Australia’s banks were major beneficiaries of global optimism for a medical breakthrough against the coronavirus, helping to push the share market higher.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index reached a five month high of 6199.2 points earlier on Tuesday, then tapered off and finished up by 31.8 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 6161.4.

The All Ordinaries index closed higher by 31.7 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 6332.0.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.76 US cents at 1623 AEST, higher from 71.74 US cents at Monday’s close.