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Australian stocks hits 5 months high at end, ASX 200 surges 37pts

Australian stocks hits 5 months high at end, ASX 200 surges 37pts

PERTH: The Australian stocks climbed for an eighth consecutive session, hitting a five-month high.

Investor sentiment has been boosted by the possibility that the Reserve Bank board might cut interest rates at its meeting tomorrow.

The All Ordinaries ended up 35 points at 5,587 and the ASX 200 closed 37 points higher at 5,625.

The energy sector led the way with Woodside up more than 1 per cent, while Origin Energy put on 3.5 per cent and Santos rose 1.5 per cent.

BHP Billiton rose more than 1 per cent to $29.60 a share while its rival Rio Tinto dropped a touch.

On the whole, miners focused on iron ore were down as the price of iron ore continues to drop.

Financial stocks were also stronger with all four big banks closing higher.

ANZ and Westpac led the way, rising about 1 per cent.

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi unveiled a slight dip in first-half net profit but said it remains optimistic for the rest of the year. Investors welcomed that forecast and its shares rose almost 2 per cent.

However, shares in the clothing retailer Kathmandu plunged 28 per cent after it flagged a first half loss.

The warning comes as sales over the Christmas period fell short of expectations. Despite this retailers rallied as a sector.

Woolworths rose more than 1 per cent while Wesfarmers also put on about 1 per cent.

Telstra was up 0.5 of a per cent to $6.53 a share while the airlines lost ground.

In commodities, West Texas intermediate crude oil was at $US47.76 a barrel and Tapis crude oil in Singapore was worth $US52.90 a barrel. Spot gold was trading at $US1,280 an ounce.

The Australian dollar continues to hover near multi-year lows with the Australian dollar buying 77.80 US cents, 68.82 Euro cents, 51.61 British pence, 91.60 Japanese Yen, and $NZ1.07.