ASX 200 up 0.75%: REA Group and News Corp impress, big four banks charge higher

National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) and REA Group Limited (ASX:REA) shares are making waves on the ASX 200 on Friday…

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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 high. The benchmark index is currently up 0.75% to 6,816.8 points.

Here’s what is happening on the market today:

REA Group half year update impresses

The REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) share price is pushing higher today after reporting strong half year profit growth despite softer revenues. Due partly to the Melbourne lockdowns, REA Group posted a 2% decline in half year revenue to $430.4 million. However, thanks to its excellent cost control, the company’s net profit after tax grew 13% over the prior corresponding period to $172.1 million. Management also spoke positively about the future, noting that “Australia’s property market appears to be on the march again.”

News Corp shares rocket

The News Corporation (ASX: NWS) share price is rocketing higher today after the media giant revealed its most profitable quarter since the new News Corp was launched more than seven years ago. According to the release, the company posted a 3% decline in second quarter revenue to US$2.48 billion. However, stronger margins led to News Corp reporting quarterly net income of US$261 million. This was up from US$103 million a year earlier.

Bank shares push higher

The big four banks are all pushing higher on Friday and are helping to underpin the ASX 200’s strong performance. While all four banks are outperforming the market, the best performer has been the National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) share price with a 1.4% gain. NAB is scheduled to release its first quarter update on 16 February. Some investors appear confident this update will be a positive one.

Best and worst ASX 200 performers

The best performer on the ASX 200 on Friday has been the News Corp share price with a 13% gain. This follows the release of its second quarter update. The worst performer has been the Janus Henderson Group CDI (ASX: JHG) share price with a 3.5% decline. A solid quarterly update by the fund manager was overshadowed by news that one of its largest shareholders is selling its stake.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended REA Group Limited. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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