Gains by Australia’s big four banks have propped up the Australian sharemarket after a day of generally disappointing earnings results.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 17.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 6,106.9 points at 1615 AEDT on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 13.5 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,184.2.

Between them the big four banks pushed the ASX200 higher by 17.24 points, meaning they were responsible for all of its gains.

The banks were led by ANZ, which was up 2.28 per cent to $27.35. Westpac, NAB and CBA gained between 0.99 and 1.65 per cent.

There was no macroeconomic lead-in from the United States, where markets were closed in honour of Washington’s Birthday, so the day was dominated by earnings results – and they mostly left investors dissatisfied.

Of the 13 companies that reported results before the markets closed, all but four finished in the red.

Blackmores plummeted 24.85 per cent after the vitamin maker warned its sales in China were not expected to grow within the next six months.

Hearing implant company Cochlear was down 8.14 per cent after it said its growth in the US and Germany had slowed.

Coles was down 4.05 per cent after it reported first-half profit had slipped 29 per cent to $381 million in the wake of its spin-off from Wesfarmers.

Seven West Media was down 7.96 per cent after reporting half-year net profit fell 13.8 per cent amid lower advertising revenue.

Software-as-a-service company Citadel Group shares fell 12.21 per cent after it said its gross profit had fallen 0.6 per cent, to $23.3 million.

After the markets closed, BHP said its first-half profit fell 8 per cent because of production disruptions and a decline in commodity prices during the period.

Its underlying profit of $US4.03 billion ($A5.66b) missed consensus estimates of $US4.209 billion ($A5.91b).

The world’s biggest miner declared an interim dividend of 55 US cents ($A0.77) per share, the same as last year.

The best news on the day came from IOOF, whose shares shot up 16.42 per cent, to $6.17, after the financial services company announced its underlying profit had increased 6 per cent, to $100.1 million.

Mount Gibson Iron, Monadelphous Group and Propertylink Group also finished in the green after reporting earnings, led by Monadelphous, which was up 4.2 per cent after the construction engineering company said it had secured $770 million of new contracts.

Twenty more companies are set to release earnings on Wednesday, and Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist with CMC Markets, said the results could be crucial.

“We need to see good results, otherwise we might see the market tip on market disappointment,” he said.

The local currency spiked and then fell sharply before midday following the release of the RBA’s monetary policy meeting minutes.

The Aussie dollar is buying 71.14 US cents, from 71.50 US cents on Monday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 17.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 6,106.9 points at 1630 AEDT on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 13.5 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 6,184.2.

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 4 point, or 0.07 per cent, at 6069.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.12 US cents, from 71.50 US on Monday

* 78.68 Japanese yen, from 79.04

* 62.97 euro cents, from 63.21

* 55.14 British pence, from 55.37

* 104.09 NZ cents, from 103.87


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1323.60 per fine ounce, from $US1326.04 on Monday.