Better times have arrived on the Australian sharemarket. The ASX 200 index topped the 5000 mark last week for the first time in three years.
Radio New Zealand's Sydney correspondent says investors have been encouraged by not only better news offshore, but a domestic earnings season which has not proved as bad as many feared.
Helping the bank sector was news of a record half-year profit of $A3.8 billion by Commonwealth Bank. CSL, Wesfarmers and Telstra have also not disappointed.
The better mood on the share market is mirrored by feelings among consumers.
The latest Westpac consumer sentiment index is at its highest level in more than two years in an apparent reaction to lower interest rates, the rising sharemarket and the calling of the federal election.