RTTNews - Taking cues from Wall Street where stocks moved up sharply overnight on encouraging earnings reports and economic data, the Australian stock market opened on a bright note on Thursday.

Several stocks from resources, banking, industrials, utilities, healthcare, consumer discretionary and consumer staples groups are trading sharply higher this morning with investors going on a buying spree on hopes of a global economic revival.

The benchmark index S&P/ASX 200 opened at 3924.5, around its previous close, galloped to 4010.3 on hectic buying across the board and is currently trading at 4,005, up 80.5 points over its previous close. The broader All Ordinaries index is up by 78.5 points at 3,996.

Led by resources and bank stocks, the market recorded its highest close this financial year on Wednesday. While the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 57.4 points or 1.48% at 3924.5, the All Ordinaries index gained 58.7 points or 1.52% to 3917.5 points.

Materials stock Rio Tinto is currently up by over 3.5%. BHP Billiton, Bluescope, Fortescue, Lihir Gold, Newcrest Mining and Orica are all trading sharply higher this morning.

Energy stocks Woodside Petroleum, Santos and Origin Energy are also up with impressive gains.

Bank majors ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corporation are up by 1.5%-3%. Diversified financials stock Macquarie Group is up by as much as 4.75%.

Iluka Resources Ltd says its mineral sands sales revenue in the June quarter was down 45.7% on the corresponding period last year. The company scaled back its production activity in April in response to global economic conditions and high stocks in mineral sands inventories in major markets.

The company said mineral sands sales revenue after hedging was A$116.2 million in the June quarter, compared to A$214 million in the previous corresponding period. Revenue after hedging for the first six months of fiscal 2009 was A$149.3 million, down 61.6% on the A$388.9 million in the corresponding period last year. The materials stock is up 2.4%.

Macquarie Infrastructure Group says ongoing dislocation in global economic and market conditions are continuing to negatively impact the value of its asset portfolio. According to its preliminary calculations, the group's portfolio was valued at about A$5.1 billion as at June 30, with net asset backing estimated at about A$2.54 per stapled security.

The anticipated portfolio valuation has been primarily affected by lower forecast traffic volumes, changes to asset discount rates, and the impact of movements in foreign exchange rates, MIG said in a statement on Thursday. However, with the overall mood remaining quite bullish, the Macquarie Infrastructure stock is trading in positive territory with a sharp 2.3% gain.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar opened higher on Thursday as a strong earnings report from tech giant Intel lifted investors hopes for a recovery in the U.S. economy. In early trading this morning, the Aussie was quoting at US$0.8028/33, up 0.82% from Wednesday's close of US$0.7963/68. The Australian dollar is currently trading at 0.8003 to the U.S. dollar.

Among other markets in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan, Singapore and Korea are trading sharply higher this morning. The New Zealand market is also trading firm.

Stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region had extended their gains on Wednesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index moved up by 2.1% and Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index edged up by a modest 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street, fueled by some strong earnings reports and encouraging economic data, stocks traded in positive territory right through the session on Wednesday and finished with impressive gains.

Besides better-than expected results from Intel Corp. and Yum! Brands, the Federal Reserve's announcement that it expects a less severe economic contraction in 2009 and a moderately stronger recovery in 2010 proved strong enough triggers for traders to stay bullish during the session.

The Dow closed up by 256.72 points or 3.1% at 8,616.21, the Nasdaq climbed 63.17 points or 3.5% to 1,862.90, and the S&P 500 rose 26.84 points or 3% to 932.68.

Major European markets closed on the upside for the third session in a row, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index closing up by 3.1% and 2.9% respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index also moved higher, climbing by 2.6%.

Crude oil rose above US$61 per barrel on Wednesday, boosted by a larger-than-expected decline in crude oil inventories last week. Violence in Nigeria and a weaker dollar also lifted prices. Light sweet crude for August delivery posted its best close in a week at US$61.54 per barrel, up US$2.02 for the day. Oil briefly touched as high as US$62.

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