Australian shares have enjoyed their fourth straight day of gains as the local currency slides further against the US dollar.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 66.4 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,092.5 points at 1615 AEDT on Thursday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 67.3 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,159.1.
The ASX200 has gained 3.87 per cent on the week and is poised for its best week since mid-2016.
“An impressive day for the Australian sharemarket, especially given the negative news from overseas,” said Bell Direct analyst Julia Lee.
“The big four banks just powering along today.”
ANZ, CBA and Westpac were up between 1.7 and 2.01 per cent.
NAB shares were up 1.26 per cent when it called a trading halt to announce chief executive Andrew Thorburn and chairman Dr Ken Henry would leave the bank.
Nearly all sectors were up aside from utilities, which were dragged down after AGL Energy announced a $25 million upgrade to Victoria’s Loy Yang coal-fired power station.
AGL shares closed down 4.78 per cent, to $21.10.
Mining stocks surged, driven higher by a spike in iron ore prices following a dam disaster in Brazil.
Vale, the owner of the dam that collapsed, has declared force majeure on a number of its iron ore contracts.
Rio Tinto shares gained 1.34 per cent, to a 10-year high, while Fortesque Metals shares gained 0.99 per cent, reaching a two-year high.
The S&P/ASX 200 Materials sector is at a seven-year high.
IDP Education Ltd shares surged 21.16 per cent, to $13.80, after the student placement company reported earnings had jumped 33 per cent, to $66.8 million.
Its shares are up 40 per cent since the start of the year and are at an all-time high.
Miravac shares rose 3.25 per cent after the property developer and manager reported earnings and said demand for its residential developments is holding up amid the housing market downturn.
Shares in CYBG plc, a Glasgow-based holding company that owns three UK banks, were up 17.87 per cent, to $3.76, after company, which is dual-listed on the ASX and the London stock exchange, reported earnings.
The Aussie dollar was buying 70.99 US cents, down from 71.09 cents on Wednesday.
The Aussie has declined 1.9 per cent since midday on Wednesday, when Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe signalled that interest rates could move in either direction, a shift from its long-standing tightening bias.
Ms Lee said the strong volumes likely indicated international investors were taking advantage of the weaker Aussie dollar to invest in the local sharemarket.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index up 66.4 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,092.5 points at 1615 AEDT on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 67.3 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,159.1.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 55 points, or 0.92 per cent, at 6,042.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.99 US cents, from 71.55 US on Monday
* 78.02 Japanese yen, from 78.53
* 62.48 euro cents, from 62.75
* 54.89 British pence, from 55.22
* 105.18 NZ cents, from 104.17
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1303.40 per fine ounce, from $US1314.37 on Tuesday.