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ASX 200 up 1.5%: Big four banks rocket higher, Premier Investments delivers record profit

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At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is on course to end the week on a very positive note. The benchmark index is currently up a sizeable 1.5% to 5,965.5 points.

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

Bank shares storm higher.

It certainly has been a great day for Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and the rest of the big four banks on Friday. All four banks are charging materially higher today and are playing a key role in the ASX 200’s strong gain. The catalyst for this is news that the Federal Government is planning to relax its responsible lending requirements.

Westpac rated as a buy.

The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price is up over 7% at lunch. This appear to have been driven by the above-mentioned responsible lending news and also a broker note out of Goldman Sachs. Its analysts have retained their buy rating and placed a $19.80 price target on the banking giant’s shares after it announced a settlement with AUSTRAC. It commented: “With this significant overhang for the stock now behind it, at a digestible incremental financial cost, we expect the stock to begin to re-rate (currently trades at a 17% PER discount to peers, versus in line historically), and reiterate our Buy.”

Premier Investments delivers a record profit.

The Premier Investments Limited (ASX: PMV) share price is trading lower today despite announcing a record profit for FY 2020. For the 12 months ended 25 July, the retail conglomerate posted a 2.1% decline in revenue to $1.25 billion and a 29% increase in net profit after tax to $137.75 million. This profit growth was driven largely by high margin online sales. The company declared a full year dividend of 70 cents per share, which was flat year on year. It advised that government subsidies were not required for the payment of its final dividend.

Best and worst ASX 200 shares.

The best performer on the ASX 200 at lunch is the Westpac share price with its 7% gain. This follows the relaxing of responsible lending and the release of a positive broker note out of Goldman Sachs. The worst performer has been the Atlas Arteria Group (ASX: ALX) share price with a 2.5% decline. This is largely due to the toll road operator’s shares trading ex-dividend this morning.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro owns shares of Westpac Banking. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Premier Investments 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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