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ASX 200 lunch time report: Afterpay, Costa, & Westpac higher

The S&P/ASX 200 index has followed the lead of U.S. markets and pushed higher again on Friday. At lunch the benchmark index is up 0.5% to 6,413.9 points.

Here’s what has been happening on the market today:

Big four banks push higher.

Australia’s big four banks look set to finish the week on a positive note. All four are pushing higher at lunch, but Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shares have been the strongest performers with gains of 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. The big four have risen strongly since the RBA cut rates.

Costa on the rise.

The Costa Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: CGC) share price has been a strong performer on the ASX 200 on Friday. The beaten down horticulture company’s shares are up almost 6% despite there being no major news out of it. One small bit of news released today is that independent non-executive director, Janette Kendall, bought 6,445 Costa shares on-market this week.

Gold miners under pressure.

Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) and other leading gold miners have come under pressure today after the gold price pulled back during Asian trade. According to CNBC, the spot gold price has fallen 0.4% to US$1,337.40 an ounce. This has led to the S&P/ASX All Ords Gold index falling 1% at lunch. Improving investor sentiment appears to have hurt demand for safe haven assets.

Afterpay charges higher.

The Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) share price has bounced back from Thursday’s decline and is up 3.5% at lunch. One broker that was impressed with its business update was Morgans. This morning the broker retained its add rating and lifted the price target on Afterpay’s shares to $25.96.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 index at lunch is the Costa share price with its gain of almost 6%. I suspect bargain hunters are swooping in after last month’s selloff. Going the other way is the Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) share price which has fallen nearly 7% due to weakness in the gold miner industry.

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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. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. 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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