Latrell Mitchell takes a high ball during a Sydney Roosters NRL training session in Sydney. Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

The Australian market soared.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,021.20 +98.95 +2.01%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,083.50 +93.90 +1.88%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7234 +0.0060 +0.84%

Bank stocks took off on the back of a rally in the US and Europe, helping to send the ASX 200 smashing through the key 5000 point level,

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was up 2% overnight, led by financial and tech stocks plus a rally in the automotive sector after February US car sales hit a 15-year high.

The release of official GDP numbers showing the Australian economy is growing faster than thought also supported the market

The surge clawed back some of the losses since the start of 2016 but the market is still down almost 5.2%.

The big four banks led the charge with the the ANZ closing 4.47% higher at $24.10, the NAB 3.5% to $25.55, Westpac 4.1% to $30.69 and the Commonwealth 3.5% to $73.94.

BHP added 4.3% to $16.73 and Woodside Petroleum 5% to $27.11.

Slater and Gordon was sold down again, after on Monday posting a $958.3 million loss for the six months to December, dropping another 17% today to $0.26. At that price the market capitalisation is just $91.6 million, a long way from a high of $2.8 billion last year.

The top stories Wednesday:

1. Stronger than anyone thought. Australian economic growth has beaten expectations, rising 0.6% in the final quarter of 2015.

2. A big premium increase. Medibank and NIB, the two ASX-listed health insurers, have been given federal government approval to lift their premiums to keep pace with rising medical costs.

3. The promise of stem cell treatments. Shares in local biotech Mesoblast soared again to close at $2.82, up 28% on the day.

4. New home sales accelerate. Australian new home sales rose strongly for a second month in January, adding to recent evidence that conditions in the residential housing market are once again strengthening.

5. The pokies payout that never was. Betting and gaming companies Tatts and Tabcorp today lost their final legal battle to be paid a combined $1.2 billion in compensation for lost control of poker machines in Victoria.

6. One down, but another waiting. Ramsay Health Care has backed out of a joint venture to run hospitals in Sichuan Province, western China. Ramsay closed 1% higher at $66.62.

7. The Academy Brand. This entrepreneur has 3 essential lessons for launching a startup when the economy is struggling.

8. Becoming an ecommerce company. Australia Post is partnering with the CSIRO’s data innovation group Data61 to help combat the continued decline of traditional snail mail.

9. Now in Australia. Twitter has launched its latest feature in Australia today and it’s called Moments.

10. Fun online. Australians spent almost $3 billion on video games last year, and most of it wasn’t in stores.

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