The Australian share market closed higher for the first time in 2016 with the ASX 200 storming back towards 5000 points.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) up 1.3% to 4987 points
  • ALL ORDINARIES (Index: ^AXAO) (ASX: XAO) up 1.2% to 5041 points
  • AUD/USD at US 70.38 cents
  • Iron Ore at US$41.19 a tonne, according to the Metal Bulletin
  • Gold at US$1,083.39 an ounce
  • Brent oil at US$31.24 a barrel

The ASX ended its horror start to 2016 in fine fashion today, closing more than 1% higher in a relief rally led by the banks. Oil prices stabilised, for now at least, while Chinese exports also surprised on the upside which provided some comfort.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) led the banks higher, rising 2% and 2.2%, with all four majors ending the day at least 1.2% higher.

Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) was also back on the market’s agenda today, rising 1.1%, while Spotless Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: SPO) soared 15.3%.

Unfortunately, there weren’t too many smiles from investors in the gold sector. EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) shares crashed 6.1%, while Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) both tanked 4.9% and 7%.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) was the other big-name share to end the day in the red, falling 1.6%, while WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED (ASX: WHC) plunged 9.4%.

Here are Wednesday’s biggest stories:

  1. In 2016, here’s why I’m betting a total of $500,000 on the Motley Fool Pro portfolio
  2. Is Rio Tinto Limited really a bargain?
  3. CRASH: Why the Godfreys Group Ltd share price was smashed today
  4. BHP Billiton share price sinks below $15 and could fall further
  5. Why these 7 ASX blue-chip shares are getting crushed
  6. Will the South32 Ltd share price tumble lower?

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.