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NAB report net profit up 23 percent in first half

SYDNEY (AP) -- National Australia Bank Ltd. says its first-half net profit has risen 23 percent due in part to higher profit margins on increasing numbers of home loans.

The bank said Thursday that profits for the period ending March 31 rose to 2.9 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) from AU$2.5 billion in the same period a year ago, which included large losses from NAB's British businesses.

NAB's cash profit, the banking industry's preferred measure of underlying performance, was up 3 percent to AU$2.9 billion. NAB posted the smallest cash profit among Australia's four largest banks, and the weakest growth.