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Shares to slip early after US sell-off

The Australian share market looks set for a weak opening with stock futures pointing to a 40 point or 0.7 per cent fall at the opening.

Shares are expected to fall at the start of the trading week on the ASX after a broad sell-off on US markets last week due to weak earnings and surging coronavirus cases.

The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was lower by 27.0 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 5972.0 points at 0800 AEST on Monday.

US markets closed lower on Friday after more than 1000 people died from Covid-19 in that country. The grim milestone came as total US cases surged past 4 million.

The tech sector weighed heaviest on all three major US stock averages, ahead of results from Apple, Alphabet and on July 30 in a weak trading environment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.68 per cent to 26,469.89, the S&P 500 lost 0.62 per cent to 3,215.63 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.94 per cent to 10,363.18.

Investors have also been concerned about relations between the US and China following a tit-for-tat moves by both countries to close the other’s consulate in one of their cities.

Gold prices on Friday topped the US$1,900 per ounce ceiling for the first time since 2011 due to the uncertainty.

Meanwhile, oil prices rose after supportive Euro and US economic data with Brent crude at US$43.34 a barrel.

In Australia, the point of most interest this week will be inflation data for the June quarter, due on Wednesday.

The CBA and AMP Capital both forecast Australia’s key inflation measure, the consumer price index, will drop about two per cent.

That would be the biggest quarterly fall since records began in 1948 and would take the annual rate negative for the first time since 1997.

The Australian dollar was trading at 70.96 US cents at 0800 AEST, barely changed from 70.94 US cents at Friday’s close.

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