Aust stocks retreat

The domestic market backed off from five year highs after Thursday's Federal Reserve's surprise decision.

The Australian stock market tracked downwards in the day's trade to end lower as it rebounded from yesterday's five-year high, which followed the US Federal Reserve's surprise decision to maintain its stimulus program.

At the official market close of 1615 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.36 per cent to 5,276.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 0.34 per cent lower at 5,270.8 points.

However the Fed's decision to continue its bond-buying program saw the benchmark grow 1.1 per cent over the week.

IG Markets chief market strategist Chris Weston said there was no real nervousness in the lead-up to the Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

"Most people saw dovish risks and the way they came out [with the decision] has blown some people away.”

He said investors had "learnt their lesson" in the last eight months or so to not get too wound up about hype surrounding such events, with "not too much signs of stress" around fiscal issues such as the US debt ceiling.

Today the local market took its lead from Wall Street, which fell overnight ahead of the US government's vote on stop-gap measures linked to Obamacare defunding.

"Clearly the potential government shutdown is holding the bulls back despite monetary conditions positive for a further rip higher in equities," Mr Weston said.

The overnight rise in yields and the efficient re-pricing of asset classes following the Fed decision also weighed into the mix, he said.

Materials were mostly lower.

BHP Billiton fell 0.79 per cent to $36.39, while Rio Tinto was 1.13 per cent lower at $62.91.

Fortescue Metals dropped 0.44 per cent to $4.56.

Whitehaven Coal lost 1.48 per cent to $2.00 while Newcrest lifted 1.31 per cent to $13.10.

In the energy sector, Santos fell 0.27 per cent to $15.05, Oil Search slipped 0.92 per cent to $8.63 and Woodside put on 0.28 per cent to $38.92.

Financials were also generally lower, with the big four all in the red.

Commonwealth Bank edged down 0.07 per cent to $73.75, while ANZ Banking Group slipped 0.54 per cent to $31.09.

National Australia Bank reversed earlier gains, falling 0.49 per cent to $34.86 and Westpac Banking Corporation lost 0.7 per cent to $32.75.

Investment bank Macquarie Group was flat at $50.00

In the insurance sector, QBE gained 0.34 per cent to $14.75, Insurance Australia Group rose 0.69 per cent to $5.86 and Suncorp dropped 1.2 per cent to $13.22.

The retail sector was mixed.

Wesfarmers rose 0.27 per cent to $41.51, while Woolworths put on 0.72 per cent to $35.02.

Myer lifted 1.46 per cent to $2.78 and rival David Jones gained 2.11 per cent to $2.91.

Harvey Norman fell 1.51 per cent to $3.26 while JB Hi-Fi slipped 3.99 per cent to $19.75.

In media,  Fairfax Media lost 0.88 per cent to 56 cents, 21st Century Fox rose 0.72 per cent to $34.80 and News Corp fell 0.55 per cent to $18.04.

Ten Network pared earlier gains to be 1.69 per cent higher at 30 cents, while Southern Cross Media fell 2.41 per cent to $1.825 and Seven West declined 1.94 per cent to $2.53.

Blue chip Qantas was flat at $1.50 while Telstra was 0.81 per cent higher at $4.96.

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