Last update: Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03am

Australia shares stage biggest rally since July as Fed tapers

Australian shares rose the most in 5-1/2 months on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve put the market out of its misery - announcing the start of stimulus tapering and pledging to continue ultra-low interest rates. Big banks and miners helped drive the rally, with top miner BHP Billiton Ltd jumping 2.8 percent and the Commonwealth Bank, Australia's biggest, gaining 1.6 percent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 2.1 percent, or 106.1 points, to 5,202.2 - its biggest daily gain since July 2. The closing level was a two-week high, after the market had taken a beating in recent weeks, falling about 7 percent from a 5-1/2-year high of 5,457.3 hit on October 28, as profit forecast downgrades and fears over early Fed tapering hit investor sentiment.

Copyright Reuters, 2013