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Modest gain for share market

The share market has closed only modestly higher, despite US markets hitting record levels overnight, weighed down by weakness from market heavyweights Westpac and Telstra.

A lacklustre session to end the week was linked to company earnings reports and updates, while trading volumes were anaemic, CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

"There's clearly some weight (on the market), and it appears to be result-related," Mr McCarthy said.

"The worst performing sector at the moment is telcos and that's being led lower by the pressure on Telstra.

"We're also seeing stock-specific pressure in a number of other areas - Westpac had a notable fall."

Telstra reported its financial results on Thursday, and Mr McCarthy said investors were concerned about its growth profile. Telstra shares dropped six cents to $5.45, down almost four per cent for the week.

Westpac slid 40 cents to $29.62, a day after reporting an increase in doubtful debts over the third quarter. Mr McCarthy said several analysts had expressed concerns about potential future cuts to Westpac's dividend.

Among the other banks, Commonwealth added six cents to $76.01, National Australia Bank gained 40 cents to $26.95 and ANZ was eight cents higher at $26.56.

BHP Billiton improved 43 cents to $20.68, Rio Tinto gained three cents to $49.74 and Fortescue Metals firmed seven cents to $4.59.

Building materials supplier James Hardie climbed 17 cents to $21.33 despite saying profit growth will not be as strong as the market expects in 2016/17, given uncertain conditions in its main market of the US.

KEY FACTS:

* At 1625 AEST on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 22.9 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 5,530.9 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 26.9 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,626.3 points

* The September share price index futures contract was up 23 points at 5,488 points, with 30,135 contracts traded

* National turnover was 2.03 billion securities traded, worth $5.3 billion.