The Australian sharemarket is trading marginally lower as disappointing trade figures pulled stocks back from a modestly positive start.
IG Markets market strategist Stan Shamu said the Australian market had opened marginally higher, but had descended after the release of balance of trade figures.
"The trade balance numbers that just came out were a massive disappointment, almost double the deficit that was expected," Mr Shamu said.
"That hasn't done much for the market at all."
Australia's trade deficit widened to $1.057 billion in January, official figures show.
Economists' forecasts had centred on a deficit of $500 million.
During the month, exports fell 1.0 per cent, while imports rose 1.0 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.
Mr Shamu said the recent rally on the Australian market had been driven by financial stocks, but they were not firing on Thursday.
He said many investors were starting to get nervous about the current level of the market.
Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX200 posted a four-and-a-half-year high at the close of trade yesterday.
Mr Shamu said the performance of Asian markets, particularly Japan, could influence how the local bourse finishes the day.
On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to a new all-time high for a second day.
On the local market, among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank was 52 cents lower at $68.79, National Australia Bank was up 15 cents at $30.98, ANZ dipped 41 cents to $28.82, and Westpac backtracked 47 cents to $31.19.
In the resources sector, BHP Billiton was 21 cents richer at $36.03, and Rio Tinto added 60 cents at $63.80.
Telco Telstra reversed 3.5 cents to $4.535 as it sought to raise one billion euros ($A1.28 billion) through a bond issue.At 9.40am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 10.5 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 5106.3 points while the All Ordinaries index was down 8.8 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5122.1 points.
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