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Australian stocks start positive, All Ordinaries climbs 65pts,

Australian stocks start positive, All Ordinaries climbs 65pts,

SYDNEY: Australian stocks rose strongly in the wake of a massive eurozone stimulus package declared overnight.

The All Ordinaries index had risen 65 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 5,455 shortly before midday (AEDT).

The ASX 200 had added 69 points (1.3 per cent) to 5,489.

The rise was along similar lines to those posted on US and European markets overnight, after the European Central Bank unveiled a quantitative easing program likely to exceed 1.1 trillion euros.

Energy stocks were leading the Australian market’s gains, despite a fall in West Texas crude prices overnight, as Asian Tapis prices briefly gained gained in the wake of news of the Saudi king’s death before falling back below $US50 a barrel again.

Saudi Arabia has so far refused to cut production in response to an oil supply glut.

Santos was up 5.4 per cent, Oil Search 2.5 per cent, Woodside 2.3 per cent and Caltex 1.2 per cent.

Finance and mining firms were also among the top performers.

BHP Billiton had added 1.8 per cent while Rio Tinto was 1.2 per cent higher.

ANZ led the major banks with a gain of 1.4 per cent, followed by 1 per cent for NAB, 0.9 per cent for CBA and 0.7 per cent for Westpac.

The airlines were a weak spot for the market, as it emerged they will face additional international route competition from Chinese carriers, with Qantas down 2.2 per cent and Virgin Australia falling 1.1 per cent.

Woolworths had risen 0.9 per cent, but Coles parent company Wesfarmers had lost 1.1 per cent, after the firm confirmed a key executive’s departure.

The Australian dollar dipped briefly below 80 US cents early this morning, for the first time since 2009, as currency traders absorbed the eurozone stimulus.

It has since recovered some of that lost ground and by lunchtime was buying around 80.3 US cents.