ASX to open flat amid caution over virus

Shares are poised for a flat start on the Australian market, taking the lead from Wall Street, where sentiment was affected over worries about coronavirus cases.

The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was lower by 5.0 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 5,922.0 at 0800 AEST on Friday.

In the US overnight, all three major US stock indexes oscillated through much of the day but the S&P ended the session in the black along with the tech-heavy Nasdaq. The blue-chip Dow lost ground.

While several American states have reported surges in new COVID-19 cases after re-opening their economies, President Donald Trump has insisted the United States would not enact a new round of restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread.

Separately, a Chinese medical expert says Beijing has brought a recent coronavirus outbreak under control.

The country’s capital has tackled a resurgence of COVID-19 cases over the past week linked to the massive Xinfadi food centre.

In Australia on Friday, investors will be watching preliminary retail trade data for May for the latest indication of whether the economy is recovering as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Westpac economists expect a rebound of 12.0 per cent.

Meanwhile, AMP Capital has appointed Boe Pahari as its chief executive.

Mr Pahari, the global head of infrastructure equity, will replace Adam Tindall who is retiring after five years in the top job.

The Australian dollar was buying 68.48 US cents at 0800 AEST, lower from 68.72 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.

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