Local shares enjoyed a strong return to form today, helping to ease the pain of recent losses.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) up 1.4% to 5082 points
  • ALL ORDINARIES (Index: ^AXAO) (ASX: XAO) up 1.4% to 5151 points
  • AUD/USD at US 76.56 cents
  • Iron Ore at US$54.18 a tonne, according to the Metal Bulletin
  • Gold at US$1,228.07 an ounce
  • Brent oil at US$39.64 a barrel

They’ve been the market laggards recently, but today they were its stars.

Each of Australia’s big four banks rose strongly, led by National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB). Its shares gained 2.3%, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) all rose between 1.5% and 2.2%.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) also rose more than 1.4% each, after strong gains in London overnight, while Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) lifted 2.1%.

IPH Limited (ASX: IPH) and Mesoblast limited (ASX: MSB) were two of the market’s top performers, rising 6.5% and 6.6%. EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) failed to rise with the market, falling 1.9% instead.

Here are Thursday’s top stories:

  1. What shares will you buy with your share of $19 billion in dividends?
  2. Down 36: Do Australia and New Zealand Banking Group shares have further to fall?
  3. 6 hot resources stocks on investors’ radars
  4. Worried about getting old? You should be
  5. How Medibank Private Ltd could slash costs and lift profits
  6. 4 ASX Technology Shares You Need to Know About
  7. Are you worried about your Westpac Banking Corp shares?

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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.