Australian shares were half a per cent higher mid-session as hopes continued for improvement in the European debt crisis amid mixed local earnings results.

At 10.00am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 21.8 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 4299.1 while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 21.2 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 4291.1.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was six points higher at 4261, with 10,504 contracts traded.

IG Markets dealer Chris Weston said the macro situation was still very hit and miss, with market watchers expecting pressure on Spanish yields this week which could put downward pressure on European equities.

"These markets, globally are being supported on stimulus expectations which could dissipate," Mr Weston said.

He also doubts the US Federal Reserve will release a full blown quantitative easing package in September.

Mr Weston said there had been some interesting price action in early morning local trade, with Newcrest, Bluescope, Downer EDI and JB Hi-Fi releasing better than expected earnings results, while UGL and James Hardie were both under pressure.

"Companies that have been heavily beaten up earlier this year are coming out with a slightly more positive investment thesis and people are changing tack slightly," he said.

At 10.25am, Newcrest Mining shares rose 97 cents, or 4 per cent, higher $25.30 after its full year profit rose 23 per cent due to rising gold prices.

JB Hi-Fi shares were up 65 cents, or seven per cent to $9.82, after it said its full year profit had fallen 5 per cent but it expected sales to grow in the year ahead.

Downer EDI posted a net profit of $112.8 million for the year to June 30 causing its shares to rise 34 cents, or 10.9 per cent, to $3.46.

Engineering firm UGL's shares fell $1.11, or 8.7 per cent to $11.75, after its full year profit dropped by 15 per cent.

Building products maker James Hardie Industries posted an improved net profit of $US68.5 million ($A65.02 million) for the three months to June 30, causing the company's shares to fall 4.5 per cent to $7.90.

US stocks inched down for most of Friday before the Dow Jones industrial average turned positive 45 minutes before the end of trading, ending up 42.76 points higher at 13,207.95.

National turnover at 10.35am was 732 million shares worth $1.4 billion, with 452 up, 284 down and 320 unchanged.

The West Australian

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