Markets see modest gains on back of energy, bank stocks

The share market has staged a late recovery to close with modest gains, powered by a rally for energy shares and some healthy gains for bank stocks.

The All Ordinaries Index added 0.25 per cent to close at 5,300 and the ASX 200 rose by 15 points to finish on 5,264.

Energy stocks drove the gains after the struggling oil and gas company Santos revealed it had rejected a $7 billion takeover offer at $6.88 a share.

Santos said it received the highly conditional offers from an investment company called Scepter Partners, which reportedly manages assets for royals in Brunei and Gulf states.

Santos has struggled with big debts and falling energy prices.

It closed up 16.2 per cent at $6.32.

Elsewhere in the sector Origin Energy gained 5.7 per cent to $5.92 and Woodside added 0.8 per cent to $30.95.

The big banks all closed higher after Australia's biggest bank announced it would become the second major lender to lift its home loan interest rates independently of the Reserve Bank.

The Commonwealth will raise its standard variable interest rates by 15 basis points for both owner-occupier and investment home loans.

Commonwealth Bank shares closed 0.8 per cent higher at $76.39.

ANZ was the weakest of the big banks with a gain of 0.1 per cent to $28.60.

In media stocks, the Ten Network closed unchanged at 19 cents on the day ACCC said it would let pay TV operator Foxtel buy a 15 per cent stake in the free-to-air TV broadcaster.

Ten said the deal would help it reduce debt.

The ACCC said while the deal would increase the amount of influence Foxtel has over Ten, it is unlikely to substantially reduce competition.

The deal must still clear further hurdles, including approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

Rival Nine Entertainment shed 4.4 per cent to $1.52 and Seven West Media dropped 7.6 per cent to 67 cents.

In currencies, the dollar has dropped since the Commonwealth Bank announced it would raise its interest rates. At 5:00pm AEDT, it was buying just under 72 US cents.

Spot gold is fetching $US1,166 an ounce.

West Texas crude oil is buying $US45.17 a barrel and in Singapore, Tapis crude is trading at $US48.69 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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