Australia Markets closed

Aust stocks slightly lower

The Australian stock market has opened lower for the fourth straight session as concerns about political gridlock in the US hit investor sentiment across the globe.

A standoff between Republicans and Democrats in Congress has already caused the partial shutdown of the US federal government and the country is edging closer a deadline to raise its debt ceiling.

If the debt ceiling isn't increased by October 17, the US faces the possibility of defaulting on its debts.

Rivkin global analyst Tim Radford said the local market was likely to remain weak until the situation was resolved.

"In the near term these uncertainties will continue to weigh on most risk assets including the Aussie market so we will probably see some further downside during today's session," he said.

But he said losses would be limited by the expectations the two sides will eventually be able to reach an agreement.

"It's really a matter of time before the Republicans cave in and come to reach some sort of a deal on the debt ceiling, so I'd say there will be some upside in stocks in the next week."

Mr Radford said confirmation US President Barack Obama would nominate Janet Yellen to replace outgoing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke may also help stem the losses on Wednesday.

The losses were spread across the market in early trade.

Global miner BHP Billiton was 11 cents lower at $34.59, while Rio Tinto had lost 41 cents to $59.84.

Among the big four banks, ANZ was down 19 cents at $30.25 and National Australia Bank had lost nine cents to $34.10 while Westpac had gained two cents to $32.00 and Commonwealth Bank pushed 18 cents higher to $71.28.

Shares in Toll road owner Transurban were up five cents to $6.88 after the company recorded strong revenue growth for the September quarter.


* At 1025 AEDT on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 21 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 5,128.4.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was 21.2 points, or 0.41 per cent, lower at 5,126.9.

* The December share price index futures contract was down 21 points at 5,121, with 6,973 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 231 million securities worth $325 million.