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Aust market is flat in early trade

The Australian market is flat in early trade despite strong earnings results in the US leading to overnight gains on Wall Street.

At 1021 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 3.8 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 4,784 and the broader All Ordinaries index lost three points, or 0.06 per cent, to 4,809.1.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down three points at 4,750 with 4,930 contracts traded.

RBS Morgans Brisbane senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said the market had opened lower despite strong earnings in the US leading to gains on Wall Street.

"The Dow had a good night. It was up 67 points. But, it looks as if we're not going to follow their lead, at this point anyway," he said.

Buoyed by strong earnings results in the technology sector and progress in the Washington fiscal budget debate, US stocks closed higher Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 67.12 points (0.49 per cent) to 13,779.33, its highest level since October 2007.

Locally, the mining giants were all lower at open.

BHP Billiton fell 16 cents to $36.90, Rio Tinto plunged 68.5 cents to $65.765 and Fortescue lost three cents to $4.63.

Oz Minerals and Newcrest have released production reports while Fortescue is expected to release its second quarter report later in the day.

Posting a drop in production in the final three months of 2012, OZ Minerals said it expected copper production to fall in 2013 and gold could follow.

Oz Minerals shares were 38 cents, or 5.2 per cent, lower at $6.93.

Newcrest maintained its full-year production forecasts after its December quarter gold and copper production rose from the preceding three months.

Its shares fell 35 cents, or 1.49 per cent, to $23.30.

In local economic news on Thursday, the HIA-RP Data Residential Land Report for the September 2012 quarter is due to be released.

National turnover was 217.9 million shares worth $365.9 million, with 276 stocks up, 259 down and 229 unchanged.