Australian shares have climbed to a fresh five-week high after market-beating results from Goldman Sachs overnight and strong results from the energy sector pushed the market higher.
Retailers and banks clawed back losses after the closely-watched investment bank became the first of Wall Street's financial giants to outperform expectations.
And, miners and energy stocks gained after news that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) plans to boost its lending firepower for Europe by $US600 billion ($A576.84 billion) and reports that Greece's talks with its creditors are progressing spurred risk appetite.
"People are starting to focus on the good earnings from the US," Cameron Securities' client adviser Adrian Leppinus said.
"For the market to really get going we'd need to see more bond yields falling in some of the bigger European countries," he added.
At 1100 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 24.8 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 4,242.7, after touching its highest point since December 12. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 25 points, also 0.6 per cent, at 4,305.6.
On the ASX 24, the March 2012 share price index futures contract was up 25 points at 4,217, with 10,981 contracts traded.
Energy shares led the market higher, adding 1.3 per cent after the oil companies became the latest local businesses to beat expectations.
Woodside Petroleum gained 1.1 per cent to $34.47 after it eclipsed its full-year production forecast as its oil assets performed strongly, despite lower production than the previous year. It forecast full-year production of between 62 and 64 mmboe.
Santos added 1.6 per cent to $13.415 after it forecast production in the range of 51-55 mmboe.
All the big four banks gained, despite news of fresh redundancies in the sector.
Westpac gained 1.2 per cent to $20.81 even as reports emerged that it would be the latest bank to cut its workforce, shedding as many as 600 staff this year.
On Wednesday it emerged that the future of 28 IT management roles in Australia's second-largest bank were in doubt after Westpac started a group-wide restructure.
"We have been in, and still remain, in a slower credit environment for the Aussie banks," Mr Leppinus said.
"When they're not lending as much and growth is slowing you simply can't employ as many people."
The other big banks added between 0.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent.
Brokers said investors would now look to labour force data for December, to be released at 11.30am (AEDT) on Thursday.
ANZ Bank said forecasts for a 100,000 rise in employment figures, giving a rise for a sixth consecutive month, seemed "optimistic" given the weak performance of the retailers in the run-up to Christmas and a falling number of job adverts.
Consumer discretionary shares rose 0.7 per cent, with Myer up one per cent to $2.11 and Harvey Norman gaining 1.3 per cent to $2.00.
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