Local stocks ease at close

The Australian market edged lower in late trade as some stocks went ex-dividend

The Australian stock market lost a little more ground in the day's trade after weaker than expected unemployment data and as some financial stocks traded ex-dividend.

At the official market close of 1615 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 0.22 per cent to 5422 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged down 0.2 per cent to 5415.4 points.

CMC Markets equities dealer Chay Flack said divdends from National Australia Bank Ltd, ANZ Bank Ltd and Bank of Queensland Ltd muted the leg-up that the Dow Jones had given the market overnight.

"Lunch-time unemployment figures disappointed the market but provide fuel to the possibility of a rate cut in December," Mr Flack said.

"The dividend play has been a driving factor in our market recently and turnover volumes in the banks have been high today, however once this week is over there really isn’t much to look forward to outside of a possible rate cut," he said.

In economic news on Thursday, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the Australian unemployment rate rose to 5.7 per cent in October, with the number of full-time jobs contracting.

Financials were mixed.

ANZ dropped 1.2 per cent to $32.38 after trading ex-dividend, while Commonwealth Bank put on 1.74 per cent to $79.32.

National Australia Bank fell 3.37 per cent to $34.68, also ex-dividend, and Westpac slipped 0.47 per cent to $34.23.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rallied 2.59 per cent to $54.60.

In insurance, IAG was 0.49 per cent higher at $6.20.

Suncorp gained 0.37 per cent to $13.39, and QBE lifted 0.41 per cent at $14.82.