Aust stocks close higher

Local market lifts as gains in Japan, United States boost sentiment.

The Australian stock market closed higher today after gains in Japan and the United States boosted sentiment following yesterday's heavy falls.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.64% to 5,245.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index increased 0.68% to 5,255.5 points.

IG analyst Stan Shamu said there are challenges ahead for US equities after the first key earnings reports overnight.

"Many analysts feel earnings will really have to impress to help justify the big share price gains we have seen in the US recently," Mr Shamu said.