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ASX 200 lunch time report: ANZ, CIMIC, & Westpac lower

The S&P/ASX 200 index has followed the lead of U.S. markets and dropped lower again on Thursday. At lunch the benchmark index is down 0.3% to 6,653.7 points

Here’s what has happened on the market today:

Bank shares lower.

Australia’s big four banks have all dropped lower on Thursday. This may have been caused by news that both Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) have had their outlooks downgraded to negative by analysts at Fitch Ratings. The ratings agency made the move after APRA applied additional operational risk capital requirements on the two banks.

CIMC shares smashed.

The CIMIC Group Ltd (ASX: CIM) share price has been smashed and is down 19% at lunch following the release of its half year results after the market close on Wednesday. CIMIC delivered NPAT of $367 million, which was up 1% on the prior corresponding period and well short of Goldman Sachs’ estimate for a 9% increase in profits. It also reported very weak cash flows.

Gold miners charge higher.

Australia’s leading gold miners have charged higher on Thursday following a strong rise in the spot gold price overnight. According to CNBC, the spot gold price jumped 1.2% to US$1,428.20 an ounce overnight after hedge fund kingpin Ray Dalio revealed that he sees a case to buy gold as central banks get more aggressive with policies that devalue currencies. The Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) share price and the Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX: SAR) share price are up 3.8% and 4.3%, respectively, at lunch.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 index is the Lendlease Group (ASX: LLC) share price with a gain of 4.5%. This has been driven by news that it has entered into an agreement with Google in the United States to develop the company’s landholdings in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Mountain View into mixed-use communities. Going the other way is of course the CIMIC share price with its massive 19% decline.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. 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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