* Tech stocks eye worst day in nearly a month
* Energy stocks set for best day in nearly six weeks
* Mining stocks hit highest since Jan. 8
* NZ set for fourth straight session of losses
Feb 23 (Reuters) - Australian shares traded little changed
on Tuesday as gains in miners and energy firms on stronger
commodity prices countered losses in tech stocks following a
weak lead from U.S. peers.
The S&P/ASX 200 index was nearly unchanged at
6,779.5 by 0000 GMT, after swinging between positive and
negative territory for much of the early part of the session.
Tech stocks were the biggest drags on the benchmark,
tracking losses in U.S. peers that have come under pressure from
an uptick in bond yields and concerns over higher inflation
"Steadily rising real yields should reflect better growth
prospects for equities but if they rise suddenly, pushed higher
by flows from rapid repositioning, then we think the impact of a
higher discount rate will pull equities lower," analysts at UBS
said in a note.
Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay shed 7.8% to lead
losses among local tech companies which were set for their worst
session since Jan. 28.
Investors will watch closely for any changes to the U.S.
Federal Reserve's dovish outlook from Chairman Jerome Powell
when he speaks before the Senate Banking Committee later in the
Energy stocks gained up to 4.1% and were on track to
post their best session since Jan. 13, lifted by a jump in oil
prices as investors anticipate a slow recovery in U.S. crude
output following a cold snap in the state of Texas. Oil Search
climbed 8.6% after posting a surprise underlying
Newcrest Mining and AngloGold Ashanti led
gains among gold miners, which climbed 5.6%, as worries
over rising inflation and a weaker U.S. dollar pushed the metal
Firmer bullion and copper prices supported a more than 1%
rise in heavyweight miners, which hit their highest
since Jan. 8. Copper prices breached the $9,000 mark for the
first time since 2011 on indications of tight supply.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index declined
0.6% to 12,356.68 and was on track for a fourth straight session
(Reporting by Arpit Nayak in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu