Aust stocks open lower

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower after a flat performance on Wall Street, on the day Qantas announces it will axe 5,000 jobs.

IG Markets strategist Chris Weston said the drop had been anticipated, with investors still worried about China's volatile currency markets and the struggling iron ore price, which slipped a further 1.3 per cent overnight.

"We failed to close above last October's high earlier in the week, and that failed break has really been noted by traders," he said.

"That's never a good sign."

Shares in Qantas Airways were down eight cents, or 5.91 per cent, at $1.20 after it announced it would axe 5,000 jobs.

The financially troubled airline also posted an underlying first half loss before tax of $252 million.

But, the heavyweight mining and banking sectors were the biggest drag on a generally weak market.

BHP Billiton dropped 13 cents to $38.45, Rio Tinto lost 24 cents at $66.73 and Fortescue Metals shed 11 cents to $5.58.

Among the banks, NAB slid 25 cents to $34.62, Westpac lost 10 cents to $33.47, ANZ was nine cents lower at $32.00 and Commonwealth Bank was down 21 cents at $75.28.

Nine Entertainment Co shares were down 0.5 cents, or 0.22 per cent, at $2.28 after it said its first half revenue was up 22 per cent to $802.7 million.

It is the company's first result since relisting on the stock exchange in December.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.12 per cent while the broad-based S&P 500 finished flat.


* At 1048 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 21.1 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 5,415.9.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 20.4 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 5,426.6.

* The March share price index futures contract was 35 points lower at 5,402, with 9,983 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 420.7 million securities worth $638.2 million.

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