Bernanke gives market a shot in the arm
The sharemarket shot up by 1.3 per cent on Thursday, with investors cheering comments from the US that money would continue to be pumped into the world's largest economy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 64.3 points, or 1.31 per cent, to 4965.7, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 61.5 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 4946.9.
The market soared on US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's comments that central bank support through stimulus would continue for the foreseeable future, after flagging an end to it sent markets diving last month.
Job numbers provided the other big influence, with investors focusing less on the bad news of a rise in unemployment to 5.7 per cent in June and more on the better-than-expected 10,400-plus net jobs created.
"The market wanted to focus on the positive," CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said.
The heavy falls in the US dollar sent commodities and especially gold stocks higher as the two tend to have an inverse relationship.
Gold stocks shot up 11.5 per cent, but there was room for improvement with the sector having had a horror run of late as the gold price fell. Goldminer Newcrest confirmed it was cutting jobs at its Telfer mine in WA as it gained $1.15, or 12 per cent to $11.10.
Among miners, BHP Billiton was up $1.01 to $32.84, while Rio Tinto was $1.93 higher at $54.32.
The big four banks made gains.
Westpac shares lifted 45¢ to $29.49, NAB gained 53¢ to $29.98, ANZ rose 34¢ to $28.98 while Commonwealth Bank rose $1.06 to $71.41.
The gold price in Sydney closed at $US1288.60 an ounce, up $US40.60.
The Australian dollar was higher after Dr Bernanke's comments and was trading late on Thursday at US92.71¢, up from US91.96¢.
Credit markets also gained ground as the weaker-than-expected jobs figures boosted bond prices.
Nomura rates strategist Martin Whetton said it had been a strong session for the bond market, driven by Dr Bernanke's comments and the jobs data.
"We saw a massive turnaround in bond markets earlier this morning when Bernanke spoke and reminded everyone that the Fed is not at its optimal unemployment level yet, effectively giving people the idea that tapering is not about to begin," Mr Whetton said. AAP