Market hits 5-year high as US wall of worry recedes

The sharemarket closed at a 5-year high on Monday after US and European markets lifted at the end of last week as US government services reopened.

The sharemarket closed at a 5-year high on Monday after US and European markets lifted at the end of last week as US government services reopened.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was 30.3 points, or 0.57 per cent, higher at 5351.8, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 30.5 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 5351.5.

IG market strategist Evan Lucas said the market had taken its lead from stronger markets in the US. Investors were no longer facing a wall of worry after the US at least temporarily resolved its budget and debt-ceiling impasse, and China's economic growth was accelerating.

"This is basically following on from what we saw over in the US on Friday night," Mr Lucas said.

He said investors were focusing on Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank, which would soon report annual financial results.

"They are three of the top five companies on the ASX [Australian Securities Exchange]," he said. "They do tend to rally quite hard before their results.

"That will probably be a fairly big driver of our market over the next week."

Mr Lucas said US economic data that was not published during the government shutdown would be released this week and would also influence the Australian market.

The US non-farm payroll and jobless figures for September, which will be released on Tuesday night, would be crucial data.

In the resource sector, BHP Billiton was 45¢ higher at $36.20, Rio Tinto was up 30¢ at $63.75, and Fortescue Metals Group lifted 15¢ to $5.45.

Among the big banks, Westpac advanced 8¢ to $34.08, ANZ improved 26¢ to $32.12, NAB eased 1¢ to $35.97, and Commonwealth Bank jumped 38¢ to $74.55.

Takeover target Warrnambool Cheese and Butter gained 22¢ to $8.11 as it said it would seek approval to grant $175,000 in performance rights to its CEO despite opposition from suitor Bega Cheese.

Private hospitals operator Ramsay Health Care rose 30¢ to $37.15 after it said it was in talks to acquire Medipsy, which operates psychiatric clinics in France.

And after the market closed, retailer David Jones announced the resignation of chief executive Paul Zahra. David Jones shares closed 2¢ higher at $2.85.

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