Commonwealth Bank cash earnings up 8.6%

Commonwealth Bank has lifted its quarterly cash earnings for the March quarter by 8.6% to $1.9 billion, but says its deposit margins remained under pressure in the competitive market.

The bank’s cash earnings increased from $1.75 billion in the third quarter last year.

“Revenue growth continued to reflect a combination of conservative business settings and modest system credit growth,” CBA said in a statement this morning.

The net interest margin was driven higher for the quarter because of factors including prior period asset re-pricing, partly offset by higher funding costs.

Optus profits fall 7.5% for the year

Australia’s second-biggest telco has suffered a net profit drop of 7.5%, with Optus’s net profit falling to $728 million for the full year.

Optus’s free cashflow for the year also fell 4% to $1.07 billion, as a result of higher working capital.

The telco’s parent company SingTel reported “resilient earnings” this morning and cash flow growth of 9% for the full year.

Despite the increase in cashflow, the group’s net profits after exceptional terms declined 12% to $3.51 billion. SingTel attributed the lower revenue for the group (down 6%) to “lower revenues in Australia”.

Shares volatile

The Australian sharemarket opened higher this morning, following a lower Australian dollar and overseas leads, but after early gains the market had dropped 35.3 points by midday.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was 35.3 points lower at 5185.7.

Following positive third quarter earnings, Commonwealth Bank shares increased $0.95 to $72.09.

The Dow Jones was up 0.82% at close last night, gaining 123.57 points to 15215.25.

Dollar stays low

The Australian dollar has remained below the United States this morning and remained unchanged last night following the federal budget.

At midday, one Australian dollar was worth $0.99 US.

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