View Comments

Australian shares are higher due to strong gains by the big four banks, positive offshore leads and higher commodity prices.

IG market strategist Evan Lucas said he thought there was relatively strong momentum for quality.

"There is a nice balance in the banks again, which is good to see with CBA coming off its dividend, and Telstra as well is back even though its (earnings) result was choppy," Mr Lucas said.

With the earnings season in full swing, jobs advertising website SEEK was the standout performer among the top 100 stocks, after a 65 per cent rise in half year profit to $87.4 million.

Shares in the Seek were up $2.37, or 18 per cent, to a record high $15.21.

Shares in Suncorp Group had slumped 37 cents, or 2.9 per cent, to $12.23, after the insurance giant posted a 4.5 per cent per cent slide in its first half profit to $548 million.

Among the major banks, Commonwealth Bank had added 54 cents to $75.07, National Australia Bank was up 30 cents at $35.34, ANZ had gained 20 cents to $31.84 and Westpac was up 37 cents to $33.23.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were relatively flat, but Fortescue Metals was up 8.5 cents at $6.065 after more than doubling its first half profit.


  • At 1225 on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 18.5 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 5,411.3 points.

  • The broader All Ordinaries index was up 16.8 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 5,419 points.

  • The March share price index futures contract was up 13 points at 5,376, with 14,482 contracts traded.

  • National turnover was 886 million securities worth $1.9 billion.