SYDNEY, AAP – Iron ore miners were leading the ASX higher, following fresh optimism on Wall Street that central bank stimulus may last a while yet.

BHP, the second biggest listed company after the Commonwealth Bank, rose 2.22 per cent to $49.88.

Iron ore prices rose 0.5 per cent overnight to $US222.

Fortescue and Rio Tinto also gained more than one per cent.

The next best shares were in industrials, consumer staples and information technology. All were 0.8 per cent higher.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 32 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 7358.9 at 1200 AEST on Thursday.

Its record close is 7386.17.

The All Ordinaries was higher by 32.7 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 7632.

The upward tilt comes after the US S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched record closing highs.

Investors were buoyed by the minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve meeting.

Fed officials felt substantial further progress on the economic recovery “was generally seen as not having yet been met”.

Investors hope this means the central bank will wait longer before easing the support it has provided during the pandemic.

Treasury yields dipped lower following the Fed minutes, while stocks mostly edged higher.

All the main US indices closed modestly higher.

In Australia, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe is speaking about the labour market and monetary policy to the Economic Society of Australia.

The bank on Tuesday began easing its support for the Australian economy, reducing its bond buying and not extending its yield curve control target.

However the cash rate remains at a record low 0.1 per cent.

The coronavirus outbreak in Sydney remains a problem for the economy.

NSW reported its highest daily infection numbers since the lockdown started for Sydney and surrounds, 38.

On the ASX, Seven Group continues to buy shares and increase its stake in building materials supplier Boral.

Seven shares were higher by 4.55 per cent to $21.24.

Boral shares were even at $7.40.

AMP will sell its global equities and fixed income business to Macquarie Asset Management.

The AMP Capital business manages $60 billion in assets and will be sold for $185 million.

The sale is part of preparing the demerger of AMP Capital.

AMP shares were up 0.66 per cent to $1.12.

Macquarie shares were higher by 0.73 per cent to $157.61.

The investment group was doing better than the big four banks.

The Commonwealth was the pick of the group, higher by 0.18 per cent to $99.89.

ANZ, NAB, Westpac as well as Bank of Queensland were all lower by less than 0.5 per cent.

In technology, instalments payments provider Zip surged by 8.16 per cent to $8.35.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.58 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 75.01 US cents at Wednesday’s close.