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Aust stocks weaker at noon on jobless fall

Australian stocks are weaker at noon as surprise fall in the nation's jobless rate dampened hopes of another interest rate cut.

At 1200 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 10.3 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 4,510.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 10.7 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 4,517.3 points.

On the ASX24, the December share price index futures contract was nine points lower at 4,516 points, on a volume of 11,881 contracts.

The local market reached its lows after data showed the nation's unemployment rate fell to a three-month low of 5.2 per cent in November, down from 5.4 per cent in October.

Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said the lower jobless rate, against the expectation of most economists, made traders less hopeful of an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia when it meets again in February.

"I guess it hoses down expectations around further interest rate cuts so that's a negative for the Australian share market," she said.

"The labour force numbers were certainly a surprise.

"Since the numbers have come out, we've seen the market fall to the lows."

Australian shares were already weaker ahead of the release of the labour force data, as bank stocks fell.

Banking shares had led the market to a stronger finish on Wednesday following this week's RBA rate cut, but investors made profits on those gains by selling shares on Thursday.

Commonwealth Bank shed 1 per cent, or 62 cents, to hit $60.46 at noon.

Westpac had lost 14 cents to $25.44 and ANZ slipped six cents to $24.71.

NAB was the only major bank in positive territory, adding three cents to $24.34.

The big miners were stronger, with BHP up 33 cents at $34.62 and Rio Tinto 61 cents higher at $59.96.

Meanwhile, shares in troubled broadcaster Ten Network remain in a trading halt as it announced an extra $35 million in cost cuts and a $230 million capital raising venture in response to its recent poor performance.

At 1202 AEDT national turnover was 595.8 million securities worth $1.541 billion, with 340 stocks up, 372 down and 285 unchanged.