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ASX 200 lunch time report: Challenger & NAB higher, Afterpay sinks

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 index has followed the lead of U.S. markets and pushed higher. The benchmark index is up 0.8% to 6,705.4 points at the time of writing.

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

Rio Tinto update.

The Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) share price has edged higher following the release of its quarterly update. The mining giant posted solid quarter on quarter production increases across the majority of its operations.  One highlight was its Pilbara iron ore production, which climbed 6% to 87.3mt.

Bank share rise.        

The big four banks are on form again today. All four banks are pushing higher at lunch. The best performer in the group has been the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price with a 1.2% gain. This morning Goldman Sachs retained their conviction buy rating on the bank’s shares.

Afterpay rated as sell.

The Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT) share price has dropped lower after it was the subject of a bearish broker note. Analysts at UBS have initiated coverage on the payments company with a sell rating and lowly $17.25 price target. It believes excessive growth is already priced in and has concerns over regulatory risks.

Challenger charges higher.

The Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF) share price has charged higher on Wednesday after the release of its first quarter update. Although the annuities company posted a 28% decline in annuities sales, investors appear pleased that management reaffirmed its guidance.

Best and worst performers.

The CYBG PLC (ASX: CYB) share price is charging higher again on Wednesday after positive Brexit developments led to a jump in the British pound. The UK-based bank’s shares are up 7% at lunch. Going the other way, the Afterpay share price is the worst performer on the index with a 7.5% decline.

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Challenger Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. 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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