SYDNEY- The Australian share market has closed one per cent higher, led by Westfield and other property companies, following a strong lead from the US overnight and well received company reports locally.

At the 1615 AEST close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 48.7 points, or 1.11 per cent, at 4454.5, close to the 10-month high 4465.1 close on August 14.

The broader All Ordinaries index gained 46.9 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 4464.4.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the September share price index contract was 43 points higher at 4438 on a volume of 24,399 contracts.

"Today, we are continuing to follow the positive lead from the US," Macquarie Private Wealth adviser Helen Spencer said.

"Corporate reporting season has, to date, been very well received by the market."

Ms Spencer said property trusts were the standout performers on Wednesday on the back of the result from Westfield.

Westfield securities rose 58 cents, or 4.66 per cent, to $13.03 after the world's biggest owner of shopping centres said operating earnings gained 12.1 per cent to $1.04 billion.

Fellow property trust Stockland rose 19 cents, or 5.4 per cent, to $3.71, Mirvac gained eight cents, or 6.37 per cent, to $1.335, and GPT added four cents, or 7.48 per cent, to 57.5 cents.

US stocks made modest gains to new highs for the year on Tuesday after strong consumer confidence and home prices data and the nomination of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke to serve a second term.

The broad market Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 2.43 points to 1028.

The market was lifted by the major miners and banks, which include the largest five companies by market value.

BHP Billiton rose 35 cents to $38.15, while rival Rio Tinto added 54 cents to $58.94.

Westpac added 24 cents to $23.65. Commonwealth Bank added 31 cents to $44.62, NAB gained 10 cents to $27.08 and ANZ rose 17 cents to $19.97.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was US$947.60 per fine ounce at 1623 AEST, up US$1.85 on Tuesday's close of US$945.75.

Of the gold miners, Lihir Gold jumped 20 cents, or 7.81 per cent, at $2.76 after reporting a US$301 million (A$360.63 million) loss in the first half of 2009, but maintained guidance for production in the full year.

Newcrest added 20 cents at $29.01.

In other company news, Centro Properties Group, which nearly collapsed under its debt during the financial crisis, has increased its full-year loss to $3.54 billion as it slashed the value of its properties.

Centro fell 1.5 cents, or 8.82 per cent, to 15.5 cents.

Transurban Group added two cents to $4.17 after the Toll road operator said its business is well positioned and traffic volumes are holding up well during the global ecoomic downturn, after booking an improved net loss of $24.5 million.

Transfield Services advanced 32 cents, or 9.2 per cent, to $3.80 after it said it expected flat to modest profit growth this year pointing to a growing energy sector and renewables as medium-term growth opportunities, after reporting a net loss.

Asciano Group chief executive Mark Rowsthorn says the ports and rail operator expects "more of the same" in the 2010 financial year, after the company reported that full-year net profit halved to $71.76 million. Asciano securities fell three cents to $1.49.

Arrow Energy lifted its annual profit almost tenfold after receiving payments from oil giant Royal Dutch Shell for its stake in the Queensland company's coal seam gas tenements. Arrow fell 11 cents, or 2.38 per cent, to $4.52.

Macarthur Coal added 21 cents to $9.40, after it said higher coal prices helped drive a big jump in its annual net profit and it remained optimistic despite uncertainty in the world economy.

Seven Network gained 24 cents, or 3.74 per cent, to $6.66 after revealing a 91 per cent fall in net profit to $12.5 million for the year to June 27, mainly due to writedowns on its media assets and investment portfolio.

Health care provider Healthscope unveiled a full-year profit gain of 12.3 per cent and launched a capital raising seeking at least $140 million.

Healthscope is in a trading halt, having last traded for $4.53.

Regional airline operator Regional Express (REX) said earnings had been buffeted by the economic downturn but it still managed to turn in a profit at time when other carriers worldwide made losses.

REX fell two cents to $1.065.

IOOF Holdings said it planned to sell its life insurance unit after the wealth manager posted a 32 per cent drop in annual profit, its first result since merging with Australian Wealth Management.

IOOF rose 20 cents, or 4.2 per cent, to $4.96.

The most-traded stock by volume was Babcock and Brown Infrastructure (BBI) with 433.1 million shares worth $42.2 million changing hands.

BBI securities rose 5.2 cents, or 89.66 per cent, to 11 cents after it announced that it had agreed the terms of its separation from delisted investment firm Babcock & Brown Ltd.

Preliminary market turnover was 3.33 billion shares worth $5.96 billion, with 650 stocks up, 439 down and 320 unchanged.

- AAP