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Market set to bounce at open
Market set to bounce at open

UPDATE 8am: The Australian sharemarket was flat in early trade in the absence of any clear offshore leads.

At 7.40am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.7 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 4374.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 8.5 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 4395.7.

The market has closed lower for the last four sessions, its longest losing streak in about four months.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was down six points at 4383, with 11,833 contracts traded.

Stocks on Wall Street fell overnight after news that manufacturing contracted for the first time in almost three years, raising concerns the United States has joined a global industrial slowdown.

However, European stocks, including indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt rebounded as the threat of an immediate Greek default receded.

Commsec market analyst Steven Daghlian said local rather than offshore factors might change the direction of the Australian market.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics wage price index for the September quarter will be released along with the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment.

“If wages come in significantly higher than what was expected, that could suggest inflationary pressures and affect the likelihood of an interest rate cut,” Mr Daghlian told AAP.

“We have had about a four per cent rise in wages in the last 12 months.”

Among the major banks, ANZ had lifted six cents at $24.11, National Australia Bank had climbed 17 cents to $23.28, Westpac had dumped eight cents to $24.72, while the Commonwealth Bank had increased 23 cents to $58.93.

Among resource stocks, BHP Billiton was 10.5 cents higher at $33.85.

It revealed overnight it had sold its Ekati diamond business to Canada's Harry Winston Diamond for $US500 million ($A481.58 million).

Rio Tinto gained 57 cents to $58.24 while iron ore miner Fortescue Metals was three cents better at $4 ahead of its annual general meeting in Perth.

Also holding AGMs today are diversified group Wesfarmers, which was six cents better at $33.81 and travel group Webjet, which had plunged 37 cents, or nearly nine per cent, to be $3.76.