Bourse set to open slightly weaker
Bourse set to open slightly weaker

UPDATE 7.55am: Australian stocks have opened flat, with local market players looking past a weak lead from Wall Street.

At 7.24am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.5 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 4507.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen two points, or 0.04 per cent, to 4532.6 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was eight points higher at 4500 points, on volume of 7207 contracts.

The positive start on the local market came despite Wall Street closing lower amid some weak US corporate earnings results and soft commodities prices.

Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith said the expiry of exchange traded equity options on the Australian Securities Exchange later today had offered the market some support at the start of trade.

“Options expiry day tends to steady the market,” Mr Smith said.

The telecoms sector was the best-performing sector at the open, having risen 0.87 per cent, according to IRESS data.

Telstra was up three cents at $4.06.

Making news, ANZ said net profit for fiscal 2012 rose six per cent to $5.66 billion.

The bank was down 35 cents, or 1.37 per cent, at $25.25.

Mr Smith said the share price decline could reflect some concerns among market analysts about whether ANZ would be able to sustain the revenue performance of its offshore ventures.

The other big retail banks were mixed - CBA was steady $57.08, NAB was up nine cents at $25.99 and Westpac was steady at $25.27.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1705.10 per fine ounce, down $US1.76 from yesterday's local close of $US1706.86 per ounce.

Wall Street closed lower - the Dow fell 0.19 per cent, the S&P500 slid 0.31 per cent and the NASDAQ declined 0.29 per cent.

National turnover was 270.2 million securities worth $418.5 million, with 319 stocks up, 219 down and 231 unchanged.

The West Australian

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