The ASX 200 breaks through 5500

Dyland Sicobo from Seychelles (left) and Australia’s Jack Hale (centre) and Oliver Bromby from Great Britain compete in men’s 100 meters qualification during the IAAF World U20 Championships in Poland. Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images for IAAF

Australian stocks are rallying, hitting an 11 month high.

The ASX 200 surged through the 5500 point level for the first time since August last year.

At the close, the index was at 5,512.40, up 23.68 points or 0.43%.

The market has gained 5.3% so far this month and 4% since the start of calendar 2016.

“The ASX 200 broke 5500 climbing to this year’s high 5550 as risk and global sentiment continued to improve,” says easyMarkets chief market strategist Anthony Darvall.

“Increasing expectations of a RBA interest rate cut on August 2 has provided extra stimulus to an already buoyant market.

“There is some concern in the background regarding Chinese demand for iron ore which has been under pressure in the past few days but the market is happily ignoring the downside risks for the moment.”

Financial stocks were leading the local market today.

Westpac was up 1.3% to $30.78, the Bank of Queensland 3.2% to $10.60 and Macquarie Bank 1.2% to $74.18.

Blood products group CSL led a rise in health care stocks, adding 1.7% to $118.99. Cochlear was up 2.7% to $128.85 and Sonix Healthcare 1.7% to $22.62.

Woolworths rose 1.2% to $22.80 after Metcash got the green light from the competition watchdog, the ACCC, to make a bid for Home Timber & Hardware from Woolworths. Metcash rose 2% to $2.11.

The rally was being supported by a strong showing from global markets, including nine days of gains in the US. Technology stocks led the way on Wall Street and in Europe overnight. The S&P 500 index was up by 0.4% to a new record high.

In the region today, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was more than 1% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.5%.

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