Why the S&P/ASX 200 is firing higher today

The local share market is shooting higher today, following the strong lead set by international equity markets overnight.

In the United States, the Dow Jones and NASDAQ indices rose 2.1% and 2.9% respectively, while the S&P 500 also rose an impressive 2.4%. Meanwhile in Europe, the FTSE 100 gained 0.9%, while Germany’s DAX rose 2.3%.

It’s still early here in Australia but the signs are suggesting a strong day as well with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) already trading 1.5% higher near the 5,000-point mark shortly after the market opened.

The rally appears to have been sparked by upbeat US manufacturing data, allaying fears that the world’s biggest economy could be facing another recession. There is also renewed optimism that central banks around the world will increase their stimulatory measures. China recently reduced its Reserve Requirement Ratio to pump more cash into the banking sector — with commodity prices rising on the news.

As such, it’s no real surprise that the country’s biggest mining shares are generating much of the energy in today’s rally. Shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) have gained 2.1% and 2.7%, respectively, while Woodside Petroleum Limited’s (ASX: WPL) share price has also gained 3.6%.

The banks are all steaming ahead, as well. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) has gained 3.4%, while its three major rivals are all sitting at least 2.6% higher. Elsewhere, Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) has gained 5%, Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) shares are up 1.9%, and CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) is up 1.2%.

Of course, the rally experienced over the last two days does not mean the recent bout of volatility has necessarily ended, nor does it mean that March will be better than either January or February were. However, there are signs that a number of Australia’s high-quality businesses have become oversold in recent months, and now could be an excellent time to start loading up.

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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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