The ASX 200 wasn’t sure which way to track in early trade, as gains for banks and energy stocks were offset by falls for mining and technology companies.

Things improved slightly, and by close of trade the big end of town had rustled up a ~0.4% intraday gain.

The fluctuating moves by sector was another indicator that markets are looking for direction, in a broader environment of rising interest rates and high commodity prices.

ASX 200 Energy stocks found demand as oil prices edged higher overnight, while the major banks also caught a bid.

However, large cap tech stocks came under pressure as the Information Technology index fell by more than 2%.

That followed the pattern of US markets overnight, as the S&P500 rose but the tech-focused Nasdaq fell more than 1%.

Heading into Thursday trade on Wall Street, the S&P500 is on track to open around 0.5% higher, while Nasdaq futures are around 0.8% higher.
 

BIG CAP WINNERS

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Like other ASX betting stocks, Betmakers Technology (ASX:BET) has come under pressure in recent months but the stock bounced off recent lows today in a big way.

As a platform, BET doesn’t take bets directly, but it provides analytical data and underlying technology services to licensed wagering operators.

In a major new deal, the company said it’s been selected as the exclusive technology and services provider in Australia and New Zealand for a new wagering venture

The new venture “is a consortium comprised of Tekkorp Capital LLC (Matt Davey), News Corp Australia, and TGW, a trust whose investors include Matt Tripp”, the company said.

The 10-year deal will operate with a revenue-share and “potential revenues greater than $300m”, BET said.

Investment management firm Challenger Ltd (ASX:CGF) was another large cap leader, following the release of its Q3 trading update.

The company reaffirmed its FY22 normalised net profit before tax guidance, and “now expects to be towards the upper end of the $430 million to $480 million guidance range”, the company said.

Another stock that presented a well-received March quarter trading update was $14bn logistics company Brambles Ltd (ASX:BXB).

BXB upgraded its full-year projections for underlying profit growth to 6-7%, up from previous guidance of 3-5%.
 

BIG CAP LOSERS

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Telecoms platform Megaport (ASX:MP1) got belted following its March quarter trading update, where it flagged monthly recurring revenue growth of $600,000.

“Foreign exchange headwinds from a strengthening Australian dollar reduced reported MRR growth to $300,000,” Megaport said.