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ASX 200 up 1%: Coles sales surge, ASX banks jump, & Blackstone buys Crown stake

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is back on form and storming higher. At the time of writing the benchmark index is up 1% to 5,364.6 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Coles third quarter update.

The Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL) share price has come under pressure after releasing its third quarter update this morning. During the third quarter the supermarket giant delivered a 12.9% increase in quarterly sales. However, investors may have been spooked by comments around its costs. Management warned that it expects an elevated cost base in the fourth quarter as a result of the additional investment it is making as a result of COVID-19.

Bank shares storm higher.

Investors have been buying the banks again on Wednesday. All four banks are trading notably higher and are playing a key role in the market’s gains. The best performer in the group is the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) share price with a sizeable 5% gain. The worst performer among the big four has been the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price with a 3% gain.

Blackstone buys stake in Crown Resorts.

The Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) share price is shooting higher today after a new major shareholder came on board. This morning the casino and resorts operator revealed that Blackstone has purchased 67,675,000 shares in Crown. This represents 9.99% of the issued capital of the company. The global private investment firm bought the shares from Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited at a price of $8.15 per share.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers.

The best performer on the index today has been the Crown share price with a 7.5% gain. Investors may believe that Blackstone will be interested in taking the casino operator private. The worst performer is the Coles share price with a 5% decline. This follows the release of its third quarter update. Rival Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) share price is down 2.5% ahead of its update tomorrow.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of COLESGROUP DEF SET and Woolworths Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Crown Resorts 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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