Aust stocks open stronger

Local market pushes higher in early trade, despite mostly weaker Wall St leads.

The Australian stock market opened higher despite Wall Street closing mostly lower following data showing US consumer confidence fell in September.

The looming deadline for raising the US debt ceiling also weighed on sentiment.

At the 1015 AEST official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.37% to 5,253.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index also added 0.37% at 5,249.

Materials were mostly stronger, with the major miners edging into the black.

BHP Billiton lifted 0.11% to $35.91, after warning on commodity prices in its annual review.

Rival Rio Tinto was 0.13% higher at $62.18.

Fortescue Metals rose 3.6% to $4.89.

Whitehaven Coal was 0.5% higher at $2.01 while Newcrest added 0.84% to $12.01.

In the energy sector, Santos declined 0.17% to $15.075, Oil Search rallied 1.06% to $8.59 and Woodside declined 0.26% to $38.50.

Financials were higher across the board.

Commonwealth Bank rallied 0.22% to $73.06, while ANZ Banking Group rose 0.11% to $31.025.

National Australia Bank rose 0.95% to $34.95 and Westpac Banking Corporation added 0.55% to $32.92.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 0.57% to $49.05.

In the insurance sector, QBE rose 0.41% to $14.72, Insurance Australia Group was flat at $5.85 and Suncorp increased 1.15% to $13.18.

The retail sector was mostly higher.

Wesfarmers lifted 0.46% to $41.33, while Woolworths rose 0.6% to $34.97.

Myer added 0.38% to $2.66 and rival David Jones lifted 3.86% to $2.96.

Harvey Norman lifted 0.31% to $3.28 while JB Hi-Fi rallied 0.05% to $20.79.

In media, Fairfax Media was flat at 53.5 cents, 21st Century Fox retreated 0.09% to $34.57 and News Corp added 3.47% to $18.74.

Ten Network added 2.73% to 28.25 cents and Southern Cross Media dropped 0.85% to $1.75, while Seven West retreated 1.19% to $2.50.

Blue chip Qantas rose 0.17% to $1.5125, while Telstra lost 0.1% to $4.925.

In economic news on Wednesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia Financial Stability Review is due to be released.

In Australia, the market on Tuesday fell for a third straight day, thanks to uncertainty about the debt ceiling stand-off in the US Congress.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 18.3 points, or 0.35%, at 5,234.2.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 16.3 points, or 0.31%, at 5,229.

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