Aust stocks weaker at noon

Local market follows Wall Street lower, lift in Aust dollar weighs on exporters.

The Australian sharemarket is weaker at noon, following Wall Street lower, while a lift in the Australian dollar is weighing on exporters.

At 12.05pm (AEDT), the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 48.7 points, or 0.91%, to 5,328.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 49.2 points, or 0.91%, to 5,338 points.

The Australian dollar jumped above US92c overnight after Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens gave an upbeat assessment of the economy at a Hong Kong conference yesterday.

Mr Stevens also avoided saying the dollar was "uncomfortably high", and the rise in the currency is weighing on export-exposed companies.

Materials were mostly lower, with the major miners falling sharply.

BHP Billiton lost 1.86% to $35.87, while rival Rio Tinto retreated 1.26% to $62.87.

Fortescue Metals retreated 1.88% to $5.23, while Newcrest shed 3.2% to $9.69.

Whitehaven Coal lost 1.88% to $1.57.

Oil Search rose 1.15% to $8.385.

Santos fell 0.3% to $13.29 and Woodside Petroleum retreated 0.23% to $38.31.

Financials were also weaker.

ANZ lost 0.29% to $32.455 and Commonwealth Bank retreated 0.27% to $76.18.

National Australia Bank gave up 0.49% to $34.88, while Westpac fell 0.58% to $34.08.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lost 1.15% to $56.78.

In insurance, QBE fell 2.01% to $12.66, while IAG retreated 1% to $5.445 and Suncorp shed 0.2% to $12.655.

The retail sector was mostly weaker.

Woolworths fell 0.83% to $35.90, while Wesfarmers lost 0.96% to $41.29.

Myer dropped 0.44% to $2.26, while rival David Jones fell 0.16% to $3.195.

Harvey Norman shed 1.98% to $3.215 while JB Hi-Fi was flat at $18.80.

In media, Fairfax Media added 2.22% to 92c and News Corp retreated 2.02% to $17.92.

21st Century Fox retreated 1.42% to $34.00.

Ten Network was flat at 26.5c, while Seven West shed 0.52% to $1.91.

Southern Cross Media was flat at $1.355.

Telstra lost 0.3% to $5.035, while Qantas rose 0.24% to $1.0575.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday rose on the back of strong consumer confidence data in the US and higher commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 40.2 points, or 0.75%, to 5,376.8 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index added 36.2 points, or 0.68%, to 5,387..2 points.

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