Aust stocks open higher

Better numbers from Europe have lifted local stocks

The Australian stock market opened half a per cent higher following gains on Wall Street despite a three-hour shutdown of the Nasdaq market that disrupted trade on other exchanges as well.

At 1015 AEST official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.5 per cent to 5,101 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.5 per cent to 5,092 points.

United States markets' rise followed news that eurozone business activity picked up sharply in August, hitting a 26-month high point as the economy climbed out of a record recession.

And the HSBC's PMI for China's manufacturing sector jumped to 50.1 in August, up from July's 11-month low of 47.7.

Materials rallied after yesterday's slump.

BHP Billiton rose 1.07 per cent to $35.75, while Rio Tinto gained 1.36 per cent to $59.84.

Fortescue Metals lifted 3.52 per cent to $4.41.

Whitehaven Coal put on one per cent to $2.02 and Newcrest rose 2.82 per cent to $12.75.

In the energy sector, Santos rose 0.86 per cent to $14.585, Oil Search lifted 0.55 per cent lower to $8.275 and Woodside put on 0.74 per cent to $38.00.

Meanwhile, Crown rose 0.52 per cent to $13.65 as it reported a slide in full-year profit on weak consumer sentiment.

Mirvac lifted 1.52 per cent to $1.665 after saying it will focus on disciplined growth and posting a fall in full-year profit.

Lend Lease rose 0.44 per cent to $9.06 after tipping earnings growth and recording a jump in full-year profit, despite warning on challenging economic conditions.

Transpacific Industries fell 1.42 per cent to $86.75 after swinging to the red on impairments and saying it will continue its cost-cutting drive.

IOOF Holdings rose two per cent to $8.67 after posting a strong lift in full-year profit and expressing confidence in further growth.

No major economic news is expected.

In Australia, the market fell yesterday as local investors followed offshore leads and sold riskier stocks, including those in resources companies.

The the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 24.3 points, or 0.48 per cent, lower at 5,075.7.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 23.6 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 5,066.7.

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