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Market ends week on a high note

THE local sharemarket gained almost 2 per cent yesterday as investors remained optimistic that European leaders were approaching a resolution of the region's debtcrisis.

THE local sharemarket gained almost 2 per cent yesterday as investors remained optimistic that European leaders were approaching a resolution of the region's debtcrisis.

The bourse opened sharply higher after strong leads from US and European markets.

CommSec analysts Steven Daghlian said investors were again focusing on the European debt crisis, with confidence kept afloat by comments from French and German leaders this week that they were determined to keep debt-ridden Greece in the eurozone.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 77.7 points, or 1.9 per cent, higher at 4,149.4, while the broader All Ordinaries index gained 76.7 points, also 1.9 per cent higher, to 4,229.9.

Among the miners, BHP Billiton rose 60?, or 1.6 per cent, to $38.23, while fellow miner Rio Tinto gained $1.89, or 2.7 per cent, to $71.27.

Energy stocks were the strongest performers, with the sector gaining 2.9 per cent after oil prices soared on offshore markets.

Woodside Petroleum gained $1.04, or 3.1 per cent, to $34.25, Oil Search rose 15? to $6.10 and Santos was up 24? at $11.45.

The best performing stock among the top 100 companies was property company Goodman Group, which closed up 7.5 per cent at 64.5?.

Toll road operator ConnectEast Group was the worst performer, falling nearly 4 per cent to 49?.

Turnover was 2.32 billion shares changing hands for $5.15 billion, with about eight out of 10 stocks rising.

The spot price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1769.94 per ounce, down $US40.59, after gold fell 2 per cent to three-week lows on overseas markets on Thursday.

Shares in gold miner Newcrest were steady at $38.11.


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