Investors have helped Australia’s share market higher and energy stocks have boomed as traders remain upbeat about the prospects of a coronavirus vaccine.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 51.6 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 6695.7 at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries was higher by 46.1 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 6901.6.

Energy was the standout sector, higher by 2.85 per cent, while financials was next best, up 1.69 per cent.

Earlier US markets closed higher and the Dow Jones benchmark passed 30,000 points for the first time as investors continued to cheer vaccine progress from AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

President Donald Trump’s apparent willingness to comply with the formal transfer of power has also boosted investor sentiment.

In Australia, construction work completed in the September quarter fell 2.6 per cent, led by a sizeable drop in Victorian activity due to its strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Economists’ forecasts had centred on a smaller 1.9 per cent decline.

In Victoria, construction fell by 5.7 per cent to $14 billion during the period, only beaten by the ACT, albeit on a much smaller scale, where work was down 8.7 per cent to $894 million.

Still, politicians and economists are confident the Australian economy has started the recovery from its massive economic contraction as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

On the ASX, Origin Energy was one of the big firms benefiting from investors’ belief a coronavirus vaccine will reinvigorate travel and oil consumption.

Origin shares rose 4.15 per cent to $5.26.

Whitehaven Coal was the best of the large market capitalisation companies, higher by 10.71 per cent to $1.55.

Electronics, home appliances and furnishings retailer Harvey Norman has boosted its Australian sales revenue by 30 per cent since July 1.

However management remains cautious about the outlook due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and continues to cause, great uncertainty about the future economy,” the company said.

Shares were lower by 1.27 per cent to $4.64.

Clothing retailer Kathmandu said first quarter sales were higher by 72 per cent, thanks to its purchase of Rip Curl.

However sales in the Kathmandu division fell 37.7 per cent due to coronavirus restrictions preventing trade in Auckland and Melbourne.

Shares were lower by 1.9 per cent to $1.29.

Gold, typically viewed as a safe bet by investors, was unpopular among the buoyant mood.

Gold miners Northern Star and Evolution each lost more than two per cent to be $12.42 and $4.87 respectively.

In other mining, BHP gained 1.72 per cent to $38.96, Rio Tinto climbed 0.84 per cent to $104.00 and Fortescue rose 1.52 per cent to $18.36.

NAB was best of the big four banks, higher by 2.27 per cent to $23.86.

In the US earlier, the S&P 500 rose 57.82 points to 3,635.41. The Dow gained 454.97 points to record its milestone of 30,046.24. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite picked up 156.15 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 12,036.79.

The Aussie dollar was buying 73.62 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 73.13 US cents at Monday’s close.