Local stocks higher at noon

Investors trimmed early gains heading towards noon

The Australian stock market has pared early gains in midday trade despite an uptick in retail sales and capital city house prices.

At 1205 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.12 per cent higher at 5,417.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 0.1 per cent higher at 5,411.7 points.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed retail sales rose more than expected September and house price indexes for the September quarter also rose.

The ANZ job advertisements series showed job ads were stable in October, while the TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge showed inflation rose 0.1 per cent in October.

Financials were mixed.

ANZ lifted 0.28 per cent to $33.815, while Commonwealth Bank put on 0.61 per cent to $76.26.

National Australia Bank added 0.14 per cent to $35.68, and Westpac lost 0.17 per cent to $34.52, despite lifting its full-year cash profit to a record $7.1 billion.

Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 1.88 per cent to $54.10.

In insurance, IAG reversed earlier gains to be 0.57 per cent lower at $6.095.

Suncorp added 0.15 per cent to $13.33, and QBE put on 0.62 per cent at $14.64.Materials were mostly stronger, with the major miners in the black.

BHP Billiton edged up 0.13 per cent to $37.58, while rival Rio Tinto increased 0.72 per cent to $64.00.

Fortescue Metals rallied 2.81 per cent to $5.305, while Newcrest lifted 0.2 per cent to $9.96.

Whitehaven Coal fell 2.18 per cent to $1.57 after flagging more cost-cutting measures at its annual general meeting.

Oil Search added 0.35 per cent to $8.56, Santos was flat at $15.21 and Woodside Petroleum gained 0.18 per cent to $38.92.

The retail sector continued earlier gains after the ABS released its retail sales data.

Wesfarmers added 0.21 per cent to $43.04, while rival Woolworths lost 0.72 per cent to $34.62.

Myer added 2.4 per cent to $2.56 and rival David Jones rallied 4.14 per cent to $3.02.

Harvey Norman increased 1.39 per cent to $3.275, while JB Hi-Fi rallied 1.74 per cent to $21.59. 

Media stocks were mostly higher.

Fairfax Media rose 0.83 per cent to 60.5 cents, 21st Century Fox added 1.09 per cent to $36.30 and News Corp increased 1.57 per cent to $19.085.

Ten Network added 1.72 per cent to 29.5 cents and Seven West gained 1.22 per cent to $2.49, while Southern Cross Media slipped  0.28 per cent to $1.765.

Blue chip Qantas fell 0.2 per cent to $1.2375, while Telstra lost 0.1 per cent to $5.155.