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Aust stocks close flat with lack of leads

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PERTH, Nov 23 AAP

November 23 2012, 4:39PM

Australian stocks finished flat due to a lack of local and offshore leads.

At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.1 points lower at 4,413.0, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 0.9 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 4,431.5.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was two points lower at 4,421, with 11,650 contracts traded.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said trading on Friday had been "a bit of a yawn".

"There's a lack of leads," Mr McCarthy said.

"The US has essentially been closed since Wednesday and the market's major concern at the moment is those negotiations for a (fiscal) agreement between the Democrats and Republicans.

"The dominant factor in the market is some profit taking."

Wall Street was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday while European stock markets and the euro rose as traders welcomed strong Chinese manufacturing data and an Israel-Gaza truce, while a Greek bailout deal was put on hold ahead of a European Union summit.

Among the major market sectors, energy stocks were lower.

Santos shares fell 11 cents, or one per cent, to $10.94, while Woodside rose 10 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $33.64.

Beach Energy shares fell 3.5 cents to $1.40 after the oil and gas producer said its Cooper Basin operations are going well as it boosts staffing levels and ramps up its $400 million growth phase.

Making news on Friday, outgoing David Jones chairman Bob Savage said recent interest rate cuts were yet to work their magic on consumers and get them spending again.

David Jones was down one cent at $2.43.

National turnover was 1.2 billion securities worth $2.2 billion, with 460 stocks up, 435 down and 383 unchanged.