RTTNews - The Australian market ended sharply higher on Monday following Wall Street gains on increasing confidence that improving economic data as well as corporate earnings suggest that the global economy is showing signs of strengthening.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 Index surged up 3.16% or 135.50 points to close at 4,426, while the All-Ordinaries Index ended at 4,434, representing a gain of 128.50 points, or 2.98%.

On the economic front, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that New vehicle sales fell a seasonally adjusted 6.9% in July at 75,006 following a 5.2% percent monthly increase in June.

Light sweet crude oil price for October delivery ended at $74.30 a barrel in electronic trading, up $0.31 from its previous close $73.89 a barrel in New York on Friday.

Positive closing on Wall Street on Friday following encouraging comments from Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke and better-than-expected increase in home sales data in the U.S lifted market sentiment.

James Hardie Industries, suppliers of sidings for the homes in the U.S., surged up 6.89% following better-than-expected home sales data in the U.S.

Metals and mining stocks gained following rise in commodity prices in the international market. BHP Billiton advanced 4.29%, Rio Tinto rose 4.74%, Fortescue Metals gained 3.15%, Gindalbie Metals added 2.50% and Oz Minerals increased 3.18%.

Oil stocks advanced following surge in crude oil prices on expectation of higher demand. Woodside Petroleum gained 4.09%, Santos advanced 4.76%, Oil Search gained 2.84% and Origin Energy surged up 5.12%.

Gold stocks also ended in the positive territory. Lihir Gold gained 1.63%, Newcrest Mining rose 2.77% and Sino Gold Mining advanced 1.54%.

Banks also ended higher on increasing optimism about recovery. ANZ Bank gained 4.10%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia advanced 2.43%, National Australia Bank rose 3.89% and Westpac Banking climbed 4.35%.

WorleyParsons, the biggest engineering company in the country, declined 3.76%, after the company revealed that it expects lower profit for the full year due to delays in the projects.

In the U.S., stocks ended in positive territory for the fourth straight session on Friday following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who said that Economic activity appears to be leveling out, both in the United States and abroad, and further noted that the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.. Separately a report on home sales released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that existing home sales rose 7.2% to an annual rate of 5.24 million units in July from a 4.89 million unit rate in June. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase to a 5.0 million unit rate.

The Dow closed up by 155.91 points or 1.7% at 9,506, the Nasdaq climbed by 31.68 points or 1.6% to 2,021 and the S&P 500 rose by 18.76 points or 1.9% to 1,026.

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