Market slightly lower mid-session
Market slightly lower mid-session

The Australian sharemarket is trading slightly lower following negative leads from markets in Europe and the United States.

At 9am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 13.2 points, or 0.3 per cent, lower at 4336.0 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had dipped 13.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4357.5 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was down four points at 4347 points, with 13,740 contracts traded.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said that although the Australian market was lower, its performance so far on Friday was not bad.

"One of the factors might be the strong performance yesterday (of the market) in Japan. Japan is still an important trading partner for Australia," Mr McCarthy said.

"Other than that, it's very hard to point to positives for this market.

"US markets weren't down hard, but they were down; Europe was down; and commodities fell overnight as well."

Mr McCarthy said yesterday's local fall may not be as bad as was expected because the market had already fallen significantly over the week.

At 9.05am, ANZ had shed 27 cents to $23.78, Westpac had dumped 33 cents at $24.31, Commonwealth Bank had reversed 43 cents to $58.26, but National Australia Bank had added 13 cents at $23.36.

In the resources sector, mining giant BHP Billiton had lost 16 cents to $32.96, and Rio Tinto had sagged four cents to $56.78.

Iluka had scraped off one cent to $7.90, following downgrades by brokers this week, including Macquarie moving it to underperform from neutral.

Among other stocks, clothing and camping equipment retailer Kathmandu had risen 11 cents to $1.46 after it posted a 19.5 per cent boost in sales for the last 15 weeks.

Industrial property owner Goodman Group had slipped 2.5 cents to $4.465 after it maintained its full-year earnings forecast and continued to expand globally.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28.49 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 12,542.46 points, pulled down in part by Walmart's disappointing earnings.

Europe's main stock markets retreated after news that the 17-nation eurozone economy fell into recession in the third quarter as a result of the region's sovereign debt crisis.

The West Australian

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