A hefty Commonwealth Bank profit helped the Australian market and financial shares higher as the latter category benefited from expectations of rising interest rates.

The heavyweight bank on Wednesday revealed first-half cash earnings improved by 23 per cent and flagged an additional $2 billion share buyback.

Investors responded by raising bank shares five per cent to $99.56 and the enthusiasm carried into the financials category, which rose two per cent.

That enthusiasm may also have been helped by gains for US bank stocks overnight.

US bond yields rose before a key inflation reading this week.

Inflation has been surging in the pandemic recovery and another lofty reading could be all the Federal Reserve needs to raise rates in March.

Elsewhere on the ASX, most share categories were higher.

Technology was best and gained four per cent after the US Nasdaq had closed higher overnight.

A standout was online furniture trader Temple & Webster, which rose nine per cent after surging first-half sales.

There were gains of one per cent for the categories of industrials, consumer staples, telecommunications, utilities and property.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 81.4 points, or 1.13 per cent, to 7268.1 points.

The All Ordinaries index closed higher by 83.6 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 7572.6 points.

The market was only a little higher after the first two hours of trading but momentum picked up in the remainder of the day.

Among companies reporting earnings, Computershare was a big winner.

The firm upgraded its full-year earnings forecast after first-half figures beat expectations.

The company’s largest business, register maintenance, had higher sales and profits.

Computershare was up 11 per cent to $22.17.

Temple & Webster was not far behind in its share price growth.

The company will charge into the Bunnings-dominated home improvement market as it tries to continue record sales momentum.

Founder Mark Coulter outlined the opportunities in home improvement after he detailed a first-half sales boom of 46 per cent.

The company capitalised on the east coast lockdowns of late 2021 and used a vast supplier network to ensure products were available.

Mineral Resources had a different story. It had a first-half earnings loss of 80 per cent after iron ore prices plummeted.

Investors will not receive an interim payout.

Mineral Resources was down eight per cent to $52.72.

The major miners were all down. BHP lost one per cent to $48.32. Fortescue fell three per cent to $21.43. Rio Tinto dropped less than one per cent to $116.53.

The big banks followed the Commonwealth Bank higher. NAB and Westpac rose two per cent each to $28.39 and $22.38 respectively. ANZ rose one per cent to $27.42.

Sydney Airport had its final day trading on the ASX after a court approved a private equity takeover.

A consortium of superannuation funds recently won investor support for the $23.6 billion bid.

Sydney Airport closed little changed at $8.72.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.58 US cents at 1719 AEDT, higher than 71.13 US cents at Tuesday’s close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 81.4 points, or 1.13 per cent, to 7268.1 points on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries index closed higher by 83.6 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 7572.6 points.

* At 1719 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down three points, or 0.04 per cent, at 7149 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.58 US cents, from 71.13 cents on Tuesday

* 82.63 Japanese yen, from 82.17 yen

* 62.64 Euro cents, from 62.31 cents

* 52.79 British pence, from 52.61 pence

* 107.54 NZ cents, from 107.20 cents.


Steven Deare
(Australian Associated Press)