S&P/ASX 200 gets energy hit as Rio Tinto Limited shares soar

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is on track to record its sixth consecutive session in the black, continuing what has turned out to be a rather generous Santa Rally.

The main bourse was trading 36 points, or 0.7% higher at 5153 points at roughly 12:00pm (Sydney time) on Wednesday, up from a two-and-a-half-year low of 4909 points just one week ago. It took its lead from international equity markets following a bumper night on Wall Street, while a lift in oil prices is also encouraging investors.

Fittingly, most of Australia’s oil and gas shares are trading higher today, led by none other than BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL). The pair have risen 3% and 1.1% respectively, while Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) and Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) have also gained 2.1% and 1.7%.

The major banks are also having a better day after all four finished in the red on Tuesday. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) have both risen more than 1%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) have risen a modest 0.6% each.

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) is the best performing blue chip share, up 5.3% at $44.46, while Aurizon Holdings Ltd (ASX: AZJ) is languishing 11.4% below yesterday’s closing price at $4.37.

Although the ASX has rebounded strongly from its recent low, economists still expect it will climb considerably further in 2016. As such, now could be an excellent time to start topping up your brokerage account and buying shares in some of Australia’s best, and fastest growing companies.

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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.

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