ASX slips early over virus worries

Shares have edged lower early on the Australian market after global markets closed weaker last week on concerns about continuing growth in COVID-19 cases in the US.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 12.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 6045.6 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Monday.

The All Ordinaries index was 7.9 points, or 0.13 per cent higher, at 6155.8.

Health shares were lower by 0.77 per cent, the biggest fall of any sector.

Materials were down 0.72 per cent, while consumer discretionary had the biggest gain, 0.47 per cent.

Wall Street was closed on Friday on account of the US Independence Day, so investors have taken their lead from European markets, where both the Stoxx Europe 600 and the UK FTSE ended lower.

Investors have become less optimistic about further gains as the United States has continued to report more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases daily for the past several days.

There are also doubts about the pace of the recovery with some countries in Europe reimposing restrictions due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.59 US cents at 1015 AEST, lower from 69.36 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.

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