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ASX 200 up 0.8%: Big four banks push higher but Xero tumbles lower

At lunch the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has followed the lead of U.S. markets and is pushing higher. The benchmark index is currently up 0.8% to 5,370.2 points.

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

Bank shares push higher.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and the rest of the big four banks are pushing higher on Friday. This follows a strong night of trade on Wall Street for U.S. banks. The best performer in the group today has been the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price with a 1.1% gain.

Tech shares dropping lower.

The tech sector is having another off day on Friday. At lunch the S&P/ASX 200 Information Technology index is down 1.7% and acting as a drag on proceedings. Payments company Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) and cloud-based accounting software provider Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) are amongst the worst performers with 1% and 5% declines, respectively.

Gold miners charge higher.

One area of the market performing particularly strongly today has been the gold mining industry. At lunch the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Gold index is up a solid 3.2% after the gold price hit a three-week high overnight. Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX: EVN) and St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) shares have been positive performers with gains of 4% each.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 today has been the Graincorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) share price again with an 8% gain. This morning analysts at Macquarie retained their outperform rating and lifted the price target on its shares to $4.79. The worst performer has been Graincorp’s spun off malt business, United Malt Group Ltd (ASX: UMG). Its shares are down 7% after completing a $140 million institutional placement. The new shares were issued at $3.80 per share, representing an 11.4% discount to its last traded price.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and Xero. 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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