Energy, mining push market to two-month high

The sharemarket closed at its highest level in two months due to strong gains in the mining and energy sectors.

The sharemarket closed at its highest level in two months due to strong gains in the mining and energy sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed above 5000 points for the first time since May 23, gaining 29.8 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5001.9. The broader All Ordinaries Index added 29.5 points, or 0.59 per cent, to 4988.9.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was 18 points higher at 4960, with 17,469 contracts traded.

CMC Markets senior trader Tim Waterer said the local market proved more buoyant than others in the Asia region, from which most of the influential news came during the weekend.

News that China's central bank would give lenders more control to set interest rates appeared to boost commodity prices, which helped local mining companies.

Goldminer Newcrest added 83¢, or 7.5 per cent, to $11.95, and OZ Minerals gained 36¢, or 8.7 per cent, to $4.51.

Energy stocks also rose, with Woodside up 50¢ to $38.23, Oil Search gained 9¢ to $8.23 and Santos added 14¢ to $13.88.

The big miners put in a more subdued performance, with BHP up 26¢ to $34.12 and Rio Tinto adding 32¢ to $56.55.

"Australian equities seemed more buoyant than most across the region today, with broad-based gains putting the ASX 200 back in touch with the 5000-level," Mr Waterer said. "Losses on other indices across the region caused our market to relinquish some of the morning gains, though solid showings, particularly from the key banking and resource stocks, still ensured it was a sprightly start to the week for the local bourse."

Other strong performers were Macquarie Group, up $1.44 to $45.50, David Jones, up 11¢ to $2.57, and QBE, up 35¢ to $16.50.

The banks posted modest gains, with Westpac up 14¢ at $29.40, Commonwealth Bank up 42¢ to $71.88, ANZ up 9¢ to $28.91 and NAB 7¢ higher at $30.41. The spot price of gold in Sydney finished at $US1317.70 an ounce, up $US27.18 from $US1290.52 on Friday.

National turnover was 1.46 billion securities worth $3.56 billion.

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