ASX set for another negative start

The Australian share market appears set for a second consecutive morning of early losses after US markets fell overnight.

The benchmark SPI 200 futures contract was down 48 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 5,348.0 at 0800 AEST on Thursday.

The S&P 500 and the Dow fell overnight as declines in financials and defensive groups countered gains in tech shares.

Data showed US private employers laid off 20 million workers in April, underscoring the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

In Australia, attention will be on miner Rio Tinto and insurer QBE when the companies hold their annual general meetings.

The March international trade balance will be published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Westpac economists expect the surplus to widen to $6.8 billion, led by a sharp rebound in exports.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday closed up 22.5 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 5,384.6 points.

The All Ordinaries closed down 13.3 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5,464.8 points.

One Australian dollar buys 64 US cents at 0800 AEST, down from 64.45 US cents on Wednesday’s close.

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