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ASX 200 flat: Big four banks higher, St Barbara and IGO sinks on Q4 updates

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At lunch on Wednesday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has given back its strong morning gains. The benchmark index is currently flat at 6,020.6 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

Bank shares pushing higher.

The big four banks are all pushing higher on Wednesday and doing their part to support the ASX 200 index. Investors have been buying Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and the rest of the big four after APRA provided guidance on dividends. While APRA still wants the banks to retain at least half of their earnings when making decisions on capital distributions, this is not as bad as some feared.

St Barbara Q4 update.

The St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) share price is dropping lower on Wednesday after the release of its fourth quarter update. During the quarter, St Barbara delivered an 18.6% quarter on quarter increase in gold production to 108,612 ounces. This was achieved at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of A$1,301 per ounce. This meant that St Barbara achieved its full year guidance for both production and costs. I suspect its guidance for FY 2021 could be the reason for the selling. It has guided to similar production and costs next year.

IGO update disappoints.

The IGO Ltd (ASX: IGO) share price has crashed lower today after the release of its quarterly update. During the fourth quarter, the nickel producer delivered revenue and other income of $231 million and underlying EBITDA of $113 million. This result would have been stronger had its Nova and Tropicana operations not reported a material rise in costs quarter on quarter. This appears to have led to its full year earnings falling short of expectations.

Best and worst ASX 200 shares.

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Wednesday has been the AP Eagers Ltd (ASX: APE) share price with an 8% gain. This follows the release of the auto retailer’s annual general meeting update. The worst performer on the index by some distance is the IGO share price. Its shares are down 14% after the release of its quarterly update.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. 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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