Australia Markets open in 6 hrs 10 mins

Aust stocks higher ahead of US election

The Australian stock market finished higher as investors sat on their hands ahead of the US presidential election.

The local market experienced quiet trading conditions as the Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate on hold and punters paused to watch the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.

At the close on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 10.7 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 4,484.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 10.2 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 4,503.8.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 17 points higher at 4,475, with 18,644 contracts traded.

IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu said market players around the world had put their investment decisions on hold until the outcome of Tuesday's US Presidential election was decided.

"It's a close call and investors would rather react than try to predict any outcome from the elections which is why we're flat on the major markets," he said.

"We've seen a fairly flat session across the region."

Local investors believe they may have to wait until next year for another interest rate unless conditions deteriorate on a global scale.

Australian stocks started in the red, but improved throughout the day on the back of a gains in the financial and materials sectors.

Westpac was up 22 cents at $25.57, extending gains from Monday when the bank reported a lift in full year cash earnings.

ANZ rose nine cents to $25.25, CBA was up eight cents to $57.48 and NAB advanced 21 cents to $25.05.

Mining heavyweight Rio Tinto posted a 62 cent gain to $59.50 while rival BHP Billiton fell one cent to $34.81.

Trading volumes were low, with national turnover at one billion securities worth $2.5 billion, with 422 stocks up, 408 down and 371 unchanged.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1,685.88 per fine ounce, up $US2.18 from Monday's local close of $US1,683.70 per ounce.