Shares are expected to fall in early trade on the ASX after rising coronavirus cases in parts of the US and China caused major markets to drop.
The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was lower by 36 points, or 0.60 per cent, to 5,972.0 at 0700 AEST on Thursday, indicating losses in share values early.
Worries over a resurgence in the pandemic’s spread persisted as new coronavirus cases hit a record in Oklahoma just days before US President Donald Trump’s expected campaign rally in that state.
The numbers of new cases are rising sharply in about six US states, according to a Reuters analysis, and authorities in Beijing have ramped up mobility restrictions in their efforts to contain a new COVID-19 outbreak.
The S&P 500 and the Dow reversed earlier gains to snap a three-day winning streak.
Tech shares led the Nasdaq to a modest gain.
In Australia, employment estimates for May will be published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and give more insight into the toll of coronavirus lockdowns. The federal government has begun negotiations with the UK for a free trade agreement following the latter’s decision to leave the European Union. The deal could be finalised before the end of the year.
The Australian dollar was buying 68.85 US cents at 0700 AEST, lower from 69.09 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.