Positive reactions to earnings reports from several major companies have pushed the share market higher.
Morning trade had been mildly positive despite a negative lead from US markets, IG market strategist Stan Shamu said.
"We've started off fairly well, and I think that's down to some mostly positive earnings reports today," he said.
"We've had some fairly big surprises.
"AMP, Leighton Holdings, Fairfax, and Myer is continuing to talk up this David Jones situation as well."
Myer has again called on rival David Jones to consider a merger between the two department stores, sending Myer shares up 10.5 cents to $2.565, while David Jones had climbed 5.5 cents to $3.255.
Fairfax Media shares had soared 15 cents, or 21 per cent, to 86.5 cents after it reported improved underlying profit and earnings in the first half of the financial year.
Shares in construction and engineering group Leighton were up $1.01 to $17.42 after it lifted full year profit by 13 per cent.
AMP shares were 38.5 cents higher at $4.885 after its full year profit came in ahead of expectations, despite a two per cent fall in full year profit.
Mr Shamu said iron ore stocks had also edged higher despite a pullback in iron ore prices.
Fortescue Metals was up nine cents at $5.93, BHP Billiton was up 41 cents at $39.15 and Rio Tinto was 36 cents higher at $70.56.
The key catalyst for the market in afternoon trade would be the release of manufacturing data from China, Mr Shamu said.
- At 1234 AEDT on Thursday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 21 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 5,429.2 points.
- The broader All Ordinaries index was up 22.1 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 5,437.6 points.
- The March share price index futures contract was up 17 points at 5,394 points, with 14,144 contracts traded.
- National turnover was 1.02 billion securities worth $2.5 billion.