Index at six-week high

THE sharemarket closed at a six-week high yesterday after two days of losses.

THE sharemarket closed at a six-week high yesterday after two days of losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed

47.1 points, or 1.1 per cent,

to 4271.3, its highest close since December 8.

The financial sector surged 2.1 per cent on heightened expectations of an interest rate cut next month that would improve their profits.

"There are a lot of people looking for yield right now as the stuff overseas is lingering on," said Cameron Securities client adviser Adrian Leppinus. "And if we do get another rate cut, people are expecting [the banks] might not pass on the full amount and that will ease off on their margins."

BHP Billiton rose 34?, or 0.9 per cent, to $37.42. Rio Tinto was steady at $68.35.

The industrials sector put on 1.1 per cent after strong results from Monadelphous spurred hopes for good earnings from the sector next month. The engineering company ended the day up 30? at $21.82 after reporting that first-half earnings were expected to rise by up to

27 per cent.

"Results like this will help other mining services stocks, which have recently been beaten down, post solid rallies going into the result period," said City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho.

Lynas Corp was among the top performers, jumping 6.5?, or 5.1 per cent, to $1.345 after trading resumed following a two-day halt.

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