CommBank touches record high as market edges higher

The sharemarket has outperformed other markets in the Asian region, as strength in the banking sector pushed it higher.

The sharemarket has outperformed other markets in the Asian region, as strength in the banking sector pushed it higher.

At the close on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 4.3 points at 5046.3, while the broader All Ordinaries edged 4.1 points higher to 5027.9.

Commonwealth Bank shares closed at a record high, helping offset falls by energy stocks and metals companies.

Activity on the market was low, as investors waited for this week's central bank meeting in the US.

"Asia is not looking too flash at present," IG chief market strategist Chris Weston said. "The fact the ASX 200 has held up so well is positive, with financials and materials providing support."

Japan's market fell 3.32 per cent as investors worried about talk of a delay to an anticipated increase in the country's consumption tax. A debt review in China had hurt sentiment on its market.

Commonwealth Bank added 21¢ to $73.86, above its previous best closing price of $73.49 in May. Westpac gained 30¢ to $30.82, National Australia Bank gained 16¢ to $31.16 and ANZ was 23¢ higher at $29.64.

In the resource sector, BHP dropped 5¢ to $34.55, Rio Tinto shed 13¢ to $57.11 and Fortescue Metals added 4¢ to $3.65.

Newcrest lost 26¢ to $12.15, while OZ Minerals shed 8¢ to $4.05 after warning it would take a hit of up to $240 million in its first-half results.

Energy companies also fell, with Woodside down 28¢ at $37.50 and Santos down 17¢ at $13.64.

The Australian dollar dipped as the slide on the Japanese market dented the popularity of higher-yielding currencies. Late on Monday, the dollar was at US92.45¢, down from US92.54¢ on Friday.

This strengthened the yen against the greenback and the Australian dollar, as the weak share prices of car exporters Toyota and Honda dented risk sentiment.

The dollar is expected to trade above US92¢ until Thursday morning, when the US Federal Reserve finishes its two-day policy meeting.

The Federal Open Markets Committee is expected to make an announcement on the timing of the tapering of its $US85 billion monthly bond-buying program.

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