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CBA, AMP and miners boost Aust shares

James Hall
Australian shares have closed higher with financial and mining stocks lifting the market

The Australian share market has lifted on Wednesday courtesy of strong investor responses to profit reports from Commonwealth Bank, AMP and Tabcorp as well as a lift in mining stocks.

The benchmark ASX/S&P200 closed up 14.6 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,268.5 points, while the All Ordinaries was 14.1 points, or 0.22 per cent, higher at 6,354.9 points.

Results from CBA, AMP and Tabcorp got the August reporting season well underway and the market has responded positively, CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

"It's clear that results are one of the key focuses for investors with Commonwealth Bank and AMP both responding very positively," he said.

Commonwealth Bank reported a five per cent drop in cash profit to $9.23 billion, due largely to a $700 million penalty paid to AUSTRAC after it admitted to 5breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism funding laws.

But Mr McCarthy a five-point expansion in the bank's net interest margin caught many by surprise.

CBA shares ended the day $1.92, or 2.6 per cent, higher at $74.81.

AMP's half-year profit plunged by 74 per cent due to the embattled wealth management company setting aside $290 million to refund and compensate customers it overcharged for financial advice.

Its underlying profit - excluding the compensation provisions - was $495 million, down from $533 million and AMP shares lifted 13 cents, or 3.9 per cent, to $3.48.

Tabcorp rose 34 cents, or 7.6 per cent, to a six-month high of $4.84 after posting a net profit of $28.7 million for 2017/18 - turning around a loss a year earlier caused by costs from its Tatts merger.

Positive leads from overseas markets as well as the strengthening of industrial commodities assisted shares mining shares, Mr McCarthy said.

"The US dollar did soften and commodities generally were buoyant, but there was good support for aluminium and copper, iron ore and there was a bit of a rally in oil which added to the better picture for material stocks," he said.

BHP lifted one per cent to $33.94, Rio Tinto added one per cent to $77.19 and South32 was up 1.2 per cent to $3.52.

The Australian dollar was buying 74.23 US cents at 1700 AEST, near-level with its 74.24 US cents reading on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed up 14.6 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 6,268.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 14.1 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 6,354.9 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up five points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,207 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.23 US cents, from 74.24 US cents on Tuesday

* 82.473 Japanese yen, from 82.68

* 63.91 euro cents, from 64.11

* 57.37 British pence, from 57.24

* 109.98 NZ cents, from 110.16

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,214.10 per fine ounce, down from $US1,212.85 per fine ounce on Tuesday.