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ASX may open marginally weaker
ASX may open marginally weaker

UPDATE 7.20am: The Australian sharemarket has opened mixed, with Westpac among the big early movers after reporting a fall in full year net profit.

At 7.25am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 4454.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen seven points, or 0.16 per cent, at 4476.3 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was two points lower at 4443 points, with 8656 contracts traded.

Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith said there would not be much life in the market over the coming days, ahead of the US elections and a Melbourne Cup day interest rate decision from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

“We will be quiet until we can get through probably tomorrow and Wednesday,” Mr Smith said.

Making news, Westpac said net profit for the 12 months to September 30, 2012, came in at $5.97 billion, down 15 per cent from the prior corresponding period, because of the tax implications of its takeover of smaller rival St George.

Cash earnings - banks' preferred measure of financial performance - rose 5 per cent to $6.6 billion, Westpac said, which was above market expectations.

Westpac shares rose one per cent just after the market opened and by 7.25am was 15 cents, or 0.6 per cent, higher at $25.18.

“The commentary early from the analysts is positive,” Mr Smith said.

The other big retail banks were lower.

While ANZ was down 21 cents at $24.94 and CBA had fallen nine cents to $57.28, NAB was down six cents at $24.81.

Wall Street finished weaker, after initial enthusiasm from a better-than-expected US jobs report faded as market players looked ahead to the upcoming US elections.

The Dow fell 1.05 per cent, the S&P500 eased 0.94 per cent and the NASDAQ ended down 1.26 per cent.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1678.80 per fine ounce, down $US29.35 from Friday's local close of $US1708.15 per ounce.

National turnover was 274.9 million securities worth $375.9 million, with 237 stocks up, 354 down and 253 unchanged.