Banks, tech help lift ASX at noon

ASX signboards in Sydney.
The energy and mining sectors were the worst performers on the ASX in early trading. -AAP Image

Australian shares were trading higher at midday as gains in financial, tech and consumer stocks offset weakness in the mining and energy sectors.  

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 26.3 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,594.4 at 1200 AEST on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 32.8 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 6,779.3.

Investors shrugged off declines on Wall Street overnight that capped the worst first-half performance for the S&P 500 index since 1970, as well as weaker US consumer spending that indicated price pressures were still strong.

In the local market, gains were led by the heavyweight financial sector. 

Each of the big four banks was trading between 0.5 and 1.7 per cent higher despite data showing house prices had fallen for a second month in a row.

Technology stocks followed suit to snap a three-day losing streak. 

EML Payments rose four per cent, while shares in Link Services and accounting software producer Xero gained more than 1.5 per cent each.

Shares of buy-now-pay-later firm Openpay soared 25 per cent to 15 cents after the company said it will pause its US operations and "materially" reduce its workforce. 

The announcement also helped boost beaten down shares in bigger rival Zip Pay by 10 per cent to 48 cents.

On the negative side, local energy stocks were the worst hit after oil prices sank more than three per cent overnight. 

Sector leaders Woodside and Santos gave up 2.3 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, while Beach Energy was down 0.4 per cent.

Mining stocks weighed down the market further as iron ore prices continued to slip amid top steel producer China's demand constraints.

BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were down between 1.2 and 2.0 per cent.

Gold stocks regained some shine after days of losses. Evolution Mining and Northern Star were each up more than three per cent.

Shares in peer Regis Resources jumped more than 10 per cent to $1.43 on reports that billionaire Andrew Forrest has abandoned plans to increase his stake in the goldminer.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was barely changed, buying 68.81 US cents at 1200 AEST, from 68.82 US cents at Thursday's close.