Heavyweights CBA & CSL boost local market: Aus shares 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local sharemarket has pushed higher in the first two hours of trade , boosted by solid results from market heavyweights CSL (ASX:CSL) and CBA (ASX:CBA).Shares in CBA have risen 3.3 per cent following its strong half year result. CSL is also up almost 1 per cent after raising its full year profit guidance by 2.9 per cent. Education provider IDP is up 28 per cent after the company left its earnings outlook unchanged despite the coronavirus. Going the other way, Blackmores is weighing on the market. The vitamin maker plummeted 16 per cent after releasing a full-year profit warning due to the coronavirus

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.5 per cent or 31 points higher at 7087 . On the futures market the SPI is 33 points higher.

Broker moves  

Macquarie has downgraded investment management company, Challenger (ASX:CGF) to Neutral from Outperform. The downgrade comes despite the company's announcement yesterday that full year profit is expected to be around the top end of the guidance range . The broker says it continues to like the company's long term growth thematic, but the stock has risen 60% since June and 25 per cent in 2020, including 14 per cent yesterday. shares in challenger are 0.7 per cent higher 10.17

Company news

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has announced net profit of $4.47 billion for the six months to December 31 2019. The result is 4.3 per cent lower than the year earlier period but beat consensus of $4.43 billion. The bank’s group net interest margin (NIM) of 2.11 per cent was up 1 basis point (bpt) on 2H19 . The Board declared an interim dividend of $2.00 per share, fully franked. UBS says the result was solid and CBA continues to operationally outperform its peers. shares in CBA (ASX:CBA) are up 3.1 per cent to $87.35.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is financials, adding 1.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is materials is down 0.7.  The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP education (ASX:IEL) rising around 28 per cent to $21.27, followed by shares in CARSALES.COM (ASX:CAR) and Bapcor (ASX:BAP) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Blackmores (ASX:BKL), dropping 16 per to $75.40 followed by shares in Orora (ASX:ORA) and Beach (ASX:BPT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,568 an ounce.
Iron ore up 4.9 per cent to $86.93
Iron ore futures rise 1.9 per cent
One Australian dollar is buying 67.290US cents