RTTNews - The stock market in Australia ended higher on Tuesday, reflecting the gains on Wall Street, where the major indices rallied on hopes about the housing market. Financial stocks advanced following reports that three major banks intend to repay TARP funds borrowed from the Federal Reserve, fueling speculation that the worst in the financial crisis might be nearing an end. Higher copper and crude oil prices and positive comments from RBA Governor also lifted sentiment, resulting in broad-based rally across all sectors.

In the U.S., traders considered a report from the National Association of Home Builders that said its index of homebuilder sentiment rose to 16 in May, compared to a level of 14 in April. The figure was the best reading since September, fueling speculation that the housing sector is bottoming and economic recovery may be around the corner. Further, the report indicated that attitudes of homebuilders improved for both the present situation and for the next several months.

The Dow closed up 235.44 points or 2.85% at 8504, the Nasdaq finishing up 52.22 points or 3.11% at 1732, and the S&P 500 closing higher by 26.83 points at 910.

In Asian trading, crude oil ended higher by $1.12 at $60.15 a barrel in electronic trading. On Monday, light sweet crude for June delivery ended at $59.03 a barrel.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index gained 81.7 points or 2.17% to close at 3,817 and the broad-based All-Ordinaries Index advanced 79.3 points, or 2.13% to close at 3,801.

Mining stocks advanced on higher copper prices in the international market. Index leader BHP Billiton advanced 2.92% and its rival, Rio Tinto gained 4.28%.

Banking stocks rose on optimism about stability in the sector. ANZ Bank gained 1.76%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 1.83% and Macquarie Group advanced 2.00%. Westpac Banking moved up 2.77% and National Australia Bank rose 2.52%

Retail stocks also saw buying interest on positive sentiment across the market. David Jones advanced 5.04%, Harvey Norman rose 5.80%, Wesfarmers added 1.85%, and Woolworths gained 1.74%.

Energy stocks gained after crude oil futures moved up more than 4% in New York last night. Woodside Petroleum gained 3.67%, Oil Search advanced 5.37% and Santos rose 3.94%

Gold related stocks ended mixed. Lihir Gold shed 2.65%, and Newcrest Mining lost 1.04%. However, Sino Gold bucked the trend and ended higher by 0.76%.

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