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ASX 200 lunch time report: Appen, Austal, & Westpac higher

At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 index is on course to finish the week on a very positive note. At the time of writing the index is up a solid 1.2% to 6,587.5 points.

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

Bank shares higher. 

Australia’s big four banks look set to end the week on a positive note. All four banks are pushing higher at lunch and have given the benchmark index a nice boost. At lunch Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shares are leading the way with gains of 1.4% each.

Appen rebounds.

The Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) share price has bounced back from yesterday’s selloff and is pushing over 4% higher on Friday. Investors hit the sell button yesterday despite the global leader in the development of high quality, human-annotated training data for machine learning and artificial intelligence delivering a very strong half year result. Appen reported a 60% increase in revenue to $245.1 million and an 81% increase in underlying EBITDA to $46.3 million.

Gold miners sink lower.

Australian gold miners including Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) have come under pressure on Friday after positive trade war developments sent the gold price sinking lower. At the time of writing the S&P/ASX All Ords Gold index is down 2.3%.

Austal impresses.

The Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) share price has rocketed higher on Friday following the release of the shipbuilder’s full year results. In FY 2019 Austral reported an impressive 64% increase in net profit to $61.4 million. Pleasingly, more growth is expected in FY 2020 with management providing earnings before interest and tax guidance of at least $105 million. This will be a year on year increase of 13%.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 index at lunch on Friday is the Austal share price with its 9% gain. Not far behind is mining services company Ausdrill Limited (ASX: ASL). Its shares are up a further 8% after reporting a 14.2% increase in full year revenue to $1,970 million and a 15.4% lift in underlying EBIT to $217 million on Thursday. The worst performer on the index today has been the Resolute Mining share price with a 3.5% decline.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Appen Ltd. 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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