Australia's Macquarie H2 profit up 56 pct

SYDNEY Thu May 1, 2014 6:45pm EDT

SYDNEY May 2 (Reuters) - Australia's top investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd posted a 56 percent rise in half yearly profits on Friday, boosted by a strong performance by its market-facing business.

Net profit of A$764 million ($710 million) for the six months to March 31, was slightly above analysts' consensus forecast of A$720 million and up from A$490 million a year ago.

Annual net profit for the year-ended March rose nearly 50 percent, in line with forecasts. Macquarie had said in March it expected a 40 percent to 45 percent rise in annual profit as its focus on growing lower-risk businesses pays off. ($1 = 1.0785 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Swati Pandey)