Commonwealth Bank profit up 7%, Personal finance approvals rise: Midday Roundup

The Commonwealth Bank has posted a cash net profit of $3.56 billion, up 7% on the previous corresponding period, although the bank warns its global outlook is still uncertain.

The company recorded a statutory net profit of $3.624 billion, up 19% from the previous corresponding period. Total income was $10.1 billion, up by 4%, while the first-half net interest margin was 2.15%, up three basis points.

But while the company said the outlook is still uncertain, there are no job cuts planned.

“We welcome some positive signs of economic recovery but recognise that in times of uncertainty, banks must remain cautious,” chief executive officer Ian Narev said in a statement.

“We have no plans to send jobs offshore” he said. “And we have no plans for major redundancy programs.”

However, Narev did say it’s still hard to predict where funding costs might go.

“We welcome some positive signs of economic recovery but recognise that, in times of uncertainty, banks must remain cautious,” he said.

Finance approvals up in December

Personal finance commitments moved higher in December, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Personal finance commitments rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% to $7.093 billion, up from $7.199 billion.

Business finance lending fell by 0.9% to $32.445 billion.

Car sales rise in January

Sales of new motor vehicles have risen again in January, according to the latest figures from the ABS. The move was broadly in line with expectations.

According to the figures, 85,624 cars were sold during January, up by 1.3%, seasonally adjusted, while sales are now up by 2.7% compared to the same time last year.

Shares flat after questions raised over Greek bailout

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat this morning after doubts were raised overseas as to the effectiveness of the Greek bailout package, which has sparked riots in Athens as citizens react to harsh austerity measures.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 9.9 points or 0.2% to 4232.9 at 12.00 AEST, while the dollar fell almost half a cent after European Union ministers cancelled a meeting regarding the Greek bailout. The dollar is now at $US1.06c.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.2 points to 12,878.3.

Greek GDP falls by 7% in December quarter

Greek domestic product fell by 7% in the December quarter, official figures show, as the country battles harsh austerity measures and being blocked out of long-term bond markets.

Its economy has declined since late 2008, although lifted in the first quarter of 2010.

The figures follow a Parliamentary decision to approve a new round of austerity measures, which included cutting the minimum wage and cutting jobs from the public service, in return for an EU loan.


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