Aust stocks hold above 5,000

Australian shares have opened flat, as investors remain cautious a day after the market closed at its highest level since 2008.

At 1030 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 2.7 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 5,006.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 3.5 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 5,028 points.

On Wednesday, the ASX200 broke through the 5,000 point barrier to close at 5,003.7 points - the highest close since the global financial crisis.

At 1058 AEDT on Thursday on the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up nine points at 4,965 points, with 8,232 contracts traded.

CommSec analyst Juliana Roadley said several key companies were due to report later on Thursday, including Wesfarmers and Rio Tinto, and investors were remaining cautious.

"People are just waiting on those big numbers to drop, as well as the fact that there's a reaction to the CBA share price and also the CBA result yesterday," she said.

Bank stocks soared on Wednesday on the back of a better-than-expected profit by Commonwealth Bank, which posted a record cash profit of $3.78 billion for the six months to December.

On Thursday, CBA was down 23 cents to $66.88.

Westpac was up nine cents at $28.42, ANZ had shed 10 cents to $27.71 and NAB was 25 cents lower at $29.04.

"Everyone's looking internally, trying to pick where the next growth is going to be and whether our market has run up too hard ahead of itself," Ms Roadley said.

"We need to see a bit more confidence building on the back of these gains to be able to hold on to and I think that's what's really weighing on investors' minds at the moment."

Ahead of the release of its full year results, Rio Tinto was up $1.25, or 1.77 per cent, at $71.71.

BHP Billiton was up 35 cents at $38.27.

Shares in aluminum producer Alumina jumped 14 cents, or 11.67 per cent, to $1.34, after Chinese financial company CITIC paid $452 million for a major stake in the company.

Engineering firm Downer EDI posted an 11 per cent rise in first half profit, sending its shares up 71 cents, or 14.6 per cent, to $5.57.

In the retail sector, David Jones' second quarter sales, which includes the vital Christmas period, fell 1.4 per cent.

Its stocks lost three cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $2.65.

National turnover was 336.7 million securities worth $750.7 million.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9280-0.0085-0.91%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5533-0.0033-0.60%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6712-0.0072-1.07%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg