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The US rate cut of half a percent eased fears that defaults in the US subprime mortgage market and consequent credit squeeze would spill over into the global economy.

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Most locals stocks closed in the green today, with mining giants, gold stocks and all major banks making solid gains.

Hubb Financial's Julia Lee told SBS World News Australia while it was a positive gain for the local market, investors shoulnd't be jumping up and down just yet.

"The Australian market ended at an 8 week high after the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 0.5%. Although this will boost the market in the short term, in the medium to longer term, investors will need to be confident that the US housing market problems have gone away", Ms Lee told SBS.

"If another Northern Rock emerges, it could spell trouble for equity markets once again. I don't think that the credit problems have been put to bed and we could be set for some more volatility in the months ahead".

"We saw stocks like BHP Billiton hit new records. And for today, the financials and the miners ensured the Australian sharemarket had one of the best days we've seen in a while".

"The 50 basis point rise is a temporary band-aid to stimulate the US economy so that it doesn't head into recession. We'll have to wait and see whether the problems in the US housing market and credit markets are alleviated by the interest rate cut".

Meanwhile ABN Amro Morgans private client adviser Simon Ferguson said the rate cut in the US and commentary by the US Federal Reserve on the prospects of further rate cuts had especially helped stocks in the financial sector.

"Those stocks that had been hit hardest earlier in the week – the financials and the banks – are probably the ones that have rallied most," Mr Ferguson said.

Index up 163.6 points

At the market close, the S&P/ASX200 Index was up 163.6 points, or 2.64 per cent to 6356.1 and the All Ordinaries climbed to 154 points, or 2.48 per cent.

Meanwhile on the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index contract gained 156 points to 6358, on a volume of 79,024 contracts.

Coles Group made headlines today after the food and liquor retailer reported an almost 36 per cent fall in annual net profit, as it prepares for a takeover by Wesfarmers.

Ms Lee told SBS the Coles results surpassed expectations of most analysts.

"Once the takeover costs are pulled out, underlying net profit actually rose slightly by 0.6% to $792.4M. Coles share price underperformed the market but still managed a rise, supported by the Wesfarmers takeover and a better than expected profit result," Ms Lee said.

Coles shares were up 15 cents at $15.00 while rival Woolworths was 31 cents higher at $29.89.

Meanwhile the major banks made solid gains with National Australia Bank climbing 95 cents to $38.20, ANZ rising 77 cents to $28.57, Westpac increased 65 cents to $27.45, and Commonwealth Bank rose 87 cents to $55.87.

The gold sector also breathed a sight of relief, with Newcrest surging to $1.76 to $28.06, and Lihir was up 29 cents at $3.79.

The price of gold in Sydney at shortly after the market close was $US725.00 per fine ounce, up $US8.60 on yesterday's close.

"Oil prices have traded above $82 US/barrel and look like they are headed to $85 US/barrel. The cut in US interest rate is expected to stimulate demand for oil driving up prices.

Gold prices have also been doing well. Gold acts as an old fashioned hedge against inflation and with fears that inflation may get out of control, there's a strong demand for gold. The low greenback has also helped gold prices," Ms Lee said.

"We've seen the Aussie dollar gap up after the US interest rate decision. The Aussie dollar is about 2 cents higher than yesterday. With the interest rate cut in the US, it makes higher yielding currencies like the Aussie and New Zealand dollar more attractive. And with speculation that this is not the end of interest rate cuts in the US, we could see more strength in the Aussie dollar in the coming months".

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