Aust stocks break 5500 mark

The Australian sharemarket has pushed past the key psychological threshold of 5,500 points in early trade, hitting its highest intraday level since 2008

The Australian sharemarket has pushed past the key psychological threshold of 5,500 points in early trade, hitting its highest intraday level since 2008.

The boost follows a surge on Wall Street led by tech stocks after US Federal Reserve minutes showed no support for an early rise in interest rates.

At the 1015am (AEST) official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 36.7 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 5,500.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 36.4 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 5,496.7 points.

The S&P/ASX200 index hit as high as 5,503.5 in earlier trade, its highest intraday level since the week of June 9, 2008.

Earlier, the All Ordinaries index reached 5,500 points, its highest intraday level since September 2008.

The Fed minutes, as expected, showed the US central bank anticipates continuing its steady stimulus cutback but that there is no groundswell of powerbrokers who supported a speedy rise to benchmark interest rates.

Locally, in economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases labour force data for March.

In equities news, Ten Network posted first half results, significantly narrowing its loss on the previous corresponding period.

In Australia, the market on Wednesday closed at its highest level since the global financial crisis in mid-2008, boosted by a range of positive drivers.

Rising consumer confidence amid positive global economic growth forecasts, acceleration in home lending in February and improving industrial metals prices boosted the ASX.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 53.2 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 5,463.8 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 51.1 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 5,460.3 points.