Aust stocks open weaker

Market begins lower following mixed Wall Street close on modest jobs data.

The Australian stockmarket opened lower following falls on international markets after China lowers its growth expectations and United States data show only modest jobs growth.

At the 10:15am (AEDT) official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.38% to 5,425.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 0.35% to 5,438.3 points.

China premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday said the government was targeting 7.5 growth in 2014, unchanged from last year's forecast.

The figure is below the 7.7 per cent recorded in 2013 and 2012, also the lowest growth rate since 1999.

Payrolls firm ADP said US businesses added just 139,000 jobs in February, well below the monthly average of 186,000 over the last year and below the 150,000 expected by analysts.

In local economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release January retail trade figures and international trade in goods and services data for the same month.

No major equities news is expected.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday rallied to a five-and-a-half-year high on renewed hopes of peace in Ukraine and continued, if somewhat reduced, Chinese growth.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 46 points, or 0.85%, to 5,446.2 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 45.6 points, or 0.84%, to 5,457.3 points.

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