The West

The Aussie sharemarket has closed lower.
The Aussie sharemarket has closed lower.

Australian stocks are extending their gains on the back of a second day of rallies on US and European markets.

At 10.10am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 48.6.9 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 5294 points while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 48.9 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 5304 points.

Sentiment is positive after the World Bank predicted higher global economic growth this year compared to last, as Germany released strong growth figures.

But, the news in Australia on Thursday was not as good, with disappointing official data showing a net loss of 22,600 jobs in December.

LONSEC senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said, however, it was good to see the market clawing back after a disappointing start to the year.

"We have the dividend companies such as Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank reporting in the next month, so I would have thought there would be some excitement in the share price - but it has not happened yet," he said.

All sectors, bar info tech stocks, were posting gains.

In the resources sector, Rio Tinto was having a good day, rising $1.32, or 2.1 per cent, to $65.56 after a strong production report led by record iron ore production and shipments in 2013.

Fortescue Metals was up 18 cents, or 3.4 per cent, at $5.51 following its latest debt reduction move and the announcement of plans for a new gas pipeline to its mines to reduce costs.

Global miner BHP Billiton lifted 70 cents to $36.63.

The big banks were more mixed following gains on Wednesday, with Commonwealth Bank easing 49 cents to $75.70, ANZ dipping 8.0 cents to $30.89, Westpac flat at $31.71 and National Australia Bank adding 5.5 cents to $33.88.


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