Aust stocks open higher

Local market rises slightly following modest Wall Street gains as US GDP beat expectations.

The local market opened slightly higher after modest Wall Street gains as data showed United States gross domestic product grew better than expected.

At the 1015 AEST official market open, the S&P/ASX 200 benchmark index lifted 0.39% to 5,071.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index also rose 0.39% to 5,055.5 points.

Materials were mostly higher as the major miners rose.

Rio Tinto gained 0.23% to $57.64, while BHP Billiton put on 0.58% to $34.84.

Fortescue Metals was flat at $3.66.

Whitehaven Coal added 0.25% to $1.97, while Newcrest lifted 0.57% to $12.30.

In energy, Santos grew 1.46% to $13.87, Oil Search gained 2.22% to $8.28 and Woodside lifted 1.76% to $38.25.

Financials were mostly lower.

Commonwealth Bank slipped 0.63% to $73.74, while ANZ Banking Group edged down 0.1% to $29.73.

National Australia Bank dropped 0.38% to $31.11, while Westpac Banking Corporation increased 0.36% to $31.00.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lost 0.27% to $43.77.

In the insurance sector, QBE grew 1.28% to $16.62, Insurance Australia Group shed 1.03% to $5.75 and Suncorp tumbled 3.28% to $12.40.

The retail sector was mixed.

Wesfarmers gained 0.49% to $40.76, while Woolworths inched up 0.09% to $33.35.

Myer put on 0.37% to $2.69 while rival David Jones was flat at $2.70.

Harvey Norman lifted 1.88% to $2.71 while JB Hi-Fi dropped 1.61% to $18.28.

US GDP grew 1.7% in the second quarter, above the 1.1% pace expected by analysts.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee concluded a two-day meeting saying economic growth was at a "modest" pace and pledging to maintain its aggressive bond-buying program.

In economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release the International trade price indexes for June quarter, while the Reserve Bank of Australia's index of commodity prices for month just ended is due out.

NAB releases its online retail sales index for June.

In equities news, NAB chief executive Cameron Clyne is scheduled to speak at an Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce business lunch in Sydney while Deloitte launches its 2013 edition of Queensland Index (a review of Queensland ASX-listed companies).

In Australia, the market on Wednesday closed higher as investors reacted to positive news out of China and uncertainty in the United States.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.8 points, or 0.1%, at 5,052.0 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 9.4 points, or 0.19%, to 5,035.7 points.

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