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ASX 200 lunch time report: New Hope & Westpac higher, Appen lower

The S&P/ASX 200 index has returned to form on Wednesday and is up 0.2% to 6,627.3 points at lunch.

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

Big four banks rise.  

It has been another positive day of trade so far for Australia’s big four banks. Improvements in the housing market appear to be behind solid share price rises from all four banking giants today. Leading the way is the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price with a sizeable gain of 1.3%.

Tech shares slide.

Australian tech shares such as Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) and Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) have dropped lower again after a soft night of trade on Wall Street’s technology-focused Nasdaq index. At lunch the S&P/ASX 200 Info Tech index is acting as a drag on the market with a 1.3% decline. As well as Nasdaq weakness, these declines could be down to profit-taking from investors after some incredible gains in 2019.

New Hope jumps.

The New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC) share price has stormed higher this morning following news that the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled in favour of its New Acland Coal business. New Acland landowners had been trying to block the company from delivering the New Acland stage three project due to concerns over groundwater, noise and social and environmental impact. New Hope management advised that it “remains committed to delivering the New Acland Stage 3 project in a timely manner.”

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the S&P/ASX 200 index on Wednesday has been the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX: URW) share price which has surged 6.5% higher today. This gain appears to be in response to a strong rise in its European shares overnight. Going the other way is the Appen share price which has continued its slide and is down a disappointing 5.5%. This means its shares are now down ~28% from their 52-week high.

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James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. 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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