Aust stocks close slightly higher

Local market lifts at close after Wall Street gains and gold price rallies.

The Australian stock market closed slightly higher following gains on Wall Street as United States data showed new home sales plunged 13.4% in July.

At 1615 AEST official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.22% to 5,134.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.24% to 5,127.3 points.

CMC Markets analyst Tim Waterer said the market made a subdued advance today, but gold stocks rose after the precious metal's price surged late last week.

"Investors appeared ‘comforted’ by the possible implications of Friday’s poor US data, as counter-intuitive as that may seem," Mr Waterer said.

"For the remainder of the week all eyes will again be on US data as traders attempt to ascertain whether the [Federal Reserve Board's] Federal Open Markets Committee will still be leaning towards tapering when they meet come September."

Financials were mostly higher.

Commonwealth Bank rose 0.74% to $72.58, while ANZ Banking Group lifted 0.61% to $29.82.

National Australia Bank put on 0.28% to $32.55, while Westpac Banking Corporation rose 0.67% to $31.68.