Aust stocks open lower

Local market falls after weak Wall Street leads, string of production reports.

The Australian stock market has opened slightly lower after weak Wall Street leads, mixed closes on European bourses and a string of local production reports.

At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was 0.29% lower at 5,304.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 0.29% to 5,316 points.

IG analyst Chris Weston said without the United States providing a platform for Asia to push higher, China would have to come out firing to give the local market any upside traction.

Traders are watching costs and debt figures in this morning's production reports, he said.

Materials were mixed.

BHP Billiton lost 0.56% to $37.42, while rival Rio Tinto rose 0.43% to $65.57.

Fortescue Metals rose 0.75% to $5.39, while Newcrest Mining rose 3.85% to $9.70 after releasing its December 2013 quarter results, showing a lift in gold production.

Whitehaven Coal lost 1.06% to $1.86 after reporting a lift in coal production, while Santos rose 0.35% to $14.31 after reaffirming its full-year guidance.

Oil Search fell 0.73% to $8.15 and Woodside Petroleum slid 0.55% to $37.94.

In economic news, the Commonwealth Bank business sales indicator for December is due to be released.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed lower after the release of higher-than-expected inflation figures.

Consumer price index (CPI) growth of 0.8% for the December quarter was above the 0.5% rise expected by economists, reducing the chances of another rate cut by the central bank.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 11.7 points, or 0.22%, to 5,319.8.

The broader All Ordinaries index shed 10.7 points, or 0.2%, to 5,331.3.

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