The West

Australian stocks were firmer mid-session, with resources companies leading the market higher amid broad-based gains.

At 10.20am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 25.3 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 4338.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had risen 26.6 points, or 0.61 per cent to 4358.2 points.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was 22 points higher at 4339 points, with 17,806 contracts traded.

The local market opened 0.8 per cent firmer, as investors took their cues from offshore as Wall Street closed at its highest level since December 2007.

Market players also cheered the European Central Bank's (ECB) announced plan to help ailing euro zone countries in the bond market.

However, IG Markets analyst Cameron Peacock said the measures did little to fix the structural issues in the struggling European economies.

"The market is rallying on the back of central bank stimulus as opposed to any real benefits in the economic fundamentals of these economies," Mr Peacock said.

He said iron ore prices also remained under pressures, which may also have played some part in the easing back of the market since the open.

The market was also looking ahead to the release the US non-farm payrolls figures - a key employment indicator in the world's largest economy - due on Friday night (AEST).

"You are really unsure how the market is going to react to that data," Mr Peacock said.

Metals and minerals stocks were the best-performing sector at noon, having risen 2.08 per cent, according to IRESS data.

Materials stocks (up 1.82 per cent) and industrial stocks (up 1.38 per cent) were also doing well.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1,695.10 per fine ounce, down $US8.45 from Thursday's local close of $US1,703.55 per ounce.

Making news today, the Jamie Packer controlled pay-tv investment vehicle Consolidated Media Holdings has backed a revised takeover offer from Rupert Murdoch's Australian arm News Ltd.

CMH was down two cents at $3.42, while News was up 42 cents at $23.94 and its non-voting scrip was 44 cents higher at $23.71.

National turnover was 857.9 million securities worth $1.9 billion, with 519 stocks up, 255 down and 293 unchanged.

The West Australian

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