Shares dive early on US virus infections

Shares have fallen early on the Australian market and all sectors were lower after US investors were finally spooked by the steady climb in coronavirus infections there.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 102.7 points, or 1.72 per cent, at 5863.0 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Thursday.

The All Ordinaries index was 105.1 points, or 1.73 per cent lower, at 5976.5.

The energy sector fared worst, down 3.44 per cent, after a more than 5.0 per cent drop in world oil prices overnight.

The financial sectors was hit hard too, lower by 2.33 per cent.

Materials dropped 2.11 per cent.

In the US, the S&P 500 fell 2.6 per cent after new coronavirus cases climbed to the highest level in two months.

The United States has recorded the second-largest rise in infections since the health crisis began, with a flare-up of cases in states where restrictions meant to contain the disease were lifted early.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced that visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

In more bearish news, the International Monetary Fund said it expects the global economy to shrink by 4.9 per cent, compared with a 3.0 per cent contraction predicted in April.

The Australian dollar was buying 68.55 US cents at 1015 AEST, lower from 69.41 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.

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