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The week that just got better and better

THE market has posted its best week in more than a year as money flowed back into stocks on confidence European banks will be strengthened against a possible Greek default.

THE market has posted its best week in more than a year as money flowed back into stocks on confidence European banks will be strengthened against a possible Greek default.

The local market closed in the black for the third straight day after details of Europe's plans for the debt crisis were released overnight, including the European Central Bank's measures to help cash-strapped euro-zone banks.

By the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index had gained 93 points, or 2.3 per cent, to 4162.9.

The index rose 3.8 per cent in the week, the best performance since early September last year.

Macquarie Private Wealth division director Lucinda Chan said investors were hopeful a Greek default would not lead to a global recession after the Netherlands voted on Thursday to beef up Europe's rescue fund.

CMC Markets head of analysis David Land said the third day of strong buying inspired confidence, but the market was still vulnerable to changes in Europe amid highly volatile conditions.

"When you consider what the futures looked like this morning, the gain today has exceeded all expectation and sees caution being thrown to the wind," he said.

Locally, gains were broad based, with energy stocks rising 3.1 per cent after a surge in oil prices for a second straight day. Woodside Petroleum jumped 2.2 per cent, or 74?, to $35.08, while Santos finished 3.6 per cent, or 42?, higher at $12.02.

Among the miners, BHP Billiton advanced 2.5 per cent, or 90?, to $37.20, while Rio Tinto gained $3.12, or 4.9 per cent, to $66.40. Fortescue Metals gained 35?, or 7.7 per cent, to $4.90.

Financials, which led the US market higher overnight, were also strong, with all the big retail banks gaining ground. National Australia Bank closed the strongest, up 89?, or 3.9 per cent, at $23.76. Investment bank Macquarie Group did even better, rising $1.52, or 6.7 per cent, to $24.06.

Telecoms were among the only stocks to shed value. Gold closed at $US1658, up $US11.60 from Thursday's local close.


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