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Investors lukewarm on Obama's plan

THE sharemarket finished slightly higher yesterday after shedding most of its earlier gains as traders took a wait-and-see approach to the US debt crisis.

THE sharemarket finished slightly higher yesterday after shedding most of its earlier gains as traders took a wait-and-see approach to the US debt crisis.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed up 6.7 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 4194.7. This left it down 48.2 points, or 1.1 per cent, for the week.

The market climbed 44 points in response to US President Barack Obama's highly anticipated

$US447 billion ($A421 billion) plan to Congress.

Wilson HTM's head of wealth management, Andrew Coppin, said investors were wary of whether President Obama's American Jobs Act would pass in Congress, and were awaiting Wall Street's response. The plan was presented to Congress after the close of Thursday's trading.

"Counterbalancing that, there are still significant issues about European debt. We've got a G7 [Group of Seven nations] conference in France today and tomorrow . . . So, people will be looking to see what response comes out of Europe," he said.

Wealth Within analyst Janine Cox said the market was highly reactive to news from the US.

Gold stocks made big moves, with Australia's biggest goldminer Newcrest Mining up 31? at $39.86. Perseus Mining was trading 11?, or 2.8 per cent, higher at $4, with OceanaGold Corp was up 14?, or

5.9 per cent, at $2.52.

Investors also poured money into consumer staples, with the

sector trading 0.57 per cent higher.

Goodman Fielder, owner of

grocery brands like Wonder White and Helga's bread, was the best

performer in the top 10 stocks, gaining 3.5?, or 5.6 per cent, to 66.5?.

Metcash fell 3? to $4.19 after the competition watchdog said it would appeal against a Federal Court judgment that paved the way for the

grocery wholesaler to take over the Franklins supermarket business.

Telecoms closed up 7 per cent, with Telstra shares 2? higher at $3.04.

Healthcare and energy stocks fell in afternoon trade, closing down 0.21 and 0.27 per cent respectively.

The financials finished the day 0.19 per cent higher. Westpac was up 4? at $20.13.


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