Aust stocks close stronger

Stronger than forecast employment data, rising iron ore futures buoy local bourse.

A stronger than expected employment report and a lift in iron ore futures boosted the Australian sharemarket today, which closed more than half a per cent higher.

At the 4.15pm (AEDT) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 28.4 points, or 0.53%, to 5,412.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 28.6 points, or 0.53 %, to 5,429.1.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the unemployment rate held steady in February, but full-time employment rose strongly and the total number of jobs lifted three times faster than forecast.

IG chief market strategist Chris Weston called the jobs report "ridiculously strong", saying it "took consensus to the cleaners".

"Where [an increase of] 80,500 full-time jobs came from will dumbfound some," Mr Weston said.

"Some will point to the changes to the Australian Bureau of Statistics seasonal adjustment methodology, but even when you take this out of the equation it’s still a reassuring number.

"The fact that the participation rate moved 30 basis points higher and the unemployment rate stayed at 6 per cent is also positive and continues the trend in fairly positive domestic data."

Mr Weston also noted a 1.2 per cent lift in iron ore futures, after heavy falls earlier this week.

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