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AAP

November 30 2012, 7:14PM

By Greg Roberts

MELBOURNE, Nov 30 AAP - Australian stocks climbed on Friday, driven by the major miners on the back of strong commodity prices.

On Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 28.3 points, or 0.63 per cent, higher at 4,506.0, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.9 points, or 0.62 per cent, at 4,518.0.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 27 points higher at 4,516, with 29,888 contracts traded.

Australian and Asian markets slightly outperformed the US.

CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said that difference appeared to indicate traders were better absorbing the daily grind of positive and negative news from the US about negotiations to resolve its looming fiscal cliff.

The cliff refers to a series of tax hikes and spending cuts due to automatically come into effect from January to deal with the massive US budget deficit.

"The market has hit the end of month finish line with some gusto today," Mr Waterer told AAP.

"Rising commodity prices overnight stood the materials sector in good stead today.

"The market is learning to absorb comments by politicians, like in the US last night (Republican House speaker) John Boehner saying something negative about there being no substantive progress in talks but the market shrugged it off today."

Global miner Rio Tinto climbed $1.57, or 2.75 per cent, to $58.75.

BHP Billiton posted a more modest 18 cent rise to $34.39 and Fortescue Metals lifted five cents to $3.91.

Energy stocks also shone, with Woodside Petroleum lifting 20 cents to $33.80 and Santos improved by 21 cents to $11.14.

Grocery wholesaler Metcash said net profit for the six months to October 31, 2012, fell 13 per cent to $82 million, compared with the prior corresponding period.

Metcash was down eights cents at $3.43.

Supermarket owner Woolworths was seven cents worse off at $29.28 as more defensive stocks struggled on the local bourse.

Data on Friday showed air fares continue to be under pressure in Australia as Qantas fights for a bigger share of the domestic passenger market.

Qantas shares were 0.5 of a cent higher at $1.325 while rival Virgin Australia was up one cent at 44 cents.

National turnover was 2.6 billion securities worth $7.54 billion, with 544 stocks up, 400 down and 373 unchanged.

The price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1730.85 per fine ounce, up $US11.23 from $US1,719.62 on Thursday.