Aust stocks open higher

Local market lifts in early trade after mixed close on Wall Street.

The Australian stock market opened higher, following a mixed close on Wall Street after the release of the Federal Reserve's June policy meeting minutes.

At 1015 AEST the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.65%, at 4,933.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.62%, to 4,915.9 points.

Materials posted gains across the board.

Rio Tinto lifted 1.43% to $53.14, while BHP Billiton rose 1.57% to $32.33.

Fortescue Metals rose 1.19% to $3.40.

Whitehaven Coal gained 0.91% to $2.22, while Newcrest rallied 4.72% to $10.42.

In energy, Santos rose 0.29% to $13.97, Oil Search gained 1.36% to $8.21 and Woodside increased 0.9% to $37.08.

Financial stocks were mostly higher, with the big four banks gaining.

Commonwealth Bank rose 0.3% to $70.56, while ANZ Banking Group lifted 0.21% to $28.70.

National Australia Bank gained 0.51% to $29.60, while Westpac Banking Corporation lifted 0.71% to $29.245.

Investment bank Macquarie Group shed 0.87% to $44.50.

In the insurance sector, QBE dropped 0.18% to $16.54, Insurance Australia Group increased 0.62% to $5.705 and Suncorp was unchanged at $12.17.

The retail sector was mixed.

Wesfarmers lost 0.08% to $39.25 while Woolworths rose 1.02% to $33.54.

Myer was unchanged at $2.45 while rival David Jones gained 0.8% to $2.51.

Harvey Norman rose 0.61% to $2.455, while JB Hi-Fi dropped 0.29% to $16.93.

In media, Fairfax Media decreased 1.79% to 55 cents, while 21st Century Fox added 0.3% to $32.96.

Ten Network was unchanged at 29 cents and Southern Cross Media gained 1.02% to $1.485, while Seven West lost 0.71% to $2.095.

Meanwhile, blue chip Telstra added 0.42% to $4.79, while Qantas increased 1.11% to $1.37.

While the June minutes showed growing support for the end of quantitative easing by the end of the year, comments by Chairman Ben Bernanke after the release pointed to the necessity of continued stimulus.

IG analyst Evan Lucas expects the market to extend gains today after rallying 269 points in 11 trading days.

"It will be another violent and volatile trading day on the markets," he said. "However, it will be volatile in the north direction."

In local economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release labour force data for June.

The NAB June quarter Australian residential property survey is also due out.

In equities news, Arrium mining and minerals chief executive Andrew Roberts is scheduled to speak at a Melbourne Mining Club lunch while CSR has its annual general meeting scheduled.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday closed higher despite slipping in afternoon trade due to concerns about an economic slowdown in China.

Data from the world's second largest economy showed exports unexpectedly fell 3.1% in June, and imports fell 0.7%.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.7 points, or 0.40%, at 4,901.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.9 points, or 0.39%, to 4,885.4 points.

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