Australian shares set to fall early

Shares are likely to fall at the opening of the trading week on the Australian market mainly on investor concerns about the coronavirus remaining out of control in the US.

The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was lower by 91.0 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 5,757.0 at 0800 AEST on Monday.

Stocks on Wall Street finished last week sharply lower as coronavirus infections in the US hit an all-time high, prompting states like Texas and Florida to reverse course on the reopening of businesses.

For a third consecutive day on Saturday, the number of confirmed US cases rose by more than 40,000, one of the largest surges in the world.

The major indices fell than 2.0 per cent and have provided a weak lead for their Australian counterpart.

The US virus cases have injected jitters into a market that has been mostly riding high since April on hopes that the global economy will recover from a deep recession as businesses open doors.

Gold prices have increased as worried investors flock to safe haven assets, while oil prices have fallen on weakening demand.

Australia itself is not immune from increasing virus cases. Victoria has recorded double-digit increases in new COVID-19 infections for 12 days running, and had 90 new cases over the weekend.

The ASX200 fell 0.65 per cent last week, with the US virus rate a major catalyst.

The Australian dollar was buying 68.50 US cents at 0800 AEST, lower from 68.83 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.

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