UPDATE 7.20am: Australian stocks have opened flat in quiet trade as market players await a Melbourne Cup day interest rate decision from the central bank.
At 7.27am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 2.7 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 4,471.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 3.2 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 4,490.4 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was one point higher at 4,459 points, with 6,759 contracts traded.
Trading volumes were low at the open, with national turnover at 192.7 million securities worth $350.2 million, as most of the nation turned their attention to activities at Melbourne's Flemington racecourse.
“The volumes recently have been pretty modest anyway so I suspect that today they are going to be super modest,” RBS Morgans equities director Bill Chatterton said.
“I don't think there is going to be a whole lot happening, it is going to be focused on horses running the track and people having a bit of fun.”
For investors keeping an eye on the market rather than the big race, it was the Reserve Bank of Australia monthly board meeting that was the focus of their attention.
Some 12 of the 15 economists surveyed by AAP said they expected the central bank to cut the cash rate by 25 basis points to three per cent.
A statement from the RBA board on interest rates was due at 11.30am.
Mr Chatterton said he expected the RBA to cut rates, given some concerns about a slowing economy and easing worries on inflation.
Wall Street finished higher.
The Dow gained 0.15 per cent, the S&P500 advanced 0.22 per cent and the NASDAQ ended up 0.59 per cent.
The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1686.10 per fine ounce, up $US6.72 from yesterday's local close of $US1679.38 per ounce.There were 243 stocks trading up, 253 down and 257 unchanged at 7.27am.