Aust stocks close higher

Local market lifts as investors ready for tapering hints from US Federal Reserve.

The Australian stock market closed slightly higher as investors ready for hints from the United States Federal Reserve about when it will start to reduce its stimulus program.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lifted 0.28% to 5,430.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index added 0.27% to 5,425.4 points.

IG analyst Chris Weston said traders are focused on the Fed's meeting, early tomorrow morning Australian time, expecting the central bank to leave its $US85 billion per month bond-buying program in place for now.

"There has not really been too much apprehension from Asian traders ahead of the Fed meeting," Mr Weston said.

"The investment and trading community always needs to align positioning to that of Fed rhetoric, and while the market feels March is the right date for tapering (despite the weakening trend in data), we need to know that March is a date the Fed is eyeing as well.

"Let’s hope some sort of clarity prevails."

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