The offshore gains were fuelled by reports that EU leaders were looking at recapitalising weak European banks.
The mining giants both ended higher; BHP advanced 3.8% and Rio Tinto rose 2.2%.
Coal miner, New Hope flew 15.3% after confirming it has been the subject of takeover offers.
Transfield was another strong performer (+8.8%) after announcing a 10% share buyback.
Leading the big banks higher was Westpac, which closed up 2.4%. NAB added 1.5%.
The ASX 200 jumped 54 points (+1.4%), settling at 3926.