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ASX 200 lunch update: CBA & NAB higher, Telstra lower

At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has returned to form and is pushing higher. The benchmark index is up 2.9% to 4,919.7 points at the time of writing.

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

Banks rebound.        

The big four banks are all pushing notably higher on Friday and doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the S&P/ASX 200 Index. This follows a positive broker note out of Credit Suisse this morning which revealed buy ratings on three of the big four. The only share missing out was Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), which the broker rates as neutral. The best performer in the group today is the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price with an 8% gain.

Telstra COVID-19 update.

The Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price has edged lower today after announcing a number of important measures as part of its contribution to the national economic stimulus response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These include putting on hold further job reductions, recruiting 1,000 temporary workers, bringing forward $500 million of capex, and suspending late payment fees and disconnections.

Premier Investments half year result.

The Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) share price is storming higher after the release of the retail conglomerate’s half year results. For the six months ended January 25, the company posted record sales of $732.1 million and a net profit after tax of $99.6 million. This was an increase of 7.6% and 12.2%, respectively on the prior corresponding period. This allowed the Premier Investments board to declare a record fully franked interim dividend of 34 cents per share.

Best and worst performers.

The best performer on the S&P/ASX 200 Index on Friday has been the CIMIC Group Ltd (ASX: CIM) share price with a 44% gain. This morning HOCHTIEF Australia revealed that it has increased its holding in the company to 74.13%. Going the other way is the Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) share price with a 9% decline. This follows the withdrawing of its guidance this morning due to potential coronavirus impacts.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Premier Investments Limited and Telstra Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Sonic Healthcare 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.