Aust stocks set to open higher

Local market expected to follow Wall St gains after Bernanke's testimony.

The Australian stock market looks set to open higher following gains on Wall Street after United States Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said tapering of stimulus measures was not on a "preset course".

In testimony to Congress, Dr Bernanke reiterated that the Fed would likely scale back its $US85 billion-a-month bond-buying program later this year, but only if the economy improves.

At 0645 AEST, the September share price index futures contract was up 25 points at 4,965.

In economic news, the National Australia Bank is due to release its business survey for the June quarter, while HIA-RP Data Residential Land Report for the March quarter is also due out.

In equities news, Woodside Petroleum is expected to post its second quarter report, while Duet Group and SP Ausnet have annual general meetings scheduled.

In Australia, the market yesterday closed slightly lower as investors waited for an update on economic stimulus measures in the US from that country's top central banker.

A strong production report from BHP Billiton boosted sentiment in the resources sector, but that was offset by losses in other sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 4.3 points, or 0.09%, at 4,981.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 2.1 points, or 0.04%, to 4,966.5 points.

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