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Improved US sentiment helps lock in gains

DOMESTIC shares closed 2.7 per cent higher yesterday, extending their remarkable turnaround the day before, as the market held onto gains triggered by a positive overnight session on Wall Street.

DOMESTIC shares closed 2.7 per cent higher yesterday, extending their remarkable turnaround the day before, as the market held onto gains triggered by a positive overnight session on Wall Street.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 106.5 points up at 4141.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 110.6 points, or 2.7 per cent, to 4207.3.

The local share market opened about 2.5 per cent higher and held onto those gains during the trading day, led by resurgent resources and finance sectors.

An RBS Morgans private client adviser, Bill Bishop, said the market had been buoyed by improved sentiment in the US. "We had a massive upswing on the Dow Jones overnight," Mr Bishop said.

"It was wild but, because we follow Wall Street, we of course were up. We opened strongly and just got stronger. It's a great psychological boost; the market's stabilised a little."

Stocks had finished strongly in positive territory on Tuesday after falling as much as 5 per cent during earlier trading on panic selling influenced by the state of the US and European economies.

The Commonwealth Bank was the weakest performer yesterday among the big four banks, up 95?, or 2.01 per cent, at $48.23 after reporting a 13 per cent rise in full-year net profit accompanied by a cautious outlook statement.

ANZ was 79?, or 4.16 per cent, higher at $19.80, National Australia Bank rose $1.30, or 6.05 per cent, to $22.80, and Westpac climbed 88?, or 4.57 per cent, to $20.14.

Telstra was up 4? at $2.83, while Woolworths added 28? to $25.17.

Resource stocks, too, closed in positive territory. BHP Billiton was up $1.35, or 3.64 per cent, at $38.40, while Rio Tinto rose $2.61, or 3.74 per cent, to $72.35.

The mineral sands miner Iluka Resources was a particularly strong performer, rising $1.78, or 12.45 per cent, to $16.08. Energy stocks gained ground, with Woodside up $1.52, at $36.33, Santos up 45? at $11.90, and Origin up 37? at $13.94. Linc Energy was the best performer in the top 200, with its shares jumping 27.5?, or 13.92 per cent, to $2.25.

The spot price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1746.80 per ounce, down $US7.98 from Tuesday's local close of $US1754.78 per ounce. The gold miner Newcrest Mining was up 53? at $39.25.


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