Shares were trading slightly higher on the Australian market and National Australia Bank’s lower third quarter cash profit has attracted much of the attention.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was trading higher by 18.1 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6109.1 points at 1200 AEST on Friday.

The All Ordinaries index was higher by 19.0 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 6242.9.

Information technology led the sectors, higher by 2.48 per cent, while health and industrials had gains of more than 1.0 per cent.

Investors believe National Australia Bank’s seven per cent drop in third quarter cash profit was not as bad as feared.

NAB’s $1.55 billion cash profit was down on the same quarter last year, but investors pushed shares higher by 0.55 per cent to $18.11.

Management has not increased provisions for virus-related losses, and said 16 per cent of customers with deferred home loans have resumed repayments.

ANZ was higher by 0.16 per cent to $18.57, the Commonwealth Bank dropped 1.46 per cent to $71.37 and Westpac rose 0.16 per cent to $17.98.

The heavyweight sector was down 0.35 per cent.

Meanwhile Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe expects economic growth to contract by seven per cent when the June quarter figures are released.

Mr Lowe told a parliamentary hearing he expects next month’s data to reveal the biggest decline in many decades as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere in earnings reports, goldminer Newcrest reported a 15 per cent rise in statutory profit for the full year to $647 million, helped by higher gold prices.

However gold production was down 13 per cent.

Investors thought the company could have done better and sent shares lower by 0.78 per cent to $34.20.

The news was better for other big miners. BHP gained 0.65 per cent to $40.17, Rio Tinto shed 0.05 per cent to $101.45 and Fortescue rose by 0.72 per cent to $17.99.

Shares in Aussie biotech Mesoblast were blazing higher by 38.46 per cent to $4.68 after US medical officials voted in favour of its intravenous therapy to treat steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease in children.

While a final decision is yet to be made on approving the Ryoncil product, investors are excited as there is no approved therapy for children.

There was a negative lead from US markets. Concern about corporate earnings remained after a disappointing forecast from network equipment provider Cisco Systems.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 80.12 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 27,896.72, the S&P 500 lost 6.92 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 3,373.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 30.27 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 11,042.50.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.40 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 71.71 US cents at Thursday’s close.