CBA hits record on March qtr earnings

Shares rise as lender posts an increase in cash earnings due to revenue growth.

Shares in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia have risen to a record high after the lender lifted its unaudited cash earnings by 16% in the March quarter, compared with the previous corresponding period.

Investors sent CBA shares 0.74% higher to $80.49 at 12.05pm (AEST), against a benchmark index decline of 0.22%.

In earlier trade, CBA shares reached as high as $80.67, a record high.

The lender's cash earnings rose to $2.2 billion in the three months to March 31, compared with $1.9bn in the prior corresponding period.

Unaudited statutory net profit rose to $2.3bn, compared with $1.9bn in the March 2013 quarter.

The bank attributed the rise to solid revenue growth and cost discipline, while trading income returned to normalised levels.

During the quarter, business momentum from the first half was maintained, with an increased focus on managing the trade-off between volumes and margins as competitive pressures in lending intensified, the bank said.

Sydney mortgage credit growth was moderate, while lower interest rates supported strong growth in new business activity, but this was balanced by higher levels of loan repayments.

Household deposit growth remained strong, while commercial lending growth remained subdued, the bank said.

CBA said credit quality was stable, with impaired assets unchanged at $3.9bn and strong provisioning levels maintained.

The bank completed previously announced property transactions, resulting in an $11bn fall in funds under administration, with another $4bn to follow in the fourth quarter.

The bank said it maintained strong liquidity, with liquid assets standing at $144bn.

The group's Common Equity Tier 1 ratio at March 31 was 8.5%, the same as at December 31.

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