Aust stocks close slightly higher

By a staff reporter

The Australian market closed the week slightly stronger after Wall Street retreated from its recent rally in overnight trade.

At the 1615 AEST official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.29 per cent to 5,180.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index also rose 0.3 per cent to 5,159.8 points.

Resources supported the market, with the two major miners reversing yesterday's losses. 

BHP Billiton added 1.93 per cent to $34.41, while Rio Tinto rose 1.12 per cent to $55.29.

Fortescue Metals expanded 1.74 per cent $3.51.

Whitehaven Coal added 4.42 per cent to $2.36.

In crude stocks, Woodside increased 1.56 per cent to $38.29.

Oil Search put on 3.9 per cent to $8.00, and Santos climbed 1.57 per cent to $12.93. 

Newcrest Mining retreated 2.26 per cent to $14.68.

Financial stocks were higher, with three of the big four banks in the black.

Commonwealth Bank edged 0.52 per cent higher to $73.21, while ANZ Banking Group put on 1.34 per cent to $30.26.

National Australia Bank inched up 0.12 per cent $33.11 and Westpac Banking Corporation decreased 0.16 per cent to $31.35.

Investment bank Macquarie Group declined 0.74 per cent to $44.55.

In the insurance sector, QBE inclined 1.46 per cent to $15.27.

Insurance Australia Group fell 1.57 per cent to $5.64, while Suncorp added 0.32 per cent to $12.37.  

Retail stocks were lower.

Wesfarmers shed 2.87 per cent to $42.93 while Woolworths slipped 0.89 per cent to $34.40.

Myer declined 0.74 per cent to $2.67 while David Jones fell 1.08 per cent to $2.76.

Harvey Norman fell 0.36 per cent to $2.73, and JB Hi-Fi retreated 2.85 per cent to $16.36.

The media sector was lower. 

Fairfax Media increased 3.23 per cent to 64 cents, while rival News Corp inclined 0.89 per cent to $34.00.

Ten Network fell 1.69 per cent to 29 cents.

Southern Cross Media lost 1.67 per cent to $1.485, while Seven West added 3.06 per cent to $2.36.

Blue chip Qantas tumbled 1.2 per cent to $1.645, Telstra grew 0.2 per cent to $5.08.

In Australia, the market closed the previous session lower as weaker commodity prices weighed on the nation's biggest mining stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 26.00 points, or 0.50 per cent, at 5,165.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 29.1 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 5,144.2 points.