Market edges higher mid-session

The Australian sharemarket has edged higher after a morning of mixed trade driven by earnings results.

At 9.35am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 7.3 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5070.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 8.1 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5091 points.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up four points at 5046 points, with 10,078 contracts traded.

IG Markets market strategist Evan Lucas said the local bourse had seen its fair share of ups and downs in early trade, following weaker European markets overnight and the closure of Wall Street for the President's Day public holiday.

"It's a bit of a yo-yo at the moment," he said.

"Earnings season this morning has again dominated a bit of the moves in what's going on.

"We've seen some fairly big ups and big downs on earnings guidance that have either missed or really blown the lights out.

"The market is looking for a reason to maybe take a bit of profit, but every time it happens the dips are snapped up."

Among the biggest movers was engineering firm Monadelphous, whose shares fell $1.70 cents, or 6.1 per cent, to $26.15, despite posting a record half year result of $79.1 million.

Mr Lucas said the negative reaction to Monadelphous' results was surprising but reflected the impact of reduced discretionary spending by big miners on mining services.

Sonic Healthcare also lost ground amid fears its annual earnings will come in at the lower end of its previous forecasts.

The pathology and radiology provider's net profit increased by 5.4 per cent to $150.6 million in the half year to December 31.

Its shares shed 93 cents, or 6.62 per cent, to $13.12.

Meanwhile, stocks in Southern Cross Media were 11 cents higher, or 8.94 per cent, at $1.34, after reporting a 52 per cent drop in half year net profit to $45.13 million.

The rally came after the broadcaster said advertising markets were showing signs of improvement.

Shares in APN News and Media fell by two cents, or 6.67 per cent, to 28 cents following the forced departure of the company's chief executive, chairman and three independent directors.

Transfield Services also dived by 10 cents, or 4.76 per cent, to $2.00 after it warned it would have to make up to $285 million in asset writedowns.

The big four retail banks, as well as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, remained relatively flat.

National turnover was 810 million securities worth $2.18 billion.

The West Australian

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