SYDNEY, AAP – Mining giants reported the spoils of the iron ore trade and helped power the ASX to just below record levels.

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group on Thursday revealed the company beat its annual forecast thanks to record fourth-quarter shipments of the steel-making commodity.

Shares closed up 1.9 per cent to $26.30.

Investors also lapped up Rio Tinto’s first-half earnings, given after trading closed on Wednesday.

Rio more than doubled profit from the same period last year.

Shares closed up 1.47 per cent to $134.17.

Most share categories rose and the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed higher by 38.1 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 7417.4.

The All Ordinaries closed up 45.6 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7695.2.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.89 US cents at 1621 AEST, higher from 73.60 US cents at Wednesday’s close.