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Aust stocks opens higher

The Australian market was hovering around four-and-a-half year highs at open after Wall Street soared to a record high.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 hit 5,119.8 shortly after open, before falling slightly.

It is the highest level the market has reached since September 2008.

IG Markets chief market strategist Chris Weston said risk stocks were performing particularly well at open.

"Our market is printing a new high this morning which is great," he said.

"The financials are pulling the gains again. This is a sector which just cannot be stopped and we're getting that global lead coming through."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared to an all-time record high on Tuesday, passing the five-year-old mark to leave behind the deep losses of the economic crisis.

At the closing bell, the Dow was up 128.02 points for the day, a 0.91 per cent gain, to 14,255.84, easily beating the former closing record of 14,164.53 set on October 9, 2007.

Locally, the four major banks all opened strongly.

ANZ jumped 45 cents to $29.32, Westpac added 37.5 cents to $31.625, Commonwealth Bank gained 76 cents to $69.44 and National Australia Bank surged 51 cents to $31.10.

Energy stocks also performed well at open.

Woodside Petroleum also gained 31 cents to $36.94 and Origin Energy added 10 cents to $12.35.

In economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release national accounts data including gross domestic product for the December quarter.


* At 1027 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 34.4 points, or 0.68 per cent, at 5,109.8 points

* The All Ordinaries index was up 33.2 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 5,121.3 points

* The March share price index futures contract was up 32 points at 5,111 points, with 10,509 contracts traded.

* At 1051 AEDT national turnover was 289.0 million securities worth $828.8 million.