Local stocks open higher

The local market opened higher after a stronger performance on Wall Street.

The Australian stock market opened modestly higher after Wall Street finished mostly stronger and the S&P 500 hit a record high on news of a deal to end the political impasse in Washington.

At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index 0.39 per cent higher at 5,303.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index increased 0.39 per cent to 5,302.5 points.

United States investors have powered the S&P 500 to an all-time high, one day after Washington politicians reached a deal to reopen the government and avert a feared debt default.

The S&P 500, the broadest of the major measures of US markets, closed at 1,733.15 on Thursday, up 0.67 per cent for the day and more than seven points above the previous record closing high of 1,725.52, reached on September 18.

Locally, resources stocks were mostly higher, with the major miners creeping into the black.

BHP Billiton added 0.14 per cent to $35.85, while rival Rio Tinto inched up 0.05 per cent to $63.74.

Fortescue Metals rose 0.48 per cent to $5.265, while Newcrest surged 3.85 per cent to $10.53.

Whitehaven Coal lifted 1.15 per cent to $1.76.

Oil Search added 0.57 per cent to $8.75, Santos rose 0.4 per cent to $14.95 and Woodside Petroleum lifted 0.92 per cent to $38.35.

The financial sector was largely stronger, with the big four all in the black.

ANZ added 0.13 per cent to $31.73, while Commonwealth Bank increased 0.29 per cent to $73.64.

National Australia Bank lifted 0.59 per cent to $35.85, and Westpac rose 0.42 per cent to $33.76.

Macquarie Group fell 0.13 per cent to $49.375

In insurance, IAG retreated 0.68 per cent to $5.81, Suncorp added 0.39 per cent to $12.97, and QBE fell 0.88 per cent to $14.65.

Retail stocks were

In economic news on Friday, Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens is scheduled to speak at an Australian British Chamber of Commerce business lunch in Sydney while the RBA's head of financial stability department, Luci Ellis, is slated to speak at Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality Conference 2013, also in Sydney.

In equities news, Santos is slated to provide a third quarter activities report, while Sydney Airport is due to post its September traffic report.

Meanwhile, Qantas Airways has its annual general meeting.

In Australia, the market on Thursday lifted after US politicians voted to raise the debt ceiling of the world's biggest economy and reopen the government.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 20.2 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5,283.1.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 17.5 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 5,281.9.


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