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Calmer markets, Commbank profits slide

Calmer markets, Commbank profits slide

US stocks rallied and the safe haven Yen fell as trade fears receded overnight. Not all markets are in agreement. Oil tumbled, gold prices remain strong and longer bonds rallied in Europe and the Americas. Commodity currencies barely responded. Futures traders are looking for a mixed day for Asia Pacific shares, with gains in Japan and Australia and modest drop in Hong Kong.

The full year result from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia released this morning may dominate local investor responses. Profits dropped 4.7% for the full year, driven by almost $1.3 billion in costs associated with the banking Royal Commission and customer compensation.

Operating income dropped 2%, but the bank held the dividend at $4.31 for the full year. The result is better than expected, but the market response could be tempered by the fact the $5 billion sale of its asset management business did not produce a special dividend. CEO Matt Comyn cited ongoing pressure on margins

The sale of Suncorp’s life insurance arm and the associated loss saw its full-year result down 84%. The yearly dividend is 70 cents, down from 81 cents. The acting CEO Steve Johnson spoke to organic improvement. A modest drop in net interest margin is impressive in light of the lower interest rate and lending environment.

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