AUSTRALIAN STOCKS EXPLODE: Here's what you need to know

Trevor Kokkinakis, father of Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis, shows support in his match against Bernard Tomic of Australia during day ten of the BNP Paribas Open tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California. Julian Finney/Getty Image

The Australian stock market staged its biggest rally in five weeks, adding more than $32 billion in value as investors cheered news from the US that interest rates are staying low for now.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,950.80 +108.45 (+1.86%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,912.50 +104.52 (+1.80%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7732 -0.0040 (-0.51%)

Wall Street closed strongly with the S&P 500 up 1.2% after the Fed downgraded its growth forecasts, indicating that rates would be unchanged for at least the time being.

On the local market, nine out of 10 sectors were stronger. The ASX 200 closed only 0.8% below seven year highs, according to CommSec.

Financial stocks made up the bulk of the rise. The Commonwealth rose 2.38% to a record high of $95.61. Westpac was up 2.66% to $39.71, the ANZ 1.98% to $36.63 and the NAB 2.24% to $39.24. AMP was 3.5% stronger at $6.72.

Among energy stocks, Woodside Petroleum gained 1.29% to $35.31, Origin Energy was up 1% to $11.60 and Caltex 1.9% to $37.41.

The top stories on Thursday:

1. The Myer CEO admits the retail giant has been losing touch. Richard Umbers, who this month replaced Bernie Brookes in the top retailing job, said recent strategy hadn’t been working. Myer shares closed down more than 10% to $1.375.

2. Oroton’s first half profit falls 57% to 2.2 million on establishing Brooks Brothers and GAP in Australia. Oroton shares closed down almost 10% to $2.44.

3. Athlete’s Foot owner has cornered the Australian shoe business with the purchase of the Vans and Timberland distributor. RPC shares are in a trading halt. They last traded for $0.72.

4. More than 30% of APN news and Media changed hands for about $300 million. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp picked up 10% to take its stake to 14.99%. APN shares closed up 2.66% to $0.942.

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