Banks and energy drive local share market rise on last full day of trading for 2015

Another solid rise has taken the local stock market to within a whisker of breaking even for the year.

In the last full day of trading for 2015, the ASX 200 clocked up a 1 per cent rise to finish the day at 5,319.94 while the broader market All Ordinaries Index added a similar amount to close the day at 5,366.45.

Similar gains on Wall Street overnight, which finally pushed the New York market into the black for the year, provided the impetus for another solid run on the local market, although both local trading and offshore has been exceptionally light due to the holiday season.

Today's positive finish was the ninth in succession, marking one of the best performances all year, and helped erase the plunge from earlier this month.

With just a half day session to go for 2015, the stock market remains just 1.67 per cent down for the year, after piling on more than 8 per cent in the past fortnight.

Major banks, energy and retail shares fuelled the rise today while mining stocks continued to remain in the doldrums.

A jump in oil prices overnight boosted energy stocks despite only partially recovering the previous night's losses.

Speculation that the northern winter may be colder than previously anticipated helped the gains.

Among the majors, Woodside jumped 1.69 per cent to $28.89 while Origin advanced 1.29 per cent to $4.72.

Junior energy stocks were among the best performers, with Karoon Gas up 6.2 per cent to $1.79.5 and Beach Energy rising almost 4.2 per cent to 50c.

Australian dollar continues to defy commodity price weakness

The major banks also drove the broader market higher, with Westpac notching up the strongest gains with a 2.06 per cent rise to $33.70 and the others all rising between 1 and 2 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank finished at $85.57, ANZ at $27.96, NAB at $30.33 and Macquarie at $82.97. Telstra also enjoyed a decent hike with a 1.45 per cent rise to $4.61.

The miners, however, continued to weigh on sentiment despite the recent bounce in iron ore prices.

BHP ended the day 0.11 per cent lower at $18.09 while Rio ended barely changed at $44.78.

Retailers Wesfarmers and Woolworths both lifted around 0.5 per cent with Woolworths ending the day at $25.02 and Wesfarmers at $41.97.

The Australian dollar continued to defy commodity price weakness, rising against most major currencies and finishing at 72.91 US cents at 6:00pm (AEDT).

It rose to 87.78 against the yen, 66.68 Euro cents, 49.14 English pence and $1.06 against the New Zealand dollar.

On commodity markets, gold rose marginally to $US1070.77, while oil prices eased during the local session with tapis down 7 cents to $US36.47.

Source: ABC News

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