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ASX 200 lunch update: a2 Milk & Afterpay higher, Ramsay lower

At lunch on Thursday the S&P/ASX 200 index is on course to record its fourth decline in a row. At the time of writing the benchmark index is down 0.6% to 6,670.1 points.

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

Afterpay doubles its underlying sales.

The Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price has been bouncing around on Thursday after it delivered another strong half year result. During the first half, Afterpay delivered a 109% increase in underlying sales to $4.8 billion. This was driven by increasing usage from existing customers, a 134% jump in active customers to 7.3 million, and an 86% lift in active merchants to 43,200. Afterpay now has more active customers in the United States than any other market. After being as much as 7% lower, it is now up 2% at lunch.

Ramsay share price edges lower

The Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) share price is trading lower following the release of its half year results. For the six months ended December 31, the private hospital operator reported core net profit after tax of $273.6 million. This was an increase of 3.4% on the previous corresponding period on a like-for-like basis. Management warned that the Australian market remains tough, so similar growth is expected in the second half.

A2 Milk Company impresses.

The a2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M) share price is shooting higher on Thursday after it beat its half year guidance. During the first half, a2 Milk Company delivered revenue growth of 31.6% to NZ$806.7 million and EBITDA growth of 20.5% to NZ$263.2 million. The latter equates to an EBITDA margin of 32.6%, which is higher than management guided to.

Best and worst performers.

The a2 Milk Company share price is the best performer on the ASX 200 index on Thursday. At lunch the infant formula and fresh milk company’s shares are up almost 7% following its strong half year update. The worst performer on the index is the Link Administration Holdings Ltd (ASX: LNK) share price with a decline of over 10%. Investors have been selling the administration company’s shares following the release of a disappointing half year update.

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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 Link Administration Holdings Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk and AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Link Administration Holdings Ltd and Ramsay Health Care 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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