Aust stocks open stronger

Local market races higher after Janet Yellen's testimony buoyed Wall Street.

The Australian stock market opened higher following strong gains on Wall Street after new Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's Congressional testimony appeared to reassure investors.

At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.53% to 5,282.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 0.51% to 5,294.

Financials were broadly stronger, with the big four all in the black.

ANZ rose 1.31% to $30.96, while Commonwealth Bank added 0.75% to $76.49, after posting a strong lift in first-half cash profit.

National Australia Bank rose 0.83% to $34.17, while Westpac added 0.47% to $32.38.

Investment bank Macquarie Group lifted 1.21% to $54.17.

In insurance, IAG rose 0.18% to $5.48, Suncorp lifted 0.82% to $12.26 and QBE added 1.14% to $11.52.

Materials were mostly stronger.

BHP Billiton added 1.29% to $37.02 while rival Rio Tinto lifted 1.4% to $67.57.

Fortescue Metals added 1.06% to $5.70, while Newcrest Mining lifted 1.57% to $11.63.

Whitehaven Coal added 0.89% to $1.705, while Santos rallied 0.22% to $13.74.

Oil Search rallied 2.03% to $8.24, while Woodside Petroleum inched up 0.16% to $37.80.

OZ Minerals surged 10.29% to $3.75 despite swinging to a sharp full-year loss.

The retail sector was mixed.

Woolworths rose 0.2% to $34.83, while Wesfarmers fell 0.4% to $42.63.

Myer lifted 0.39% to $2.57, while rival David Jones retreated 0.64% to $3.10.

Harvey Norman lifted 0.98% to $3.10, while JB Hi-Fi lost 0.38% to $18.18.

In media, Fairfax Media lost 0.73% to 68 cents and News Corp rose 2.15% to $19.51.

21st Century Fox shed 0.09% to $34.72.

Ten Network retreated 1.45% to 34 cents, while Seven West rose 0.98% to $2.07 and Southern Cross Media fell 0.32% to $1.55.

Telstra rose 0.2% to $5.06, while Qantas lifted 1.36% to $1.115.

Boral added 5.4% to $5.27, after widening its first-half loss.

CSL lost 4.19% to $66.93 despite lifting its first-half profit.

Dexus increased 0.49% to $1.03 after lifting its first-half profit.

Goodman Fielder shed 7.35% to 63 cents on news it had swung to a first-half loss.

Carsales rose 6.5% to $9.99 on news it had increased its H1 profit.

Primary Health Care slipped 0.91% to $4.885 after boosting its first-half profit.

Stockland increased 2.96% to $3.83 after improving its first-half profit.

Dr Yellen told Congress she had no plans to change the monetary policy set under her predecessor Ben Bernanke.

In local economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases December quarter overseas arrivals and departure figures while the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment is due out.

In Australia, the market on Tuesday closed higher as strong profit growth by ANZ drove gains in the banking sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 32.4 points, or 0.62%, to 5,254.5.

The broader All Ordinaries index added 30.8 points, or 0.59%, to 5,267.3

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