The Australian stock market is trading notably higher on Thursday with investors indulging in fairly heavy buying across the board, tracking a strong lead from the U.S. and European markets, where stocks posted impressive gains overnight amid renewed optimism about global economic recovery.
Financial, energy, mining, consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks are mostly up with strong gains.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up 50.8 points or 1.2 percent at 4,106.1. The broader All Ordinaries index is trading at 4,156, up 51.3 points or 1.2 percent from its previous close.
Among bank stocks, ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac are trading higher by 1 to 2 percent. Bank of Queensland is up with a modest gain, while Bendigo & Adelaide Bank is trading slightly weak.
Among top miners, BHP Billiton is up 1.7 percent, Rio Tinto is gaining about 2 percent and Fortescue Metals is trading more than 3 percent higher. Newcrest Mining is trading lower by 1 percent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Oil Search and Caltex Australia are up 1.5 to 2.2 percent, while Origin Energy is trading 0.5 percent up.
Aquarius Platinum shares are up nearly 9 percent. Beach Energy, Iluka Resources, Myer Holdings, Downer EDI, QR National, Campbell Brothers and News Corporation are trading higher by 3 to 4.3 percent.
Lynas Corporation, WorleyParsons, Leighton Holdings, Atlas Iron, QBE Insurance Group, Cochlear, Oz Minerals and Alumina are all trading higher by 2.5 to 3 percent.
Brambles Limited shares are down 4.2 percent after the company announced that it raised A$333 million from its share sale venture. The company had announced a capital raising of A$448 million capital raising earlier this week after it aborted the planned sale of its data management business Recall due to a lack of reasonable offers.
An entitlement offer to retail shareholders will open on Friday, and this will help the company to raise a further A$115 million.
CSR Limited shares are down more than 4 percent. Bluescope Steel, another prominent loser, is trading lower by around 3.3 percent.
In economic news, Australian building activity contracted for its 24th consecutive month due to weak commercial activity and new orders, according to a private study. The Australian Industry Group-Housing Industry Association's performance of construction index fell 0.2 points to 34.7 in May.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied sharply on Wednesday as traders expressed optimism about further stimulus from the world's central banks.
The major averages ended at their best levels of the day. The Dow jumped 286.8 points or 2.4 percent to 12,414.8, the Nasdaq soared 66.6 points or 2.4 percent to 2,844.7 and the S&P 500 moved up 29.6 points or 2.3 percent to 1,315.1.
Major European markets too ended sharply higher on Wednesday. While the German DAX index advanced by 2.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index and the French CAC 40 index both soared 2.4 percent.
U.S. crude oil futures ended higher on Wednesday, with a weak dollar and increased optimism on solution to the eurozone crisis aiding its surge, offsetting a report from Energy Information Administration that showed a smaller than expected drop in oil stockpiles.
Crude for July delivery gained $0.73 or 0.9 percent to close at $85.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude prices scaled a high of $86.27 a barrel intraday.
by RTT Staff Writer
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