Australia stocks higher at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 up 0.41%

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At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.41% to hit a new 6-months high.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Polynovo Ltd (ASX:PNV), which rose 7.26% or 0.180 points to trade at 2.660 at the close. Meanwhile, Netwealth Group Ltd (ASX:NWL) added 5.59% or 0.84 points to end at 15.87 and Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX:APT) was up 5.22% or 7.00 points to 141.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Megaport Ltd (ASX:MP1), which fell 5.46% or 0.70 points to trade at 12.12 at the close. Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX:WHC) declined 4.55% or 0.080 points to end at 1.680 and Pro Medicus Ltd (ASX:PME) was down 4.40% or 1.93 points to 41.97.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 798 to 566 and 334 ended unchanged.

Shares in Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX:APT) rose to all time highs; up 5.22% or 7.00 to 141.00.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 8.59% to 14.021.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.71% or 13.05 to $1853.25 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in March rose 0.76% or 0.40 to hit $53.38 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.66% or 0.37 to trade at $56.27 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.55% to 0.7738, while AUD/JPY rose 0.39% to 80.25.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.22% at 90.273.