Aust stocks open flat

Local market little changed despite Wall Street gains on solid retail earnings.

The Australian stock market opened flat after Wall Street mostly gained following some solid retail earnings reports and with help from bond yields, which retreated from recent peaks.

At 1015 AEST official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched up 0.02% to 5,079.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged 0.04% higher to 5,070.7 points.

Materials were mixed, with the major miners going each way.

BHP Billiton lost 1.59% to $35.96 after announcing a fall in full-year profit on lower commodity prices after the market closed yesterday.

Rio Tinto added 0.12% to $59.58.

Fortescue Metals fell 0.49% to $4.03.

Whitehaven Coal was flat at $2.04 and Newcrest rose 1.22% to $12.43.

In the energy sector, Santos rose 0.07% to $14.70, Oil Search lifted 0.97% to $8.29 and Woodside fell 1.19% to $38.24 after lowering full-year production guidance.

Financials were mixed, with three of the big four banks in the black.

Commonwealth Bank rose 0.48% to $70.61, while ANZ Banking Group fell 0.1% to $29.53.

National Australia Bank increased 0.7% to $31.79, while Westpac Banking Corporation lifted 0.67% to $31.35.

In the insurance sector, QBE dropped 0.37% to $16.04, Insurance Australia Group fell 0.17% to $5.81 and Suncorp inched down 0.08% to $12.40 after its full-year net profit took a hit on the sale of its non-core bank.

The retail sector was mostly lower.

Wesfarmers rose 0.33% to $39.61, while Woolworths inched up 0.03% to $33.52.

Myer was flat at $2.62 while rival David Jones fell 0.72% to $2.77.

Harvey Norman lost 0.36% to $2.79 and JB Hi-Fi lost 0.38% to $18.33.

In economic news, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Indexes of Economic Activity is due out.

In Australia, the market yesterday slipped as speculation about a winding back of US stimulus weighed on resource stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 34.3 points, or 0.67%, at 5,078.2 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was 33.5 points lower, or 0.66%, at 5,068.8 points.

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