Aust stocks open 0.6% higher

Local market pushes higher in early trade following strong global leads.

By a staff reporter, with AAP

The Australian stock market opened more than half a per cent higher after a strong performance on overseas markets overnight.

At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.61 per cent to 5,349.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index increased 0.59 per cent to 5,350 points.

Materials were mostly higher, despite the major miners going either way.

BHP Billiton inclined 0.13 per cent to $37.26, while rival Rio Tinto lost 0.41 per cent to $65.73.

Fortescue Metals rallied 0.92 per cent to $5.49 and Newcrest added 1.17 per cent to $8.98.

Whitehaven Coal rallied 2.16 per cent to $1.89, while Santos inclined 0.49 per cent to $14.42.

Oil Search increased 1.37 per cent to $8.16 and Woodside Petroleum added 0.66 per cent to $37.91.

Financials were stronger across the board.

ANZ increased 0.78 per cent to $32.11, while Commonwealth Bank rose 0.73 per cent to $78.29.

National Australia Bank rallied 0.64 per cent to $34.72, while Westpac inclined 0.84 per cent to $32.35.

Investment bank Macquarie Group added 0.92 per cent to $54.85.

In insurance, IAG rose 1.04 per cent to $5.83, while Suncorp added 0.84 per cent to $13.16. QBE added 0.38 per cent to $11.915.

The retail sector was mostly stronger.

Woolworths rose 0.62 per cent to $33.97, while Wesfarmers inclined 0.98 per cent to $44.10.

Myer rose 0.92 per cent to $2.755, while rival David Jones added 0.5 per cent to $2.995.

Harvey Norman retreated 0.16 per cent to $3.215, while JB Hi-Fi inched up 0.09 per cent to $21.40.

In media, Fairfax Media lost 0.39 per cent to 64.25 cents, 21st Century Fox rallied 0.52 per cent to $38.40 and News Corp lost 1.57 per cent to $19.47.

Ten Network retreated 0.79 per cent to 31.25 cents, while Seven West added 0.86 per cent to $2.34 and Southern Cross Media declined 0.59 per cent to $1.685.

Telstra rose 0.19 per cent to $5.29, while Qantas rose 1.15 per cent to $1.1025.

German economic data out overnight showed that the unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 per cent in December, while retail spending increased by 1.5 per cent in November.

In the United States, the November international trade report said the trade deficit shrank sharply in the month, to be at its smallest point in four years.

The stock market on Tuesday finished in the red, weighed down by poorly performing resources stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost down 7.9 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 5,317.0.

The broader All Ordinaries index lost 8.9 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,318.8.

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