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Market closes flat as caution reigns

THE share market closed flat on Friday after a day of trading within a narrow range ahead of long weekends locally and in Asia.

THE share market closed flat on Friday after a day of trading within a narrow range ahead of long weekends locally and in Asia.

The market opened up 0.1 per cent after the US market's less-than-expected response to Germany's approval to beef up Europe's rescue fund to stave off a second global recession.

RBS Morgans Reynolds Equities director Markus Mueller said the news had not done enough to boost battered investor confidence.

Shares drifted in afternoon trade and by the close, the S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.3 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 4008.6, while the All Ordinaries index gained 2.2 points to 4070.1.

Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee called it a "lacklustre session", with investors treading water in the absence of any new data ahead of a public holiday in NSW, China and South Korea on Monday.

Telecom stocks, which Ms Lee said were the strongest of the last quarter, closed 0.39 per cent higher, with Telstra up 1? at $3.10.

Materials, which were the worst performers in the same period, ended 0.04 per cent down, with mining giant Rio Tinto 65? to $61.80. Fellow miner BHP Billiton also fell 2? to $35.02.

Energy stocks rose 1.2 per cent after world oil prices picked up on the back of renewed sentiment after the German vote. Woodside Petroleum rose 34? to $32.48 and Santos added 10? to $11.37.

Building materials firm Boral gained the most ground of the top 100 companies on the ASX, closing 4.8 per cent, or 16?, higher at $3.50.

Qantas lost 1? to $1.41 after ground staff voted to continue fighting for better pay, with one-hour strikes possibly being increased to 24 hours.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1625.4 per fine ounce, up $US0.41 from Thursday's close of $US1624.99.


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