Wesfarmers lifts first-half profit

The Australian stock market opened little changed following a mixed performance on Wall Street overnight. At the 1015 AEDT official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.19 per cent to 5,402.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index rose 0.19 per cent to 5,412.2 points. In local economic news on Wednesday, the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Indexes of Economic Activity is due out. In Australia, the market on Tuesday closed slightly higher as gains from mining giant BHP Billiton's strong profit results were dragged down by a disappointing result from Coca-Cola Amatil. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 9.9 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 5,392.8 points. The broader All Ordinaries index was up 7.4 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,402.2 points.

Wesfarmers Ltd has lifted its interim profit by more than 10%, driven by strong earnings growth across its retail portfolio, particularly Coles and Bunnings.

In the six months to December 31, Wesfarmers posted a net profit of $1.43 billion, an 11.2% increase on the $1.26 billion recorded in the first half of fiscal 2013.

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