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Stocks close in positive territory as strong showing from banks outperforms mining weakness

The Australian share market has ended just above the flatline as a strong showing from the big banks overmatched weakness among the big names in the mining space.

The miners were hurt by sliding iron ore prices, with the commodity’s value back below $US80 (£64.02) a tonne for the first time since January 9. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index edged up 7.8 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 5,872.7, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 5.9 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 5,909.7.

The positive finish belied a few gyrations through the session as traders digested weaker-than-expected retail sales numbers.

“It looked as if we could see a retest of the 5,900 level this morning, but the market was not able to shrug off the soft offshore leads,” Gary Huxtable, client adviser at Atlantic Pacific Securities, said.

“The poor retail sales figures did not help either.”

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