Australian shares have rallied as a sharp drop in the local currency helped give the mining giants a boost.
The Australian dollar plummeted by more than one US cent, to below 88 US cents, for the first time since July 2010 after official labour force data showed almost 32,000 full-time jobs were lost in December.
But the bad news was a welcome development for the big miners, whose profits are nominated in US dollars, Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said.
"We are seeing outperformance by stocks exposed to overseas' revenue and of course the miners are a group that has been positively affected," she said.
Among the big miners, Rio Tinto gained $1.34, or 2.1 per cent, to $65.58 after announcing it achieved record iron ore production and shipments in 2013.
Fortescue added 20 cents, or 3.75 per cent, to $5.53, after ratings agency Moody's lifted the iron ore miner's corporate credit rating in light of its early $1.6 billion debt repayment.
Energy giant Woodside Petroleum gained $1 to $38.63 despite flagging up to $400 million in writedowns ahead of the release of its 2013 full year earnings result next month.
Ms Lee said other mining companies benefited from the quarterly production updates, along with the World Bank's prediction of higher global economic growth for 2014.
Meanwhile, Bega Cheese went up by one cent to $4.62 after announcing it will sell its 18.8 per stake in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter to Canadian dairy giant Saputo.
Warrnambool added 12 cents to $9.40.
Among the big banks, the Commonwealth lost 39 cents at $75.80 but ANZ had gained 12 cents to $31.09, Westpac lifted 12 cents to $31.83 and NAB was 26 cents higher at $34.09.
- At 1615 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 63.7 points, or 1.21 per cent, at 5,309.1.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was up 63.9 points, or 1.22 per cent, at 5,319.4.
- The March share price index futures contract was 65 points higher at 5,270, with 20,960 contracts traded.
- The price of gold in Sydney was $US1243.00 per fine ounce, up $US2.74 on Wednesday's closing price of $US1240.26.
- National turnover was 1.5 billion securities worth $4.1 billion.