Aust shares market end higher on solid company earnings

The local share market has finished higher, with sentiment boosted in part by strong earnings results from companies both domestically and in the United States.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Thursday finished up 23.4 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7,639.2, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 24.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7,875.2.

The gains came after a rally on Wall Street, where the S&P500 finished at an all-time high of just under 5,000 as Ford Motor Company, The Walt Disney Company, Uber Technologies, CVS Health and Chipotle Mexican Grill all beat analysts' forecasts.

The ASX's AGL, Cochlear and Cochlear all similarly surprised to the upside on Wednesday, with dual-listed News Corp doing likewise as Australian reporting season gathered steam.

Indeed, AGL posted the biggest gains in the ASX200 on Thursday, soaring 10.3 per cent to a two-week high of $8.80 after announcing a return to profit and more than tripling its interim dividend.

AGL made $576 million, compared to a loss of $1.075 billion a year ago, a result it said was driven by fewer plant outages and more stable market conditions.

Cochlear rose 4.4 per cent to $304.74 after the hearing implant company upgraded its 2023/24 guidance, citing better-than-expected half-year revenue growth of 25 per cent, with 14 per more units sold.

The company won't report audited results until February 19 but said it expects to announce an underlying half-year profit of $385 million to $400 million, a 26 to 31 per cent increase from a year ago and roughly eight per cent more than previous guidance.

Mirvac grew 4.7 per cent to a four-month high of $2.24 after the property developer announced a first-half operating after-tax profit of $252 million, down from $305 million a year ago.

"We delivered a solid first-half result, executing our key strategic objectives," said managing director and chief executive Campbell Hanan.

On the flip side, REA Group fell 4.2 per cent to a two-week low of $176.43 after the realestate.com.au owner announced its half-year profit grew by 22 per cent to $250 million.

E&P Capital analyst Entcho Raykovski called it a solid result and said the company had beaten earnings estimates, but noted that REA was also forecasting higher operating costs than previously predicted.

Its majority owner, News Corp, did better, climbing 6.3 per cent to $41.85 after posting $US473 million ($725 million) in second-quarter operating earnings, up 16 per cent from a year ago.

"This is a strong result from News Corp, with Dow Jones, Books and Digital Real Estate all higher than our estimates," Mr Raykovski said.

In industrials, Transurban fell 1.0 per cent to $13.19 after the toll road operator announced its half-year earnings were up 7.5 per cent, with traffic growth across all markets.

In the heavyweight mining sector, Fortescue added 0.5 per cent to $28.48, Rio Tinto dipped 0.3 per cent to $129.28 and BHP was little changed at $46.42.

All of the Big Four banks were higher, with CBA climbing 1.2 per cent to $115.87, NAB adding 1.0 per cent to $32.46, ANZ 0.8 per cent higher at $2765 and Westpac up by 0.6 per cent to $24.41.

In the energy sector, uranium developers continued their bull run, with Bannerman Energy gaining 7.9 per cent to a 12-year high of $3.95 and Deep Yellow climbing 3.4 per cent to a similar high of $1.675.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.20 US cents, from 65.30 at Wednesday's ASX close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 23.4 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7,639.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 24.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 7,875.2

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.30 US cents, from 65.30 US cents at Wednesday's ASX close

* 96.90 Japanese yen, from 96.63 yen

* 60.44 Euro cents, from 60.67 Euro cents

* 51.61 British pence, from 51.80 pence

* 106.72 NZ cents, from 106.99 NZ cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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