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5 things to watch on the ASX on Friday

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) stormed higher on Thursday, rising 0.5% to 6,176.3 points.

Will the market be able to build on this and finish the week on a high? Here are five things to watch:

ASX futures are pointing lower.

According to the latest SPI futures, the Australian share market is expected to open the day 26 points or 0.5% lower on Friday. This follows a disappointing night of trade on Wall Street which saw all three major indices sink deep into the red. The Dow Jones fell 0.75%, the S&P 500 dropped 0.8%, and the Nasdaq slumped 1.8% lower.

Tech shares sink on China hacking concerns.

Australian tech shares such as Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) and WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX: WTC) could come under pressure on Friday after a tech selloff on Wall Street overnight. U.S. tech shares slumped lower after Bloomberg BusinessWeek claimed that data centre equipment operated by Amazon Web Services and Apple may have been under surveillance from the Chinese government via a tiny microchip inserted during the equipment manufacturing process.

Oil prices fall.

Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) shares could come under pressure today after oil prices fell overnight. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price fell 2.3% to US$74.63 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price dropped 1.7% to US$84.81 a barrel. News that Saudi Arabia would increase its production meaningfully from near record levels and a rise in U.S. crude inventories weighed on prices.

Bank of Queensland downgraded to sell.

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) shares were strong performers on Thursday after the release of the bank’s full year results. But one broker that wasn’t impressed was Goldman Sachs. A note out of the investment bank this morning reveals that it has downgraded its shares to a sell rating with a $10.66 price target. While the result was stronger than expected, it was disappointed that there were limited signs of a pick-up in mortgage momentum.

HT&E shares going ex-dividend for mega distribution.

The shares of HT&E Ltd (ASX: HT1) are likely to trade sharply lower on Friday after going ex-dividend this morning for the media company’s mega distribution. Eligible shareholders can now look forward to receiving the 72 cents per share special dividend in their nominated accounts on October 24. HT&E declared the special dividend following the sale of its Adshel business.

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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 and WiseTech Global. 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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