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ASX 200 down 0.5%: Afterpay completes placement, big four banks tumble

At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has followed the lead of U.S. markets and dropped lower. The benchmark index is currently down 0.5% to 5,982 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Bank shares tumble.

The big four banks have taken a tumble today and are acting as a drag on the ASX 200 index. At lunch, all four banks are in the red. The worst performer in the group has been the Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price with a decline of 1.7%. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) share price is the best performer in the four with its 0.25% decline.

Afterpay raises $650 million.

The Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price is trading lower today after returning from its trading halt. The payments company’s shares were halted on Tuesday while it undertook an institutional placement. This morning Afterpay successfully raised $650 million after receiving strong support from existing and new shareholders. The company was able to raise the funds at $66.00 per new share. This represents a discount of only 2.9% to its last close price and compares favourably to its underwritten floor price of $61.75 per new share. It will now push ahead with its $150 million share purchase plan.

Northern Star update.

The Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) share price is storming higher on Wednesday after the release of the gold miner’s fourth quarter update. Northern Star generated underlying free cashflow of $217.9 million from the sale of 262,717 ounces of gold during the second quarter. This took its FY 2020 sales to 900,388 ounces from gold production of 905,177 ounces. In addition to this, due to its strong financial position, the gold miner has announced that it will pay its postponed interim dividend next week.

Best and worst ASX 200 shares.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Wednesday has been the Northern Star share price with a 5.5% gain. This follows its fourth quarter update. Going the other way, the worst performer is the Domain Holdings Australia Ltd (ASX: DHG) share price with a 5% decline. Investors appear concerned that the lockdowns in Melbourne could have a negative impact on property listings.

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