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ASX 200 up 0.1%: CBA’s APRA update, Mesoblast rockets, Oil Search sinks

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At lunch on Friday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has fought back from a weak start and is pushing higher. The benchmark index is up 0.1% to 6,556.8 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

CBA’s APRA update.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) is the only big four bank pushing higher today. Australia’s largest bank was given a boost this morning when APRA gave it a thumbs up for its progress with the Prudential Inquiry Remedial Action Plan. As a result of this, the operational risk overlay imposed on the bank has now been reduced from $1 billion to $500 million with immediate effect. Commonwealth Bank notes that this reduction represents an increase in Common Equity Tier 1 capital of 17 basis points.

Mesoblast share price rockets.

The Mesoblast limited (ASX: MSB) share price is rocketing higher on Friday after announcing a major deal with pharma giant Novartis. The two parties have signed an exclusive worldwide license and collaboration agreement for the development, manufacture, and commercialisation of its mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) product remestemcel-L. Novartis will make a US$50 million upfront payment and could pay over US$1.25 billion in milestones.

Sydney Airport traffic update.

The Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (ASX: SYD) share price is dropping lower after releasing its traffic update for the month of October. During the month, Sydney Airport’s total passenger traffic was 94.3% lower than the prior corresponding period. A total of 225,000 passengers were passing through its gates during the month. Domestic traffic was down 92.6% on the same period last year.

The best and worst ASX 200 performers.

The Mesoblast share price is far and away the best performer on the ASX 200 today with a 15% gain. This follows its agreement with Novartis. The worst performer has been the Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) share price with a 6% decline. Oil price weakness and a broker downgrade are weighing on its shares.

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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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