Aust stocks higher at noon

Local market holds morning gains after optimism a Syria strike might be avoided.

The Australian stock market held early gains at noon following gains on Wall Street, where stocks rose on optimism that a military strike on Syria might be avoided.

At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.45% to 5,205, while the broader All Ordinaries index lifted 0.44% to 5,202.4.

In economic news, the National Australia Bank's monthly business survey for August showedbusiness confidence at a two-year high.

Materials were mostly higher.

BHP Billiton rose 0.76% to $35.91, while Rio Tinto added 1.54% to $62.905.

Fortescue Metals was 1.01% higher at $4.495.

Whitehaven Coal fell 0.23% to $2.145 and Newcrest retreated 0.49% to $13.175.

In the energy sector, Santos lost 0.77% to $14.875, Oil Search inched up 0.12% to $8.54 and Woodside edged 0.05% higher to $39.22.

In Australia, the market on Monday finished half a% higher, buoyed by a decisive election result and positive news from China and Japan.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 36.5 points, or 0.71%, higher at 5,181.5.

The broader All Ordinaries index was up 35.4 points, or 0.69%, at 5,179.4.