Aust share market closes higher

The Australian share market closed slightly higher Friday, buoyed by gains in mining and energy stocks as commodity and oil prices continue to climb.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished the week up 0.29 per cent to 5,183.1 points, supported by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Woodside Petroleum.

But losses in Telstra, CSL and Macquarie Group took away some of the market's early morning strong gains.

The mining sector outperformed the broader market, together with the energy sector, CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said.

Oil prices rose around 4.5 per cent overnight, while iron ore gained five per cent and gold gained around three per cent, he noted.

"One reason perhaps why commodity prices are on the way up is that the US dollar has remained quite weak, and the Aussie dollar is continuing to rise," he said.

There were signs from the US central bank on Thursday that interest rates will be lower for a longer period of time, and that they'll be slower in the way they lift interest rates in 2016.

That makes commodities more attractive, and pushes prices higher, Mr Daghlian said.

BHP Billiton jumped 81 cents to $18.10, Rio Tinto gained 42 cents to $44.15 and Fortescue rose 10 cents to $2.75.

Woodside Petroleum closed 45 cents higher at $27.07 and Santos added seven cents to $4.06.

Three of the nation's four biggest banks finished in positive territory, with the Commonwealth Bank up 78 cents to $78.16.

ANZ rose 19 cents to $26.05, National Australia Bank gained 17 cents to $28.36 but Westpac fell one cent to $32.68.

Retail group Premier Investments gained 60 cents to $15.31 after posting a strong jump in interim profit, thanks to its Smiggle and Peter Alexander store chains.

Bucking the trend was Telstra, which fell four cents to $5.22 after the telco suffered a third network problem in less than two months.

Biotechnology group CSL and investment bank Macquarie Group also lost ground, closing down $1.75 to $100.10 and $1.61 to $68.29, respectively.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 14.9 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 5,183.1 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 12.9 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 5,239.3 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down 6 points at 5,164 points, with 34,196 contracts traded.

* The price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,262.70 per fine ounce, up $US4.42 on Thursday's price of $US1,258.28.

* National turnover was 3.1 billion securities traded, worth $8.06 billion.

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