5 things to watch on the ASX on Friday

On Thursday the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) continued its solid run thanks to strong gains in the energy sector. The benchmark index finished the day 0.2% higher to 6,118.7 points.

Will the local market be able to finish on a high on Friday? Here are five things that could shape today’s trade:

ASX futures are pointing higher.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX is expected to open the day higher. SPI futures are currently pointing to the local market opening with a gain of 15 points or 0.25%. This follows solid gains on U.S. markets overnight which saw the Dow Jones end the day up 0.8%, the S&P 500 finish 0.9% higher, and the Nasdaq rise 0.9%.

Tech stocks could be on the rise.

A big catalyst for the gains seen on U.S. markets overnight were tech stocks. If local markets follow the same path it could be good news for shareholders of Appen Ltd (ASX: APX), Altium Limited (ASX: ALU), and accounting software provider Xero Limited (ASX: XRO).

Oil prices have pushed higher again.

Energy shares Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) were two of the biggest movers on Thursday, rising 4% and 5% respectively thanks to surging oil prices. On Friday they could get another little boost after oil prices continued to push higher. According, to Bloomberg, WTI crude oil rise 0.4% to US$71.40 a barrel and Brent crude oil increased 0.3% to US$77.46 a barrel.

Shares on the verge of going ex-dividend.

The shares of banking giants Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) and Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX: MQG) could be in demand on Friday ahead of going ex-dividend on Monday. Investors that wish to receive their respective dividends will need to be on the share registry by the close of play on Friday.

Results due from Graincorp.

The shares of Graincorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) will be on watch on Friday with the grains company due to release its half-year results. According to Bloomberg, the market exports Graincorp to report half-year earnings per share of 19.8 cents.

Lastly, here are three shares to watch very closely over the coming months.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Altium, Appen Ltd, and Xero. 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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