THE market has risen to its highest close in more than four months, led by miners, as investors cheered another round of US Federal Reserve monetary stimulus.
For the week, the S&P/ASX 200 Index rallied 64.2 points, up 1.5 per cent, to finish at 4390. On the day, the S&P/ASX 200 added 50.6 points, or 1.2 per cent.
Overnight, the US Federal Reserve unveiled a third round of quantitative easing to the tune of $US40 billion a month to revive the ailing US economy. The move, though widely anticipated, spurred investors to snap up assets deemed relatively risky, such as commodities and their producers.
The dollar powered to as high as US105.91?, putting it on course for a weekly gain of about 2.4 per cent, or its best advance since late January.
IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock described the gains by miners as "absolutely textbook".
"The overall mining picture is being buoyed by quantitative easing. That's going to last through to the end of the year and into next year until the US economy shows signs of recovery," Mr Peacock said.
But Fortescue Metals missed out on the uplift. It entered a trading halt as the company confirmed to the ASX that it was seeking a restructuring of its $9 billion debt. The stock sank 14 per cent on Thursday.
Another 2 per cent fall in Chinese iron ore prices yesterday failed to dim buying appetite for the miners.
"There's obviously a heavy composition of mining stocks [in the ASX 200], so the fact that one stock is not trading is not going to have a massive impact on the overall performance of the sector for the day," said Mr Peacock.
Riskier assets drove up the sharemarket, including mining stocks, which lifted by about 3 per cent and energy stocks by nearly 2 per cent.
BHP added 53?, or 1.6 per cent, to finish at $33.31 and Rio Tinto rose $1.53, or 1.5 per cent, to $56.58.
Goldminers climbed strongly, with Australia's largest producer, Newcrest Mining, gaining $1.93, or 7.3 per cent, to $28.36, while St Barbara gained nearly 14 per cent, or 24?, to $1.985, and Kingsgate improved by 48?, or 10 per cent, to $5.33.
Gold was trading at six-month highs, around $US1775 an ounce. It closed in Sydney at $US1774.01 an ounce, up $US43.37 from $US1730.64 on Thursday.
Financials also performed strongly. Among the banks,
Westpac added 31?, or 1.3 per cent, to $24.11, NAB rose 13?, or 0.5 per cent, to $25.41, CBA jumped 26?, or 0.5 per cent, to $55.28 and ANZ finished up 9?, or 0.4 per cent, at $24.23.
"Everything has been exactly what you'd expect today. If you'd come in this morning and said, 'What sectors do you expect to be up and down?' . . . it has all played out according to plan," said Mr Peacock.
National turnover was 1.88 billion securities worth $4.67 billion, with 661 stocks up, 299 down and 375 unchanged.