Australia Markets closed

Aust shares falls at noon

The Australian market was down at noon as investors wait for the release of Chinese trade data.

At 1250 AEDT on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 16 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 4,707 and the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 14.4 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,730.8.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down 16 points at 4,676 with 15,391 contracts traded.

CBA chief economist Michael Blythe said it had been a mixed week on the Australian market as soft retail sales and job vacancies were offset by reasonable building approvals numbers.

"On the whole, the data was soft and indicative of an economy that is growing at a modest pace," he said.

The Standard & Poor's 500 hit a five-year high overnight as Wall Street rose after stronger than expected Chinese trade data boosted growth hopes for the world's second-biggest economy.

The S&P 500 closed up 11.1 points, or 0.76 per cent, at 1,472.12.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.71 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 13,471.22 and the Nasdaq composite added 15.95 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 3,121.76.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies posted a narrow gain of 0.05 per cent to 6,101.51 points.

The mining giants continued to fall at noon.

BHP Billiton plummeted 69 cents to $36.72, Fortescue fell 13 cents to $4.72 and Rio Tinto tumbled $1.235 to $65.865.

The four major banks were mixed.

ANZ gained seven cents to $25.22, National Australia Bank jumped 10 cents to $25.53 and Westpac added one cent $26.61.

However, Commonwealth Bank dived 15 cents to $61.46.

National turnover was 789 million shares worth $1.3 billion, with 376 stocks up, 365 down and 359 unchanged.