The Australian market has opened flat after Wall Street fell in response to comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that there was nothing he could do if the US fell off the 'fiscal cliff'.
At 1036 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark SP/ASX200 index was up 6.6 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 4,590.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had also added 6.6 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 4,598.4 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was flat at 4,596 points, with 9,144 contracts traded.
RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop said the Australian market was flat after receiving a weak lead from Wall Street which faltered after comments from Dr Bernanke.
Dr Bernanke said if the US economy did fall off the 'fiscal cliff' because US politicians could not reach a compromise to avert a range of tax hikes and spending cuts coming into force on January 1, then there was nothing the Fed could do.
'Wall Street didn't like Ben Bernanke's comments in America and it turned up its nose a little bit,' he said.
'There's a little bit of hesitancy in the local market now because of that.'
On Wall Street the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 2.99 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 13,245.45.
In Europe, London's FTSE 100 advanced 0.35 per cent to close at 5,945.85 points, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.33 per cent to 7,614.79 points, its highest level since January 2008.
The mining giants all opened lower.
BHP Billiton dropped three cents to $35.73, Rio Tinto fell 29 cents to $61.91 and Fortescue lost 4.5 cents to $4.235.
In local economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases new motor vehicle sales for November.
In company news, Westpac Banking Corporation is currently holding its annual general meetings.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority said it would also investigate Southern Cross Media's prank phone call which led to the suicide of a British nurse.
Shares in Southern Cross Media fell 0.5 cents , or 0.47 per cent, to $1.05 after the announcement.
National turnover was 282 million securities worth $421.6 billion, with 285 stocks trading up, 257 down and 259 unchanged.