In the retail sector, outdoor wear and camping goods retailer Kathmandu Holdings made a strong market debut, closing at $1.76, six cents above its issue price.

Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, ascended 21 cents to $27.90, and Woolworths improved four cents to $28.04.

Telco Telstra was two cents up at $3.30 and Optus-owner Singapore Telecommunications was steady at $2.28.

Among media stocks, News Corp slipped seven cents to $15.72 and its non-voting stock retreated seven cents to $13.39.

Consolidated Media hovered at $3.07 and Fairfax nudged up 0.5 cents to $1.675.

In the gold sector, Lihir was down eight cents at $3.36, Newcrest dropped $1.01 to $34.57, and Newmont fell 12 cents to $5.33.

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1631 AEDT was US$1,105.30 per fine ounce, down US$15.35 on Thursday's closing price of US$1,120.65.

Among other stocks, property company GPT Group picked up 0.5 cents to 64.5 cents as it continued its exit from offshore investments with the unwinding of $1.2 billion of excess overseas interest rate hedges.

Car retailer and automotive logistics firm Automotive Holdings Group added eight cents to $2.24 after it said the outlook for the 2010 full year was positive and that trading for the four months to the end of October had been much better than last year.

Austin Engineering was five cents higher at $2.74 after it said it saw improvements in the first half of fiscal 2010 and was confident that activity would pick up in the second half.

The top-traded stock by volume was drug delivery system developer OBJ Ltd, with 75.87 million shares worth $2.08 million changing hands. OBJ was 0.2 cents higher at 2.8 cents.

Preliminary national turnover was 2.41 billion shares worth $5.21 billion, with 476 stocks up, 583 down and 354 unchanged.

- AAP