AUSTRALIAN STOCKS ARE UP: Here's What You Need To Know

Treasurer Joe Hockey in Brisbane for the G20 Leadership Summit. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The Australian market closed stronger for this first time this week after a quiet trading day.

Only 1.05 billion shares traded worth $3.1 billion, making it the quietest day of the month, according to CommSec.

The banks and miners were trading higher but energy stocks took another day of hits as investors worried about falling oil prices. Petroleum producer Senex was down more than 8% to $0.40.

Oil prices are down 30% since June and the fall is likely to push Australian bowser prices below $1.30 a litre, a saving of $8 a week to the average Australian family, according to Shane Oliver, Chief Economist at AMP Capital.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,454.30 +11.60 (+0.21%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,433.80 10.34 (+0.19%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8684 -0.0034 (-0.38%)

And the top stories on Friday:

1. Weaker commodity prices. Glencore is shutting its coal mines and forcing a three week annual leave break over Christmas for its 8,000 staff. Driving the decision is an oversupply of coal and weak commodity prices, Glencore said.

2. Ten Network. Newscorp chairman Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that Foxtel is looking at taking a stake in the free-to-air Ten Network. The troubled television group has appointed Citi as a strategic advisor after reports that it is under scrutiny by various suitors. Ten’s share prices fell more than 1% to $0.267 today but is still; about more than 25%.

3. Banking. Corporate watchdog ASIC has sent in the private group KordaMentha Forensic to investigate two of the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning arms accused of poor advice and misconduct. They want to identify high-risk advisers and affected customers. Commonwealth’s share price was up 0.66% to $81.75. The other major banks were also firmer.

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