UPDATE 7.55am: The Australian sharemarket opened almost one per cent higher as rising iron ore prices led to strong opening gains for the mining giants.
At 7.20am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 40.4 points, or 0.89 per cent, at 4568.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 37.5 points, or 0.82 per cent, higher to 4588.4 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 27 points higher at 4562 points, with 9533 contracts traded.
RBS Morgans Brisbane director of equities Bill Chatterton said the mining giants had opened positively as iron ore prices continued their upward trend.
“The big movers are BHP, Fortescue and Rio,” he said.
“Iron ore is back to $US120 a tonne after being down around $US90 (a tonne).”
BHP Billiton was up 85.5 cents to $34.305, Rio Tinto was $1.63 higher to $57.68 and Fortescue added nine cents to $4.16.
Mr Chatterton said the Australian market also reaped the benefits of Wall Street gains led by strong US data on new home building.
In the US on Wednesday the broad-based S&P 500 closed up 5.99 points (0.41 per cent) at 1,460.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq added 2.95 (0.10 per cent) at 3104.12. Europe's main stock markets advanced cautiously and the euro hit a one-month high above $1.31 on easing eurozone debt crisis concerns ahead of a two-day EU summit.
At the close, London FTSE 100 index of top companies gained 0.69 per cent to 5910.91 points, helped along by upbeat British labour market data.
In local economic news on Thursday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is due to release international merchandise imports figures for September and the National Australia Bank's business survey for the September quarter is due to be released.
In equities news, Ten Network Holdings posted a net loss of $12.9 million for the 12 months to August 31, 2012, compared with net profit of $14.2 million in the prior corresponding period.
At 7.30am Ten shares were 75 cents higher at $31.75.
National turnover was 425 million securities worth $1.039 billion, with 406 stocks up, 162 down and 258 unchanged.