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Banks push ASX higher

The S&P/ASX 200 (ASX: XJO) (^AXJO) is up over 1% in early trade this morning, pushed up by strong US markets overnight and rating upgrades for many blue chips. Many of the banks have fallen disproportionately further than the index in recent weeks and as a result are paying healthier dividends and providing good earnings ratios.

This morning, shares in Suncorp (ASX: SUN) went sunny side up, rising over 6% on the back of a ratings upgrade and an announcement yesterday to remove all bad debts in the company. The shares have clung on to a 3.5% gain after falling slightly from their open. The sale of bad debts totalling $1.7 billion to investment Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) can only be seen as a good thing for long term investors and it appears that today the market has reacted to the news.

Macquarie (ASX: MQG) upgraded the diversified retail banking and insurance heavyweight to neutral from underperform, no doubt taking into consideration the long term prospects of the company.

ANZ (ASX: ANZ) has also had a significant bump up in prices, jumping 2.4% in early morning trade. The gains could be attributed to UBS (NYSE: UBS) placing a new rating on the stock, which is now a buy. In recent weeks the company has lost over 10% of its value in the midst of a market correction. Many investors still believe ANZ has significant growth opportunities overseas and no doubt many were waiting to enter into the stock this morning.

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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares in Suncorp and ANZ.

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