Sydney Feb 12 Commonwealth Bank of Australia, , the country's biggest lender by market value, reported a 14 percent rise in first half earnings on Wednesday, beating analyst forecasts as net interest income grew despite ongoing pressure on its margins.
CBA reported cash earnings of A$4.27 billion ($3.86 billion) for the six months to December 31. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had, on average, expected earnings of A$4.15 billion.
Cash earnings, which excludes one-offs and non-cash accounting items, is closely watched by investors. ($1 = 1.1072 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by John Mair)