Aust stocks close 0.5% higher

Local sharemarket boosted by stronger-than-expected US GDP data amid otherwise quiet holiday period for domestic news.

By a staff reporter

The local market has closed more than 0.5 per cent higher as positive sentiment from offshore continued to boost trade during what is otherwise a quiet holiday period on the domestic news front.

At the official market close of 1615 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 0.51 per cent higher at 5,291.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 0.57 per cent to 5,291.5 points.

CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner said improved economic data underpinning the windback of the Federal Reserve's stimulus measures were lifting the market's mood.

"Friday’s news that third-quarter GDP growth in the US has been revised higher to 4.1 per cent annually has set the scene for world equity markets to see out the year on a positive note," said CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner.

"As is often the case in the early stages of central bank tightening cycles, next year’s economic outlook is for improved growth especially in the light of reduced drag from the government sector," said Mr Spooner.

"This creates a sweet spot for markets."

Financials were mostly stronger, with the big four in the black.

ANZ added 0.53 per cent to $31.95 and Commonwealth Bank gained 1.09 per cent to $76.76.

National Australia Bank lifted 1.05 per cent to $34.62, while Westpac rose 1.11 per cent to $31.92.

Investment bank Macquarie Group inclined 0.36 per cent to $55.00.

In insurance, IAG was flat at 0.18 per cent to $5.67, Suncorp pushed 0.54 per cent higher to $13.00, while QBE lifted 0.52 per cent $11.55.

Materials were a mixed bag.

BHP Billiton slipped 0.19 per cent to $37.16, while rival Rio Tinto inclined 0.24 per cent to $66.90.

Fortescue Metals inclined 0.17 per cent to $5.74 and Newcrest lost 2.08 per cent to $7.54 after announcing shareholder class action proceedings had been lodged against it.

Whitehaven Coal rallied 4.3 per cent to $1.94 news late on Friday that an environmental appeal against its Maules Creek mine project was rejected in the Federal Court.

Santos lifted 0.35 per cent to $14.50, Oil Search added 0.61 per cent to $8.20 and Woodside Petroleum put on 0.8 per cent to $38.90.

The retail sector was also a mixed bag.

Wesfarmers rose 1.09 per cent to $43.53 while rival Woolworths edged down 0.15 per cent to $33.61.

Myer was flat at $2.68 and rival David Jones put on 1.03 per cent to $2.94.

Harvey Norman lifted 0.65 per cent to $3.10, while JB Hi-Fi rose 0.48 per cent to $21.13.

In media, Fairfax Media was flat at 65 cents, 21st Century Fox added 0.27 per cent to $37.70 and News Corp lifted 1.28 per cent to $19.75.

Ten Network rallied 5.45 per cent higher to 29 cents, while Seven West rose 0.85 $2.36 and Southern Cross Media fell 0.3 per cent to $1.675.

Telstra was flat at $5.20, while Qantas put on 0.92 per cent to $1.095.

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