SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market has notched up solid gains before the Easter long weekend thanks to a continuing rally in commodity prices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended 44.4 points, or 0.59 per cent, higher to 7523.4 on Thursday. It was up 0.6 per cent over the shortened trading week.

The index is now fewer than 100 points from its record high achieved last August.

The All Ordinaries index rose 50.2 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 7822.2.

The heavyweight mining and energy sectors were again the best performers, while travel stocks also flourished on hopes of an improved outlook.

Financials were the only sector under pressure.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was buying 74.64 US cents at 1620 AEST, up from its 74.34 US cents at Wednesday’s close.