Aust stocks set to open lower

Local market expected to start weaker as Wall St closes mixed on Fed minutes.

The Australian stock market looks set to open lower after mixed results on Wall Street following the release of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting minutes that signalled the central bank aims to unwind its stimulus measures earlier than thought.

At 0645 AEST, the September share price index futures contract was down 12 points at 4,856.

The US central bank's June 18 and 19 Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed "about half" of the participants thought the $US85 billion a month bond buying program should be wound up by the end of this year.

US Fed chairman Ben Bernanke signalled last month that quantitative easing (QE) could end by mid-2014, depending on economic circumstances, which caused a plunge in the Australian dollar.

In local economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release labour force data for June.

The NAB June quarter Australian residential property survey is also due out.

In equities news, Arrium mining and minerals chief executive Andrew Roberts is scheduled to speak at a Melbourne Mining Club lunch while CSR has its annual general meeting scheduled.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday closed higher despite slipping in afternoon trade due to concerns about an economic slowdown in China.

Data from the world's second largest economy showed exports unexpectedly fell 3.1% in June, and imports fell 0.7%.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.7 points, or 0.40%, at 4,901.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.9 points, or 0.39%, to 4,885.4 points.

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