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ASX 200 lunch update: InvoCare & Healius higher, Woolworths lower

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 index is on course to record its third heavy decline in a row after coronavirus concerns escalated. The benchmark index is down 2.2% to 6,714.5 points.

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

Woolworths half year results.

The Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price is trading lower despite delivering a reasonably solid first half result this morning. During the first half of FY 2020, Woolworths reported a 6% increase in sales from continuing operations to $32.4 billion. This was driven by growth across the entire business, but particularly from its key Australian Food business. The BIG W business reported its first profit since FY 2016.

Healius takeover approach.

The Healius Ltd (ASX: HLS) share price has surged higher on Wednesday after it received a takeover approach. On Tuesday the company confirmed it has received an unsolicited, non-binding, indicative proposal from Partners Group to acquire it for $3.40 per share. This values the healthcare company at $2.1 billion.

InvoCare impresses

The InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC) share price has stormed higher today after it delivered solid full year profit and dividend growth. Sales growth and operational efficiencies led to the funerals company reporting a 19.6% increase in operating earnings to $59.2 million. This allowed the board to declare a final fully franked dividend of 23.5 cents per share.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Wednesday has been the Healius share price. Its shares are up over 15% at lunch following the receipt of a takeover approach from Partners Group. The worst performer on the index is the PolyNovo Ltd (ASX: PNV) share price with a 13% decline. Although it revealed strong half year revenue growth this morning, it doesn’t appear to have been as much as some investors were expecting.

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