group was flat at $54.60.

In insurance, IAG was 1.45% lower at $6.11.

Suncorp fell 0.22% to $13.36, and QBE added 0.27% at $14.86.

Materials were nearly all weaker.

BHP Billiton fell 1.2% to $37.78, while rival Rio Tinto decreased 1.05% to $64.79.

Fortescue Metals dropped 5% to $5.415, while Newcrest lost 2.07% to $9.92.

Whitehaven Coal added 1.86% to $1.5075.

Oil Search edged down 0.06% to $8.415, Santos fell 1.73% to $14.81 and Woodside Petroleum fell 0.51% to $39.14.

The retail sector was also mostly lower.

Wesfarmers edged down 0.09% to $43.52, while rival Woolworths lifted 0.55% to $34.78.

Myer lost 0.58% to $2.555 and rival David Jones fell 0.66% to $3.02.

Harvey Norman decreased 1.5% to $3.28, while JB Hi-Fi retreated 3.24% to $22.08.

Media stocks were mixed.

Fairfax Media was 3.51% higher at 59 cents, while rival 21st Century Fox fell 2.35% to $34.88 and News Corp decreased 0.21% to $18.69.

Ten Network decreased 0.89% to 27.75 cents and Seven West shed 1.03% to $2.395, while Southern Cross Media was flat at $1.70.

Blue chip Qantas gained 1.22% to $1.24, while Telstra rose 0.58% to $5.18.

Wall Street's falls came after data surprisingly showed the world's biggest economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in the third quarter, well above the 1.9% projected by analysts.

The US session also featured Twitter's strong market debut on the New York Stock Exchange.

Locally, in economic news on Friday, the Reserve Bank of Australia releases its statement on monetary policy.

In equities news, Commonwealth Bank, Hills Holdings and Ardent Leisure have annual general meetings scheduled.

In Australia, the market on Thursday slipped, dragged down by the ANZ and National Australia Bank which paid out their final dividends.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 11.8 points, or 0.22%, at 5,422.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 10.6 points, or 0.2%, at 5,415.4.

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