ASX holds early gains mid-session
ASX holds early gains mid-session

The Australian sharemarket was higher mid-session as investors wait to see if the US central bank would move to stimulate the sputtering US economy.

The US Federal Reserve meets tonight.

At 10am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 24.6 points, or 0.6 per cent, higher at 4147.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 24.9 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 4192.3 points.

On the ASX 24, the June share price index futures contract was up 22 points at 4150 points, with 56,178 contracts traded.

"I think the market is in a band of caution ahead of the US Fed meeting tonight," City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said.

"It's really going to dictate whether there's hope or disappointment.

"I think the Fed acknowledges inaction won't be well received."

In local news on Wednesday, media giant News Ltd has made a $1.97 billion takeover bid for James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings.

At 10.11am, Consolidated Media shares were up 30 cents, or 9.74 per cent, at $3.38. News Corp was two cents higher at $20.06, and its non-voting stock lifted four cents to $19.81.

Casinos operator Echo Entertainment, in which Mr Packer holds a stake of 10 per cent, was six cents higher, at $4.31.

Elsewhere in the media sector, Fairfax was 0.5 cents higher at 60 cents.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton was 14 cents richer at $32.63, and Rio Tinto found $1.10 at $57.87.

Among the major banks, National Australia Bank added 55 cents to $23.50, Westpac improved 43 cents to $21.23, ANZ picked up 11 cents at $21.79, and Commonwealth Bank stepped forward 62 cents to $52.21.

At 10.19am, national turnover was 750.2 million shares worth $1.64 billion, with 483 stocks up, 350 down and 331 unchanged.

On Wall Street on Tuesday, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95.51 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 12,837.33 points.

The West Australian

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