ASX 200 surges higher

The prospect of the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) hitting 6000 points within 12 months is looking more and more realistic as the benchmark index continued its climb today, surging past the 5400 point mark to hit a new five-year high of 5457.3 points in early afternoon trading.

The market was full of confidence ahead of full-year reports set to be released by ANZ (ASX: ANZ), Westpac (ASX: WBC) and NAB (ASX: NAB) over the coming fortnight. Investors are keenly anticipating an increase in dividend payouts, and have pushed the companies’ shares up 1.9%, 1.3% and 1.8% today, respectively. Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) also jumped 1.1%, ahead of its quarterly report which will be released early next month.

Australia’s largest miners also provided a significant boost for the market as commodity prices continue to defy expectations of a pullback. Iron ore realised a slight gain to US$133.30 per tonne despite analysts predicting that it would fall heading into the fourth quarter. BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue (ASX: FMG), which have all ramped up their production levels, were trading up 1.3%, 1.2% and 3.6%.

Foolish takeaway

Although the market has climbed ever higher, now is as good a time as ever to buy shares in quality companies, provided that they are still trading at attractive prices. Whilst they may currently be more difficult to find, there are still plenty of opportunities available!

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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