Aust shares open firmer on good results
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BRISBANE, Feb 18 AAP - The Australian share market is firmer as local earnings results overshadow a weaker finish on US markets.
At 1020 AEDT on Monday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.9 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5,053.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 20.7 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 5,075.3 points.
On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was up 34 points at 5,029 points, with 8,227 contracts traded.
Local earnings reports helped the local market open stronger.
RBS Morgans senior equities adviser Tony Russell said that while Monday's earnings results didn't directly influence the Australian market, they set a positive tone and helped investors overlook Wall Street's weak finish on Friday.
"At the moment, the Australian market is focused on our company profits," he told AAP.
"It's continuing the strong performance of last week despite more subdued markets overseas."
BlueScope Steel's shares rose more than seven per cent after the manufacturer reported a $12 million loss for the first half of the financial year, compared to $530 million loss for the same period last year.
The company also said it expected continuing improvement in its underlying profit.
It's shares were up 28 cents, or 7.43 per cent, at 1053 AEDT.
Builder and developer Lend Lease said its first half profit had risen 39 per cent to $302.3 million, adding that its Australian business delivered much of the profit growth.
However, its shares were down two cents to $10.67.
Packaging company Amcor said its first half profit was up 16 per cent to $238 million, and forecast growth in its underlying profit for the full financial year.
Its shares added 28.5 cents to $9.20.
Meanwhile, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank shares added 28 cents to $10.13 after it said its first half profit had more than tripled to $189.4 million.
Three of the big four banks were also firmer, with Westpac adding 58 cents to $29.73, National Australia Bank putting on 41 cents to $29.91 and ANZ adding 34 cents to $28.11.
But the Commonwealth Bank of Australia went backwards, losing $1.02 to $66.00.
US markets closed mixed on Friday after reports suggested retail giant Walmart has had a disastrous February.
The Dow Jones was up 8.37 points at 13,981.76, but the broad-based S&P 500 lost 1.59 points to 1,519.79, and the Nasdaq shed 6.63 points to 3,192.03.
National turnover at 1023 AEDT was 342.23 million securities worth $1.810 billion.