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ASX 200 up 0.45%: Harvey Norman declares special dividend, gold miners race higher

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has fought back from a tough start and is pushing higher. The benchmark index is currently up 0.45% to 6,173.2 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Big four banks out of form.

The big four banks look to have run out of steam on Wednesday. All four banks are trading lower at lunch and are acting as a drag on proceedings. Investors may be taking profit after some incredible gains over the last couple of weeks. The worst performer in the group is the Australia and New Zealand Banking GrpLtd (ASX: ANZ) share price with a 1% decline. This morning Goldman Sachs downgraded its shares to a neutral rating from buy on valuation grounds.

Harvey Norman sales update.

The Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX: HVN) share price is charging higher after the release of a sales update this morning. That update revealed that its Australian stores have performed very strongly during the pandemic. As of 31 May 2020, the Harvey Norman Australian franchise network had delivered a 17.5% increase in sales in the second half. Things weren’t quite as positive overseas due to forced closures. In addition to the sales update, the board declared a special dividend of 6 cents per share. This will be paid to shareholders later this month.

Gold miners race higher.

Australia’s leading gold miners are charging higher today after the gold price rebounded overnight. Traders were buying the precious metal ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s June meeting this week. The central bank is expected to announce further stimulus measures which are likely to be supportive of the gold price. Gold Road Resources Ltd (ASX: GOR) and Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX: SAR) shares have been particularly positive performers today.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers.

The best performer on the ASX 200 at lunch is the Saracen share price with a 10% gain. This follows the rebound in the gold price. The worst performer is the Worley Ltd (ASX: WOR) share price with a 5% decline. Investors have been selling the engineering company’s shares following the release of its investor day update this morning.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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