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Aust shares close marginally higher

Australian shares closed marginally higher on Friday to complete their biggest one-week gain since last October.

The strong weekly again, of 2.5 per cent, appeared to be making up for the heavy losses of last month, CommSec market analyst Steve Daghlian said.

The energy sector was among the strongest performers on the day, driven by investors hoping for extra dividends from a cashed-up Woodside Petroleum.

The oil and gas producer announced it had scrapped plans for its controversial onshore processing plant in Western Australia but said the Browse gas project would still go ahead.

Woodside was $1.12, or 3.2 per cent, stronger at $36.40, the best performance on the share market's top 50 companies.

Elsewhere among resource stocks, Rio Tinto shares slumped $1.13, or 1.95 per cent, to $56.90, following some strong gains earlier in the week.

Mr Daghlian said the fall was due partly to news of a pit wall slide that shut its biggest operated copper mine, Bingham Canyon in Utah, which produced 17 per cent of the US's copper and up to six per cent of Rio's expected profit this year.

Global miner BHP Billiton fell five cents to $33.35.

Calibre Group plummeted 71 cents, or 59 per cent, to 50 cents after it issued a profit warning just one month after the engineering and asset management firm affirmed guidance for a higher profit.

Among the major banks, ANZ was up two cents at $28.71, Commonwealth Bank rose one cent to $68.06, National Australia Bank climbed two cents to $31.62 and Westpac dipped one cent to $31.52.


* At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 6.4 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 5,013.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 5.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 5,016 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was five points stronger at 5,016 points, with 21,689 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 1.59 billion securities worth $4.11 billion.