A HUGE RALLY FOR AUSTRALIAN STOCKS: Here's what you need to know

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Australian stocks staged a massive rally, led by strong gains by big miners, on Ukraine peace news, firmer oil prices and RBA governor Glenn Stevens saying the central bank will act if the economy needs it.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,877.50 +133.93 (+2.33%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,835.50 +127.78 (+2.24%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7785 +0.0049 (+0.63%)

The market, led by Rio Tinto closing up 6.49% to $63.79, hit a seven-year high and posted the biggest one-day gains so far this year.

Rio, which posted good half year results, with reduced debt and bumper dividends, dragged BHP and other miners higher. BHP closed up 4.79% to $28.96.

Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum was up almost 4% to $35.19 and Origin Energy firmer by more than 5% to $12.39.

The big four banks all added more than 2%. Westpac closed up 2.29% to $37.53, the ANZ 2.17% to $35.74, the NAB 2.1% to $37.48 and the Commonwealth 2.16% to $93.15.

All 10 industry sectors were higher. The trading volume was bigger than average with about 778.8 million shares valued at $2.6 billion changing hands.

Wall Street closed stronger overnight with the S&P 500 up 1%.

The top stories on Friday:

1. Newcrest. Gold and copper miner Newcrest lifted statutory net profit 400% to $200 million in the six months to the end of December but underlying earnings were flat. Shares in Newcrest closed flat at $13.90.

2. Shares in Sims Metals jumped 10% after the metal recycler posted an underlying first half profit of $64.4 million, up 53%.

3. Rate cuts aren’t as potent a tool to spur consumer spending as they used to be. RBA Governor Glenn Stevens spoke to the House of Representatives Economics Committee.

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