The Australian sharemarket climbed higher, with big banks and resources stocks gaining ground, while the latest economic and employment figures buoyed sentiment.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index soared 1.16 per cent to 6756.7 – the best level since February 25 – while the All Ordinaries Index gained 1.21 per cent to 7000.1.
CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the market remained on track for its seventh straight week of gains.
The latest federal Treasury figures showed the economy was rebounding faster than expected while Australian Bureau of Statistics employment figures also released on Thursday exceeded expectations, with 90,000 jobs added last month.
“The market was anticipating about 40,000 jobs,” Mr Daghlian said.
“The unemployment rate also improved from 7 per cent down to 6.8 per cent and this is despite more people entering the workforce and looking for work.”
Iron ore, gold and oil prices rose overnight, boosting the share prices of producers.
Rio Tinto announced chief financial officer Jakob Stausholm would replace chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques – who resigned in the wake of the Juukan Gorge cave blast scandal – effective January 1.
The mining giant’s shares strengthened 1.8 per cent to $116.44 while BHP added 1.76 per cent to $43.30 and Fortescue lifted 2 per cent to $22.41.
Gold miner Westgold Resources jumped 6.29 per cent to $2.79 after announcing its Big Bell mine in WA had been cleared to resume operations following the death of a worker, Paige Counsell, in an incident during underground haulage activities on Tuesday.
The company said the mine would gradually return to normal over coming weeks, giving time for distressed employees to receive counselling.
Fellow gold miner Perseus Mining leapt 6.15 per cent to $1.29.
Among oil and gas stocks, Woodside Petroleum appreciated 2.97 per cent to $23.56 and Santos advanced 2.85 per cent to $6.50.
ANZ was 1.29 per cent stronger at $23.58, Commonwealth Bank firmed 1.04 per cent to $84.72, National Australia Bank put on 1.02 per cent to $23.85 and Westpac was up 0.6 per cent at $20.21.
Buy-now-pay-later market leader Afterpay climbed to another record high of $120.77 before finishing up 4.98 per cent at $120.31.
The one-year return on the stock is a whopping 313 per cent.
Smaller rival Zip Co gained 1.08 per cent to $5.63 after raising $120 million through an oversubscribed share placement to institutional investors, with funds to be used for expansion, particularly overseas.
Mr Daghlian said travel stocks struggled as a spike in new COVID-19 cases in NSW reignited talk about shutting borders.
Corporate Travel Management slid 4.37 per cent to $17.93, Webjet dropped 3.04 per cent to $5.11, Flight Centre dipped 3.03 per cent to $16.30 and Qantas eased 0.2 per cent to $5.10.
The Aussie dollar was fetching 75.92 US cents, 56.04 British pence and 62.09 Euro cents in afternoon trade.
Originally published as ASX keeps climbing higher