SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market has added to its post-Easter gains midway through the session, propelled by the healthcare sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose by 23.8 points to 7589 at noon on Wednesday, representing a 0.31 per cent increase.

Shares in Ramsay Health Care, the country’s biggest private hospital operator, were up 25 per cent to $80.59 after it revealed a $20 billion bid by a consortium led by private equity giant KKR. The offer represents a premium of more than 36 per cent from Ramsay’s close on Tuesday.

The ASX health care index surged as a result, up 3.14 per cent to 40895.2 points. Almost all major health stocks, including CSL, ResMed, Sonic Healthcare and Cochlear are in the green.

Investors retained their upbeat post-Easter mood even as energy and commodity prices pulled back, denting the appetite for Australia’s big miners and oil and gas companies.

The US earnings season continues this week. Shares in Netflix were sold down heavily in the North American session after the streaming service reported an unexpected decline in first-quarter net subscribers.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was buying 74.05 US cents at 1200 AEST, compared to 73.57 US cents at noon on Tuesday.