ASX 200 lunch time report

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fought back from an early decline and is up 0.3% to 5,710.5 points at lunch thanks largely to gains in the consumer and financials sectors.

Here’s what has been happening on the ASX 200 on Friday:

Retail shares push higher.

The Super Retail Group Ltd (ASX: SUL) share price has been the best performing retail share on the ASX 200 on Friday with a 3.5% gain. It appears to have been given a boost after two retailers released positive trading updates. Both Accent Group Ltd (ASX: AX1) and Kathmandu Holdings Ltd (ASX: KMD) reported strong sales growth year to date at their respective annual general meetings today.

BlueScope Steel reaffirms guidance.

The BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) share price is up 3% at lunch after the steel producer reaffirmed its profit guidance at its annual general meeting today. Investors had been concerned that BlueScope might be next in line to issue a profit downgrade due to the housing construction slowdown and narrowing steel price spreads.

IPH has strong start to FY 2019.

Intellectual property firm IPH Ltd (ASX: IPH) has seen its shares race 4% higher today after reporting a strong start to FY 2019 at its annual general meeting. Management revealed that it has achieved like-for-like EBITDA growth for the group and particularly strong growth from its Asian business. This is good news as it sees the Asia market as a key driver of future growth.

Automotive Holdings is struggling.

The Automotive Holdings Group Ltd (ASX: AHG) share price is 6.5% lower at lunch after the car dealer warned that trading in the first four months of FY 2019 had been worse than expected. It expects this to lead to full‐year operating NPAT in the range of $56 million to $59 million. The company blamed the underperformance on a weaker private buyer market caused by falling house prices and the impact this has had on consumer confidence.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 so far today has been the Costa Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: CGC) share price with a gain of over 7%. A positive broker note out of the Macquarie equities desk is likely to have been the catalyst for this gain. Going the other way is the Automotive Holdings share price, closely followed by the CYBG PLC (ASX: CYB) share price. The UK-based bank’s shares continue to decline after the release of a disappointing outlook for the year ahead.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended COSTA GRP FPO and IPH Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Super Retail Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Accent Group and Automotive Holdings Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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