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ASX 200 lunch time report: Afterpay & Healthscope shares higher

At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is on course to start the month on a positive note. The benchmark index is currently 0.1% higher at 5,871.7 points.

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

Banks slide lower again.

Once again, the shares of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) are in the red. It appears as though few investors dare buy banks shares so close to the Royal Commission final report release.

Healthscope board backs takeover proposal.

The Healthscope Ltd (ASX: HSO) share price is up almost 4% at lunch after the private hospital operator revealed that it has entered into an implementation deed with Brookfield Business Partners, under which Brookfield will acquire Healthscope for $2.50 per share. The Healthscope board has unanimously recommended the Brookfield transaction.

Syrah shares sink lower again.

The Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX: SYR) share price is under pressure for a third day in a row. It is down almost 6% currently, stretching its week-to-date decline to a massive 26%. Investors have been hitting the sell button in a panic after its quarterly update revealed weaker than expected prices for its graphite.

Reliance Worldwide shares in the red.

Also sinking into the red today is the Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd (ASX: RWC) share price after the plumbing parts company provided a trading update. Reliance reaffirmed its FY 2019 EBITDA guidance but warned that its earnings would be skewed to the second half. Management also advised that the U.S. Polar Vortex has yet to benefit its business.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 at lunch is the Healthscope share price with its 4% gain. Not too far behind is the Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) share price which has climbed almost 3.5% on no news. Going the other way is the Smartgroup Corporation Ltd (ASX: SIQ) share price which has fallen 5%. The catalyst for this decline is likely to be a broker note out of Morgan Stanley this morning. According to the note, the broker has downgraded its shares to an equal weight rating and slashed the price target on them to $10.25 from $14.00.

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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 AFTERPAY T FPO and National Australia Bank 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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