ASX barely changed in early trading

Australia’s share market is barely changed in early trading as sentiment remains cautious about economic recovery amid rising coronavirus cases. 

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 4.4 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 5893.5 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 0.8 points, or 0.01 per cent lower, at 6000.5.

Most industry sectors were split between marginal gains or losses.

The biggest weights of the industry sectors were 

Energy companies were the biggest drag, down 0.73 per cent, followed by consumer staples, lower by 0.62 per cent.

Materials have been the best performing sector, up 0.64 per cent.

Overnight, US markets rallied as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell backed a coronavirus economic rescue package.

However, the mood remained cautious with Mr Powell reiterating comments that the path of the US economy is “highly uncertain” due to the coronavirus impact, while the top US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, warned the virus spread “could get very bad”. 

The S&P 500 rallied to finish higher by 1.54 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.85 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.87 per cent.

The Australian dollar was higher amid improving risk appetite, buying 68.98 US cents at 1015 AEST, higher from 68.54 US cents at the close of trade on Tuesday.

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