WE'RE BACK BABY: ASX hits 6000 for first time since GFC
THE benchmark Aussie share index has hit 6000 points for the first time since the global financial crisis a decade ago.
In a Melbourne Cup Day boon for investors, the ASX 200 crossed the 6000-point mark in mid-morning trade.
It eased later in the morning and during early afternoon trade to sit just below that threshold - at 5992.9 points - at 2pm.
It is the first time the benchmark Australian share index has hit 6000 points since January 2008, on the eve of the GFC.
The breakthrough follows a surge in share prices over the past month, despite lingering concerns about sluggish inflation in Australia and the anaemic rate of wage growth.
Rising oil prices and rallies overseas share markets, particularly on Wall St, have fuelled the Aussie bourse.
Since October 4, the value of Australia's listed companies has surged by more than $100 billion.
Over the same period, the index has rallied about 350 points - more than 6 per cent.
Today, it is up 0.8 per cent.
It comes less than three weeks after the 30th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash.
The positive Melbourne Cup Day start was expected after a solid lead from Wall Street and gains in oil prices overnight, Macquarie Wealth Management division director Martin Lakos said.
"The Australian market is playing catch-up with the gains in the overseas markets," he said.
"We are expecting a steady session, but it will also be a quieter day on account of the Melbourne Cup."
Trading volumes are lower on account of a public holiday in Victoria.
Overnight, US markets climbed to record highs helped by optimism about merger activity and on investor hopes that a Republican plan to cut corporate taxes would bolster earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.04 per cent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.13 per cent.
In the local market, energy and mining shares led most of the early gains.
Shares in Woodside, Santos and Oil Search each jumped more than 2 per cent after oil prices surged more than 3 per cent overnight, hitting their highest level since July 2015.
Mining shares were also strong, with gains of more than 2 per cent for BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue as iron ore prices remain above $US60 a tonne.
Three of the four major banks - ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - were trading higher, while healthcare shares also helped bolster the market.
Telstra bucked the trend with its shares trading 0.3 per cent lower.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is higher against its US counterpart after the rally in the greenback faltered following gains in commodity prices.
The local currency was trading at US76.83c in early trade, up from US76.53c.