Australian stocks peer over fiscal cliff

The Australian share market is struggling in early trade, with bank stocks falling on concerns about the budget stand-off in the United States.

Mining shares are also under pressure, despite strong figures on China's economy, with exports, manufacturing and retail sales all beating expectations last month.

At 12pm (AEDT) the benchmark ASX 200 index has lost 0.2 per cent, to 4,339 and the All Ordinaries Index is down 0.2 per cent to 4,361.

Of the major lenders, Westpac's seen the largest fall, down 1.3 per cent to $24.31, while NAB is the only one of the big four banks to rise, up 0.6 per cent to $23.36.

Among mining stocks, BHP Billiton is down 0.5 per cent and Rio Tinto is trading relatively flat, at $56.81.

But Fortescue Metals is down 1.5 per cent on the day its founder and chairman as unconstitutional.

Shares in Australia's biggest independent coal miner, Whitehaven Coal, are down 2.3 per cent after the company said it would cut around 10 jobs and reduce its operations in Brisbane.

The oil and gas producer, Santos is up two per cent, but Woodside Petroleum is half a per cent lower.

The Australian dollar is steady against most major currencies, buying 103.3 US cents, 80.9 euro cents, 83.9 Japanese yen, 65.1 British pence and nearly $NZ1.28.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9332-0.0001-0.01%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5551-0.0004-0.07%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6750-0.0005-0.07%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg