CBA record helps crack the 5000 barrier - and it sticks
The sharemarket rallied past the psychologically important 5000-point barrier this week, thanks in large part to a record profit from the Commonwealth Bank on Wednesday.
Australia's biggest bank beat market expectations with a $3.78 billion half-year profit, the announcement taking the bank's market capitalisation to $108 billion.
It helped the market to close above 5000 points on Wednesday for the first time since April 2010, and the index managed to stay above that level for the next two days - even after a weak performance from the big miners on Friday saw the market shed 3 points.
For the week, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 climbed 62.6 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5033.9, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 65.2 points, or 1.3 per cent, at 5054.6.
There has been some talk recently that global stockmarkets are rising too quickly and that the global rally is due for a correction of some kind.
The local market has risen by 26 per cent since its recent low in June 2012, when it slumped to 3985 points. But some analysts said this week that they still believed the market was likely to continue rising in the near term, though at a slower rate.
"The easy gains are probably priced out of the market, probably due for some sort of consolidation, but I wouldn't be saying equities are clearly expensive here," David Cassidy from UBS said.
"I think they're still OK, they still look better than bonds. I still think the more likely trend on a three- to six-month view will be a bit higher." For the week, AGL Energy rose 8¢ to $15.21, after the company received approval for the first stage of a new coal seam gas project in NSW.
ANZ slipped 35¢ to $27.77 amid disappointment at its first quarter earnings result.
The bank's underlying cash profit rose 6.3 per cent to $1.53 billion in the three months to December 31, but its statutory net profit fell by nearly a fifth to $1.36 billion due to accounting adjustments linked to foreign exchange rates and basis hedge valuations.
Boral shares lost 12¢, at $4.88, after the building products maker said it was banking on further recovery for US housing but said the Australian market was too volatile to predict.
Commonwealth Bank rose $2.20, at $67.03, after it said its home loan rates could be cut independently of cash rate movements, as improving economic conditions helped it post another record profit.
David Jones rose 6¢ to $2.69, after the department store said it planned to focus on better-performing fashion and beauty categories by ditching DVDs, music and games.
Goodman Fielder rose 2.5¢ to 71.5¢, after it said prices alone would not enough to boost its underperforming bakery operations, which is the group's biggest business.
Leighton Holdings rose $2.38, at $22.68, after the construction giant returned to profitability and said it was better placed to pick the right infrastructure projects after a couple of disastrous years of losses.
Rio Tinto gained 55¢ to $70.15, after the global miner said it would slash costs and sell poorly performing assets after posting its first-ever net loss, almost $3 billion for 2012.
Wesfarmers rose 92¢ at $39.55. The supermarket price wars seem far from over, with Wesfarmers chief Richard Goyder looking to increase Coles' sales and cut costs further.