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ASX 200 lunch time report: ANZ, CBA, & Eclipx higher

At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is on course to finish the week on a positive note. At the time of writing the benchmark index is up 0.9% to 6,222.4 points.

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

Bank shares higher.

The big four banks have all pushed higher with the market today on renewed investor optimism. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) shares are both up over 0.5% at lunch.

Premier Investments results.

Investors have given the Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) half year results a lukewarm response. At lunch the shares of the retailer behind the Smiggle and Peter Alexander brands are down 1% despite half year sales growing 8% to a record $680.2 million.

St Barbara shares crash lower.

The St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) share price has crashed 31% lower on Friday. This morning the gold miner announced that it would have to keep using trucking to extract gold from its 123-year-old Gwalia mine in Western Australia. Management had hoped to use two methods involving hydraulic hoisting to extend the mine’s life, but a feasibility study found that ventilation and pumping issues made those methods unfeasible.

Gold miners sink.

It isn’t just St Barbara that is being sold off today. Almost all Australian gold miners have dropped deep into the red despite the gold price rising overnight. Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX: RRL) shares are both down 3% at lunch. Investors appear to be rotating out of risk off assets after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s dovish comments. The S&P/ASX All Ords Gold index is down 2.9% currently.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 at lunch is the Eclipx Group Ltd (ASX: ECX) share price with a 5.5% gain. This morning analysts at Macquarie suggested the selloff of the fleet management company’s shares could be a buying opportunity. It has an outperform rating and $1.06 price target on them. Going the other way is of course the St Barbara share price with its 31% decline. Some distance behind St Barbara and the rest of the gold miners is the Sigma Healthcare Ltd (ASX: SIG) share price with a 2% decline. Its shares were downgraded to a sell rating with a 45 cents price target by UBS this morning.

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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 Premier Investments 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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