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A man watches the screen at the ASX in Sydney. Picture: AP.
A man watches the screen at the ASX in Sydney. Picture: AP.

The Australian share market closed slightly stronger at a fresh 15-month high, ahead of a summit of EU leaders this weekend.

At the close of trade today, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 11.7 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 4571.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index had gained 12.6 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 4593.5.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 17 points higher at 4567 with 20,537 contracts traded.

IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu said the Australian share market was in a lull after a strong run this week, while some investors became cautious about the EU summit.

"Investors are looking for that next lead before another move higher,” Mr Shamu said.

"Some market watchers were nervous while the market remained at elevated levels.
"They’d rather lock in gains than keep hoping that the rally would keep accelerating,” he said.

It was the fourth consecutive day of gains for the Australian market.

But some investor caution took over today after National Australia Bank announced it would increase its collective provisions by $250 million to $320 million, warning of a slowing economy.

The flagging of a likely dent in its full-year earnings caused NAB shares to lose 73 cents to $26.22.

Commonwealth Bank shed 21 cents to $56.84, Westpac lost 39 cents to $25.56 while ANZ dropped 29 cents to $26.22.

Shares in Australian grains trader GrainCorp were been placed in a trading halt after a potential suitor, Archer Daniel Midlands, requested talks.

Two large parcels of GrainCorp shares changed hands before the start of trade at a price well above Thursday’s closing price of $8.85.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum was up 78 cents at $35.98 after striking agreement with Daewoo International Corporation for a production sharing contract in Burma.

National turnover was 2.02 billion securities worth $5.97 billion, with 528 stocks up, 414 down and 368 unchanged.