Cash earnings for 2012 of $6.6 billion beat consensus estimates of $6.46 billion and also topped the highest forecast too.
In a note, Credit Suisse said that the dividend per share of 0.84 cents was 1 per cent better than what it was expecting but in line with market forecasts. It also noted that compositionally, the 2012 pre-provision profit was in line with expectations, with revenues 1 per cent better, costs 1 per cent higher and lower-than-expected bad debts.
Credit Suisse also said that divisionally, earnings growth was broadly based. It didn’t give an earnings guidance statement, although Westpac does not expect a continued decline in stressed assets.
Goldman Sachs also viewed the result positively. It said pre-provision operating profit of $10.7 billion was ahead of its expectations by 1.6 per cent. With net interest margins and volume broadly in line with expectations, the better-than-expected result came from non-interest income – primarily driven by higher wealth income.
However, the market has ignored the positive result and chosen to sell into the early strength. Westpac managed to open up more than 1 per cent but quickly came under pressure as last week’s theme of profit taking among financials continued in earnest this morning.