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ASX Market Wrap: Media and bank stocks drive the market up

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) climbed  0.8%, ending at 4,043.2, still flirting with the psychologically important (but otherwise unimportant) 4,000 level, following a positive rise on US Markets overnight.

News Corporation (ASX: NWS) shares rose 3.4% to $21.50, following yesterday’s rise of more than 2.5%, as the company confirmed that it was looking at splitting itself in two.

Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) was in the news, with speculation that the company may be prepared to offer Gina Rinehart, the company’s largest shareholder with an 18.7% stake, two of the three board seats that she is seeking. Fairfax shares closed at 55.5 cents, rising by just half a cent. Gina Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, released a media announcement, stating that it supports “journalistic integrity and accuracy”, but then went on to note that Fairfax had repeatedly breached that principle.

Winners and losers

Insurance Australia Group Limited (ASX: IAG) was the biggest winner in the top 50 stocks, putting on 3.6% to close at $3.50.

The big four banks all travelled in a herd and were up with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) rising 1.1% to $21.54, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) up 0.9% to $52.15, National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) up 1% to $23.38 and Westpac  Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC) finished up 1.2% at $20.92.

Exciting moves aren’t they?

Wesfarmers Limited (ASX: WES) closed at $29.72, a rise of 1.8% and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX: TLS) was also up, rising 1.4% to $3.67, likely driven by their attractive dividend yields of over 5%.

Despite the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics forecasting a 10% jump in iron ore exports in the next financial year, the big three miners, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) were all down again, helping to constrain the index’s gains. As investors shy away from riskier investments, resources stocks appear to be at the top of their “must get out of” list.

Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX: LYC) shares had fallen 17% at one stage, before recovering to end down 7.3% at 82.5 cents, although the company had no explanation for recent weakness in the share price.

Foolish takeaway

All eyes are firmly on the looming EU Summit, scheduled for Thursday, with investors hoping for some strong positive action.

But don’t hold your breath.

No matter what the outcome, focussing on individual businesses – and taking advantage of any subsequent share price weakness – has always proved to be the most profitable path, and there’s no sense that it’s any different this time around.

If you’re in the market for some less risky, high yielding ASX shares, look no further than Secure Your Future with 3 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks. In this free report, we’ve put together our best ideas for investors who are looking for solid companies with high dividends and good growth potential. Click here now to find out the names of our three favourite income ideas. But hurry – the report is free for only a limited time.

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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in BHP. The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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