Strong CBA earnings power ASX higher

Stellar results from Commonwealth Bank have pushed the Australian share market higher for second day, even as the mining sector lost ground.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished Wednesday up 32.9 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7,088.2, with CBA accounting for 60 per cent of the day's gains.

The broader All Ordinaries index meanwhile climbed 33.9 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7,185.3.

Investors jumped on Commonwealth Bank after it beat profit guidance by over $100 million and flagged that it was considering returning excess capital to shareholders, sending CBA stock up 4.1 per cent to a five-year high of $88.18.

With earnings season in full swing, IDP Education shares soared 28.4 per cent to an all-time high of $21.42 after the international education specialist reported a 42 per cent increase in first-half net profit, to $57.7 million.

Blood products giant CSL gained 0.8 per cent to $328.25 after announcing a 11 per cent leap in first-half profit, to $1.9 billion, and upgraded its full-year profit guidance.

Carsales.com rose 8.3 per cent to an all-time high of $19.09 after reporting a 22 per cent increase in first-half profit to $71.2 million despite lacklustre Australian new car sales.

Bapcor rose 6.1 per cent to a two-month high of $7.11 after the Autobarn owner reported first-half profit was up 5.1 per cent to $45.3 million.

Tasmanian salmon farming company Tassal Group rose 11.9 per cent to a six-month high of $4.61 after reporting first-half profit was up 24.3 per cent to $40.8 million after it grew bigger salmon and sold more prawns.

Blackmores fell 12.8 per cent to a four-month low of $78 after the vitamin maker scrapped its interim dividend and slashed its full-year outlook, saying the coronavirus epidemic was challenging its China sales and supply.

All four big banks were higher, with ANZ up 0.8 per cent to $26.34, NAB up 0.9 per cent to $26.13 and Westpac gaining 0.6 per cent to $25.25.

Macquarie Group rose 1.9 per cent to $148.26.

IAG gained 0.2 per cent to $6.88 after the insurance giant said bushfire claims knocked its first-half profit down 43 per cent to $283 million.

Goodman Group gained 0.8 per cent to $15.40 after announcing that Brambles chairman Stephen Johns would become chairman of the industrial property manager in November.

While the day was positive overall, six of the ASX's 11 sectors were in the red.

The telecom sector fell the most, by 0.66 per cent, as Telstra dipped 1.8 per cent to $3.82 ahead of its earnings announcement on Thursday.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP dropped 0.4 per cent to $38.40, Rio Tinto fell 1.2 per cent to $97.50 and Fortescue and South32 were both flat.

Goldminer Evolution Mining rose 2.6 per cent to $4 after doubling its dividend to seven cents a share following record half-year results.

The Aussie dollar meanwhile is buying 67.29 US cents, from 67.16 US cents at Tuesday's close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 32.9 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 7,088.2 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 33.9 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 7,185.3 points.

* At 1711 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up five points, or 0.07 per cent, at 7,025 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.29 US cents, from 67.16 US cents on Tuesday

* 73.94 Japanese yen, from 73.81yen

* 61.68 euro cents, from 61.57 cents

* 51.93 British pence, from 52.00 pence

* 104.21 NZ cents, from 104.99 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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