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Aust stocks slightly higher at noon

The Australian share market is marginally higher at noon but off its earlier highs as bank stocks lose momentum.

At 1205 AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 7.8 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 4,967.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had gained 8.6 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 4,988.9 points.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up nine points at 4,928 points, with 9,234 contracts traded.

The market had opened higher, led by the major banks.

But IG Markets market strategist Evan Lucas said Commonwealth Bank had since fallen back from its gain of about 0.8 per cent ahead of its first half profit announcement on Wednesday.

"The main reasons that we've seen that momentum lost is probably looking at CBA," Mr Lucas said.

"They did, obviously, open up really, really strongly this morning as they rally into their result tomorrow.

"They jumped up ... to an all-time high, and they've now dropped back almost to even."

CBA shares were up 20 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $65.32.

Westpac was up nine cents at $28.05, ANZ was down four cents at $27.73 and NAB was 22 cents lower at $28.87.

Resources stocks were also lower, after falls in commodity prices.

"Gold's off and you've seen Newcrest pull back, and Rio's also looking to its result on Thursday," Mr Lucas said.

"The market is just waiting for tomorrow and Thursday to happen, and that's what the feeling is a bit like today."

Rio Tinto was down 31 cents at $69.14 and BHP Billiton was one cent lower at $37.70.

Gold miner Newcrest was down 56 cents, or 2.3 per cent, at $23.59.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1,643.30 per fine ounce, down $US24.91 from Monday's local close of $US1,668.21 per ounce.

Making news on Tuesday, industrial equipment maker Bradken's first half profit rose by nine per cent to $46.7 million.

Its shares were up 58 cents, or 9.7 per cent, at $6.69.

Shares in Whitehaven Coal also rose after its Maules Creek mine in NSW received conditional environmental approval.

Whitehaven was up 25 cents, or 8.3 per cent, at $3.21.

National turnover at 1220 AEDT was 658.4 million securities worth $1.24 billion.