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Australian shares open lower

Date: December 31 2012


Australian stocks have opened a shortened New Year's Eve session lower as local investors took their cues from a negative finish on Wall Street.

At 10.40am today, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 25.7 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 4645.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 24.8 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 4660.5 points.

On the ASX 24, the March 2013 share price index futures contract was down 21 points at 4625 points, with 5360 contracts traded.

The prospect of no deal being reached between US President Barack Obama and legislators in the US Congress over a looming budget deadline caused investors to offload stocks during Friday night's US session.

The Australian market, with a lack of local factors to offer direction, followed suit at the start of a shortened trading day.

RBS Morgans private client adviser Craig Walker said the market was down across the board at the start of trade in quiet trading conditions.

"There is no particular sector that are getting picked on more than any of the others," Mr Walker said.

"It is a short trading day, a lot of people are on holidays and are not watching the market too closely."

The Australian stock market will close at 2pm on New Year's Eve.

Wall Street closed lower - the Dow slipped 1.21 per cent, the S&P500 eased 1.1 per cent and the NASDAQ tumbled 0.86 per cent.

Making news, Fairfax Media was up 4.21 per cent, or two cents at 49.5 after it emerged advertising man John Singleton and investment banker Mark Carnegie had bought into the struggling publisher.

The pair also said they would work with major Fairfax Media shareholder Gina Rinehart on "key matters" affecting the company.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1,656.00 per fine ounce, down $US6.15 from Friday's local close of $US1,662.15 per ounce.

National turnover was 174.5 million securities worth $159.5 million, with 176 stocks trading up, 351 down and 246 unchanged.

AAP

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