The ASX opened 0.2% higher with a sharp selloff in the technology sector offset by gains in material and financial stocks.
The binary opposite performance is broadly in line with Wall Street, after the Nasdaq plunged 2.5% while the blue-chip Dow Jones closed at almost breakeven.
A rotation out of fast growing and richly valued tech stocks is taking place as investors place bets on more cyclical and value pockets of the market.
Beaten up gold stocks are moving higher on Friday including Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) jumped 4.3%, Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) rallied 4.1% and Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX: KLA) opened 3.7% higher. Gold spot prices managed to close 1.3% higher on Thursday at US$1,798/oz.
The ASX 200 energy index opened 2% higher following an uptick in oil prices. According to S&P Global Platts, oil demand markers in most of the world’s oil consuming countries outside Europe are hitting post-pandemic highs despite ongoing omicron concerns.
In major Asian and American oil-consuming countries, mobility indicators improved to within just 2% of pre-COVID-19 levels in the second week of December. While US crude oil inventories reported its largest draw since September.
BlueScope Steel (ASX: BSL) is riding some encouraging survey data coming out of the US construction industry.
According to a survey conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce, 95% of contractors said they were experiencing at least one product shortage in the fourth quarter, with steel representing the most reported product shortage. BlueScope shares traded 2% higher as the market opened.
A steel shortage also spells good news for iron ore. Iron ore spot prices improved to US$116.06 on Thursday amid a positive outlook for long-term iron ore demand and relaxed short-term production policies in China, market participants told FastMarkets.
Fortescue Metals (ASX: FMG), BHP Group (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) are up between 0.7% and 1.7%. The gains on the smaller end of town are far greater, with Mount Gibson Iron (ASX: MGX) up 3.2% and Champion Iron (ASX: CIA) up 4.5%.
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a series of orders to five companies including Afterpay (ASX: APT) and Zip Co (ASX: Z1P) to "collect information on the risks and benefits of these fast-growing loans".
US listed rivals Affirm and Block (formerly Square) fell 1-0.6% and -4.6% respectively in overnight trade.
Unsurprisingly, Afterpay plunged -6.8% while Zip slumped -7.6%.
Finance Writer & Social Media
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