ASX to rise early after vaccine hope

The Australian market is expected to rise at the open after news of a potential COVID-19 vaccine lifted US markets.

The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was higher by 42.0 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 5945.0 points at 0800 AEST on Thursday.

In the US, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices closed higher after drug maker Pfizer said a vaccine being developed with German firm BioNTech showed promise and was found to be tolerated in early-stage human trials.

The report came as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase of 43,644 new cases of the coronavirus. The high rate of infection is hampering economic recovery.

However, investors were encouraged by upbeat economic data as coronavirus-induced lockdowns have eased. A report on Wednesday showed a slump in global manufacturing had ebbed in June, with US figures hitting their highest level in more than a year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 77.91 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 25,734.97, the S&P 500 gained 15.57 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 3,115.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 95.86 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 10,154.63.

In Australia on Thursday, payments and business indicators data are due to be published and will give some insight into how the economy tracked in the first quarter.

Also, the Reserve Bank board will meet to discuss monetary policy.

Retailer Kathmandu has announced good sales results for the past six weeks.

It said sales at Kathmandu stores were higher by 12.5 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Sales at Rip Curl stores were 21 per cent higher.

However, the data has been adjusted as some stores remain closed due to COVID-19.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.13 US cents at 0800 AEST, higher from 68.98 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.

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