The local market leapt to its highest in more than three months, prompting talk of an early Santa rally as a number of blue chips hit 2016 highs.
The mood was upbeat from the start of trade after Wall Street posted its best day since the US elections, with the S&P500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the small-cap heavy Russell 2000 all hitting record highs.
Broad-based buying drove the S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index both up 1.1 per cent to 5543.6 points and 5599 points respectively, their highest since late August.
Technology stocks were the winners of the session but financials and miners also posted strong gains, with only healthcare and utilities finishing in the red.
“We’ve had the perfect concoction of continued euphoria within the iron ore market, another all-time high US equity markets and bond yields easing overnight which has supported out of favour mid-cap stocks,” said Gary Huxtable, client advisor at Atlantic Pacific Securities.
“It appears some of the profit takers have been washed out during the consolidation over the last few weeks, and dry powder has interpreted this morning’s break of the post US election high as an entry signal.
Westpac and ANZ were the biggest contributors to the rise in the benchmark index, with the former up 2.1 per cent and ANZ smashing its highest point this year, closing up 2.5 per cent to $29.53. CBA, this year’s laggard among the big four, also underperformed on the day, rising just 0.5 per cent.
A roaring iron ore price has lit a fire underneath the miners, with Fortescue surging to a five-year high, closing up 1.7 per cent to $6.69. The iron ore producer has rocketed nearly 260 per cent this year, one of the top performers in the benchmark index.
While investors poured into healthcare stocks earlier in the week on the back of the government’s announcement about funding, but many gave up their gains on Thursday as investors digest just how uncertain the sector is.
Estia Health was off 3.3 per cent for the day and Regis Healthcare was down 0.7 per cent.
Woolworths shares closed up 1 per cent after the Federal Court of Australia dismissed claims the company broke the law by demanding retrospective payments from suppliers. Investors also bought up main rival Wesfarmers which closed up1 per cent.