The Australian stock market is slightly higher at noon after consumer confidence hit a three-year high and United States President Barack Obama said he would delay a Congress vote on a Syria strike.
At 1205 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 0.35% to 5,219.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 0.32% to 5,215.3 points.
In economic news, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released lending finance data for July, showing business finance slumped while personal lending lifted.
The Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment showed consumer confidence rose to a three-year high as low interest rates and political optimism boosted sentiment.
Materials were mixed, with the major miners gaining.
BHP Billiton rose 0.95% to $36.24, while Rio Tinto added 1.67% to $63.93.
Fortescue Metals was 3.88% higher at $4.685.
Whitehaven Coal lifted 0.69% to $2.185 and Newcrest retreated 3.14% to $12.485.
In the energy sector, Santos lost 1.21% to $14.73, Oil Search slipped 0.59% to $8.45 and Woodside fell 1.97% to $38.28.
Financials were mostly stronger, with three of the big four banks in the black.
Commonwealth Bank added 0.11% to $73.98, while ANZ Banking Group lifted 0.53% to $30.33.
National Australia Bank added 0.6% to $33.64, while Westpac Banking Corporation fell 0.28% to $32.32.
Investment bank Macquarie Group rose 2.56% to $48.16.
In the insurance sector, QBE rallied 1.4% to $15.565, Insurance Australia Group rose 0.54% to $5.62 and Suncorp lifted 0.98% to $12.825.
The retail sector was
Wesfarmers was 0.11% higher at $40.935, while Woolworths fell 0.69% to $34.42.
Myer fell 0.17% to $2.915 while rival David Jones rose 1.22% to $2.915.
Harvey Norman lifted 1.45% to $3.155 and JB Hi-Fi rose 0.79% to $19.895.
In media, Fairfax Media rose 0.45% to 56.25 cents and 21st Century Fox inched up 0.11% to $34.84.
Ten Network rose 3.12% to 33 cents.
Southern Cross Media retreated 1.59% to $1.855, while Seven West lifted 2.02% to $2.53.
Meanwhile, Qantas added 1.09% to $1.39, while Telstra rose 0.21% to $4.85.
No major equities news is expected.
In Australia, the market yesterday approached its highest point for the year as investor confidence is boosted by a decisive federal election result and encouraging Chinese economic data.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 19.7 points, or 0.38%, to 5,201.2 points.
The broader All Ordinaries index added 19.5 points, or 0.38%, to 5,198.9 points.