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ASX 200 lunch time report: BHP, G8 Education, & Westpac lower

The Australian share market has been unable to build on last week’s strong performance and is notably lower at lunch on Monday. At the time of writing the S&P/ASX 200 index is down almost 1% to 6,686.2 points.

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

Banks in the red.

Australia’s big four banks have had a disappointing start to the week. At lunch all four banks are trading notably lower, with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shares the worst performers in the group with a decline of 1%.

Mining giants lower.

Declines by BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) have weighed heavily on the market on Monday. Investors have been selling their shares following a crash in iron ore prices late on Friday after a Chinese official revealed plans to crackdown on the high prices of the steel making ingredient. This has led to the S&P/ASX 200 Resources index dropping 1.1% lower today.

Gold miners sink.

Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM), Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST), and the rest of the gold miners have sunk lower on Monday after strong U.S. jobs data dampened hopes of a rate cut by the Federal Reserve and put pressure on the gold price. According to CNBC, the spot gold price dropped 1.5% to US$1,400.10 an ounce on Friday. It has continued to edge lower during Asian trade, leading to the S&P/ASX All Ords Gold index falling 1.8% so far today.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Monday has been the Speedcast International Ltd (ASX: SDA) share price with a 7% gain. Investors appear to believe that last week’s selloff was overdone and has created a buying opportunity. Going the other way is the G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM) share price which has fallen 9% after the childcare centre operator was downgraded by a leading broker.

Blue chips rated as buys.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns Westpac shares. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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