SYDNEY, AAP – A hefty Commonwealth Bank profit encouraged the buying of financial shares and helped the Australian market close higher by more than one per cent.

The market heavyweight bank improved first-half cash earnings by 23 per cent and investors responded by raising its shares by five per cent to $99.56.

Financials rose two per cent and most share categories were higher.

Technology was best and gained four per cent.

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 Australian dollar was buying 71.67 US cents at 1620 AEDT, higher than 71.13 US cents at Tuesday’s close.