RTTNews - The Australian stock market rallied for the third day in succession on Friday taking cues from Wall Street, where the major indices gained more than 2% amid mixed economic data and increasing optimism about growth.

In the U.S, the Dow snapped its four-day losses and ended sharply higher as traders did some bargain hunting in a number of embattled sectors that have trended lower for much of the past month. On the economic front, traders digested a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims for the week ended June 20th came in at 627,000, up from last week's revised figure of 612,000. In a separate report, the Commerce Department revealed first quarter GDP contracted by a revised 5.5% compared to the 5.7% decrease that had been reported in the preliminary report.

The Dow finished up by 172.54 points, or 2.08% at 8,472, the Nasdaq rose 37.20 points or 2.10% to 1,830 and the S&P 500 jumped 19.32 points to 920.

The All Ordinaries Index opened slightly higher at 3,857 from its previous close at 3,851 and continued to trade in positive territory throughout the session before ending with a gain of 48.00 points, or 1.25%, at 3,899. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index followed a similar trend and ended higher at 3,903, representing a gain of 47.80 points, or 1.24%.

Light sweet crude August delivery ended at $70.64, up 30 cents in the Asian session after gaining $1.56 to $70.23 per barrel in New York on Thursday following reports of violence in Nigeria.

Oil stocks led the gains following a rise in crude oil prices. Woodside Petroleum gained 2.02%, Santos advanced 1.91% and Oil Search rose 1.87%.

Financial stocks ended in positive territory on growth prospects. ANZ Bank gained 2.18%, Commonwealth Bank Australia advanced 2.96%, National Australia Bank rose 3.72% and Westpac Banking increased 2.52%.

Gold stocks advanced following a rise in bullion prices. Lihir Gold gained 1.72%, Newcrest Mining edged up 0.10% and Sino Gold advanced 1.53%.

Quantas Airways gained 1.77% following the news that the largest air-carrier in the country had canceled half of its 30 plane order for Dreamliner 787 planes placed with Boeing Co. and also delayed the remainder by four years.

On the other hand, material stocks ended in negative territory on profit taking after recent gains. BHP Billiton eased 0.98%, Oz Minerals lost 3.23% and Rio Tinto shed 1.53%.

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