Losses are likely early on the Australian share market after rising coronavirus cases in the US caused many traders there to sell stock.
The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was down by 92.0 points, or 1.55 per cent, to 5,837.0 at 0700 AEST on Thursday.
In the US, the S&P 500 skidded 2.6 per cent after new coronavirus cases climbed to the highest level in two months.
The United States has recorded the second-largest rise in infections since the health crisis began, with a flare-up of cases in states where restrictions meant to contain the disease were lifted early.
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced that visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Chief market strategist at National Securities in New York, Art Hogan, said: “Today was finally the day markets came to terms with the fact that increasing COVID-19 cases could mean a slower recovery in the economy”.
The Australian dollar was buying 68.68 US cents at 0700 AEST, lower from 69.41 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.
The Australian share market closed slightly higher for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, with investors apparently afraid to push the ASX200 over the 6,000 level.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday up 11.3 points 0.19 per cent, at 5,965.7 points, while the All Ordinaries index was up 12.3 points, or 0.2 per cent lower, at 6,081.6.