RTTNews - The Australian market ended in positive territory on Friday, but well-off the highs as traders preferred to lock gains following recent rally that saw the indices touch a new 10-month high in the previous session.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index gained 25.10 points, or 0.57%, to close at 4,461, and the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,465, representing a gain of 28.40 points, or 0.64%.

On economic front, Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, said that it would be appropriate for the central bank board to start adjusting interest rates back towards normal levels provided the situation warrants no more exceptional monetary stimulus. The Governor, in his half-yearly testimony before the House of Representatives standing committee, said, The timing and pace of those adjustments, if and when they come, will be a matter of careful consideration, taking into account all the relevant factors, including what might be happening with market interest rates.

Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery ended at $70.88 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.36 from its previous close $70.52 a barrel in New York on Thursday.

Profit taking late in the session trimmed the gains in the market while the underlying sentiment is one of optimism driven by satisfactory earnings results from companies.

Among banks, ANZ Bank gained 2.67%, National Australia Bank rose 2.97% and Westpac Banking advanced 0.62%. However, Commonwealth Bank of Australia ended in the red with a loss of 1.07% on profit taking.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the oil stocks. While Woodside Petroleum lost 1.01% and Santos slipped 0.81%, Oil Search gained 0.90% and Origin Energy advanced 1.60%.

In mining and metals space, BHP Billiton remained unchanged from previous close, Rio Tinto advanced 2.02%, Oz Minerals gained 1.75% and Mincor Resources surged up 4.33%. However, Gindalbie Metals shed 2.22% and Alumina edged down 0.27% on profit taking.

Mixed trading was witnessed among the gold stocks. While Sino Gold managed to end in positive territory with a gain of 0.17%, Lihir Gold slipped 0.76% and Newcrest Mining lost 1.19%.

Leighton Holdings, the biggest construction company in the country, reported a 28% drop in net profit for the year ended 30th June 2009. However, it forecast that profit will rebound in the current year following signs of recovery in the construction and mining sectors. Following the positive outlook, the shares surged up 7.32%.

In the U.S., stocks ended in positive territory with modest gains on Thursday amid choppy trading and late-buying interest in stocks after weak economic data on retail sales and weekly jobless numbers raised concerns about weak economic fundamentals.

The Dow finished up by 36.58 points or 0.4% at 9,398, the Nasdaq climbed by 10.63 points or 0.5% to 2,009 and the S&P 500 rose by 6.92 points or 0.7% to 1,013.

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