Australia Markets closed

Aust stocks lower at noon

The Australian share market is lower at noon as wary investors sit on the sidelines amid oil price weakness.

Wall Street stocks ended lower on renewed anxiety over falling oil prices and the rising US dollar.

CMC Markets analyst Michael McCarthy said local energy stocks had taken a beating following oil price falls on Friday.

"Selling is fairly well contained," he said.

"A lot of the pressure from the negative leads is falling on areas where we saw selling in The States on Friday, in particular energy."

He said volumes were lower at noon.

Investors are also waiting for this week's US Federal Reserve meeting.

Woodside Petroleum lost 72 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $34.03 following another slide in oil prices, while Santos lost 16 cents to $6.95 and Oil Search dropped 29 cents to $7.59.

Woodside also announced a shut-in of production at its Pluto LNG plant after problems with a submersible drilling rig.

BHP Billiton lost 31 cents to $29.46, Rio Tinto fell 11 cents to $57.41 and iron or miner Fortescue Metals was 2.5 cents higher at $2.05.

Among the big four banks, the Commonwealth was down 11 cents at $91.45, Westpac was four cents lower at $37.77, ANZ was flat at $35.43 but National Australia Bank was 16 cents stronger at $37.90.


* At 1210 AEDT on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 25 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5,790.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 25 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5,763.

* The March share price index futures contract was down 21 points at 5,791 with 36,500 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 681 million securities worth $1.4 billion.