Banks buoy market in year-high week

The sharemarket jumped above the 5100-level this week, hitting a high for the year on Tuesday when ANZ announced a 10 per cent jump in half-year earnings to $3.18 billion.

The sharemarket jumped above the 5100-level this week, hitting a high for the year on Tuesday when ANZ announced a 10 per cent jump in half-year earnings to $3.18 billion.

Shareholders cheered after it vowed to deliver a bigger slice of future profits, and its share price responded by jumping to a new high.

Much of the news was bank-related this week. On Friday Westpac announced a 10 per cent boost in half-year profits to $3.53 billion, and a fully franked dividend of 86¢ a share, up 4¢ on the same half last year.

The sharemarket closed flat for the day on Friday as investors reaped profits from booming bank stocks.

For the week, the broader benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 32 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5129.5, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 22.7 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5105.4.

The miners were out of favour compared with the big banks.

"Resources are cheap, disliked, under-owned and going to surprise everyone over the next few months with their 'unexpected rallies'," Goldman Sachs' Richard Coppleson wrote.

"Most don't believe this will happen, the crowd are staying away from resources and that is why they'll do well." But he also noted that it didn't stop investors rotating out of banks and into mining stocks a little on Friday afternoon.

"BHP and Rio were both better as a little bit of switching between the banks and resources took place," he said.

On Friday, the dollar was trading at US102.54¢, up from US102.36¢ the day before, after the European Central Bank cut its refinancing rate to a record low of 0.5 per cent. It also came after stronger US unemployment and trade data.

For the week, ANZ rose $1.72, or 5.8 per cent, to $31.60, after lifting its dividend and posting its half-year profit. Westpac jumped 98¢, or 3 per cent, to $33.55 after it lifted its first-half profit by 10 per cent and said it would pursue growth opportunities.

ASX gained 74¢, or 2 per cent, to $37.84. Greater activity on the sharemarket in the March quarter helped to lift the profit of the stock exchange by nearly 2 per cent in the first nine months of the financial year.

Macquarie Group soared $5.13, or 13.5 per cent, to $43.11, after the investment bank announced a 17 per cent rise in full-year profit.

Myer slumped 18¢, or 5.9 per cent, to $2.99. The retailer has been told to lift disability employment rates after CEO Bernie Brookes faced a storm of criticism for suggesting a plan to help millions of disabled Australians would damage profits.

Telstra rose 17¢, or 3.5 per cent, to $5.09. Australia's biggest telco maintained its full-year earnings guidance and is aiming to lift dividends.

Whitehaven Coal fell 10.5¢, or 5.4 per cent, to $1.84, after it said it was looking to find more cost savings as the miner battles weak coal prices and a high local currency.

Related Articles