ASX passes 5,000 points on strong results
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Australian shares have risen to their highest levels in intra-day trade for nearly three years, with the key S&P/ASX200 index breaking through the 5,000-point barrier.
Strong earnings from companies reporting on Wednesday, including a first-half record $3.66 billion profit from the Commonwealth Bank (CBA), boosted the benchmark index above 5,000 during morning trade - a level last seen in April 2010.
BBY institutional dealer Anson Rosewall said impressive earnings results from the CBA, blood products company CSL and construction group Leighton Holdings had lifted the market.
"We also got a nice kick up from the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index," Mr Rosewall said.
The measure of consumer confidence recorded a 7.7 per cent rise to 108.3, where readings above 100 indicate a net positive mood in the economy.
"That's the highest reading since the last quarter of 2010," Mr Rosewall said.
"It's a very strong reading and you've seen a lot of allocation back into retailers on the market - that space is certainly coming back to life."
The S&P/ASX200 was at 5007.8 at 1149 AEST, up 48.8 points or almost one per cent while the broader All Ordinaries Index was 5026.5, up 45 points or 0.9 per cent.
CSL posted a 24 per cent rise in first half profit, while construction Leighton returned to profitability with an interim profit of $450.1 million.
CBA shares, CSL and Leighton all saw strong rises in their share prices on the back of their earnings results.
Mr Rosewall said the strong local market was only partially influenced by overseas factors, such as the US Dow Jones Industrial Average rising to a five-year high of 14,018.70 overnight and increased oil demand forecasts from OPEC.
A positive lead from local companies has the potential to set the tone for the rest of reporting season, he said.
"The first couple of days of earnings season are usually quite telling," he said.
"If in the first couple of days the results are quite pleasing, people will take the view that the rest of the season will follow that theme."