Aust shares lower at noon

The Australian share market is lower despite a recovery in energy and materials stocks.

The weakness comes after the local share market on Friday posted its biggest decline in 15 months.

Australian shares have lost more than eight per cent, or more than $130 billion, in value since early September.

Bell Direct equities analyst Leanne Jones said heavy falls in the US on Friday had flowed through to the local market.

"The Australian sharemarket is still under pressure following on from the leads on overseas markets," Ms Jones said.

However, she said, energy and materials stocks were doing okay on Monday, following sharp losses last week.

"We're now seeing some buying back into that space."

The iron ore price is now back above $US80 a tonne, providing a boost to Australian producers.

Fortescue Metals Group was one of the better performers, adding 16 cents, or 4.9 per cent, to $3.42 while the big miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, were both stronger.

BHP was 1.3 per cent higher at $32.73 and Rio was 1.4 per cent better off at $58.07.

Energy stocks recovered from early losses.

Woodside Petroleum was three cents higher at $38.73 cents while Santos had put on three cents to $12.62.

But Wesfarmers had dropped 76 cents to $40.07 and Woolworths was 18 cents lower at $33.55.

Among the banks, Commonwealth Bank had dipped 66 cents to $74.14, ANZ had lost 20 cents to $31.02, Westpac had shed 26 cents to $31.99 and NAB was four cents weaker at $31.88.


* At 1210 AEDT on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 27.2 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 5,161.1.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 26.2 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,159.5.

* The December share price index futures contract was 16 points lower at 5,142, with 14,162 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 622 million securities worth $1.6 billion.

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