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Australian stocks open lower, S&P 200 tumbles 2pts

Australian stocks open lower, S&P 200 tumbles 2pts

SYDNEY: The Australian stocks opened little changed after Wall Street gained on news eurozone ministers agreed to extend Greece’s bailout by four months.

At the 10.15am (AEDT) official market open, the benchmark S & P/ASX200 index was down 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,879.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 0.5 of a point, or 0.01 per cent, at 5,845.1.

CMC chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the potential for a temporary agreement on funding Greece’s debt would likely underpin the local market in early trade.

“The extent of investor enthusiasm towards the news on Greek debt may be limited by its temporary nature and ongoing uncertainty,” he said.

Mr Spooner said this could be offset by the resources sector, given commodity markets generally closed last week on a soft note.

“Traders will be waiting on the conclusion of the New Year for more direction from the crucial Chinese market,” he said.

Materials weighed most heavily on the market, giving up 0.61 per cent as a sector.

BHP Billiton retreated 0.8 per cent to $32.04, while rival Rio Tinto rose 0.14 per cent to $63.84.

BlueScope slumped 9.55 per cent to $5.02, after lifting first-half profit and flagging a stronger full year result.

Boart Longyear added 3.75 per cent to 20.75c after narrowing its first-half loss.

Consumer staples shed 0.14 per cent as a sector.

Woolworths was flat at $33.26, while Wesfarmers retreated 0.3 per cent to $46.25.

Consumer discretionaries rose 0.74 per cent as a sector.