Christmas Party Drinks. Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

Australian stocks staggered into the close on Friday, a bit like some of the folk we saw enjoying a beer in the sun this afternoon.

With Victoria enjoying a public holiday and many other Australians ducking off early before the October long weekend, it made for a quiet end to the September quarter.

First, the scoreboard:

  • ASX 200 5681.60 , 11.22 , 0.20%
  • All Ordinaries 5744.90 , 13.36 , 0.23%
  • AUD/USD 0.7841 , -0.0015 , -0.19%

Gains were led by the materials, utilities, REITs and consumer discretionary sectors, offsetting modest weakness in financials.

Here’s the sector scorecard.

  • A-REITS 0.89%
  • Consumer Discretionary 0.58%
  • Consumer Staples 0.90%
  • Energy -0.66%
  • Financials -0.08%
  • Healthcare -0.24%
  • Industrials 0.18%
  • Information Technology 0.25%
  • Materials 0.47%
  • Telecommunications 0.12%
  • Utilities 0.70%
  • All Ords Gold Index 0.14%

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto had a good session, closing up 0.78% at 1.62% respectively at $25.78 and $66.53.

Of the big 4 banks, ANZ and Westpac fell 0.5% and 0.65% while the NAB and CBA logged modest gains of 0.1% and 0.17%.

Telstra shares added 0.29% to $3.49 while Westfield Corporation jumped 1.82% to $7.84.

For the quarter, the benchmark ASX 200 finished down 0.7%, adding to the 2.45% decline of the June quarter.

The top stories for Friday.

1. Here’s Elon Musk’s better, cheaper plan for sending a million people to Mars, starting in 2022. Elon Musk plans to start colonise Mars within five years.

2. This is how RBA could signal that an interest rate hike is coming. The RBA hasn’t increased interest rates since late 2010.

3. The 8 riskiest housing markets in the world, according to UBS. Sydney makes the list.

4. Australians are willing to take on debt to buy houses but not much else. Housing debt continues to increase faster than household incomes.

5. 6 things you need to know about the Adelaide Football Club. What you need to know about the AFL minor premiers.

6. 6 things you need to know about the Richmond Football Club. And the team the Crows will be taking on in the Grand Final.

ASX 200 5-Minute Chart

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