Aust stocks close higher

Local market lifts on gains in financial stocks as 22 companies report earnings.

The Australian stock market closed slightly higher today as gains in financial stocks supported the market.

At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.43% to 5,100 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.42% to 5,090.3 points.

CMC Markets analyst Tim Waterer said the Australian market bucked the negative trend evident elsewhere in the region.

Investors around the world are waiting for the release of the United States Federal Reserve's minutes tonight, with any suggestion of tapering its stimulus program likely to receive an unfavourable reaction from risk assets, Mr Waterer said.

"It was a surprisingly cheerful session on the local market ahead of an event risk such as that posed by the minutes," he said.

"An upbeat performance from the financial stocks counteracted weakness among the materials companies."

IG analyst Chris Weston said today was a busy day for traders, with 22 corporates reporting.

"From what we’ve seen so far earnings have fallen nearly 10% against the previous corresponding period, although we expect this figure to rise through the remaining earnings season," Mr Weston said.

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