Aust shares slip as virus rattles US

Shares on the ASX have slipped early after Wall Street investors worried about the impact of renewed lockdowns in some US states due to surging coronavirus cases.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 20.7 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 5934.8 points after 15 minutes of trade on Friday.

The All Ordinaries index was 19.5 points, or 0.32 per cent higher, at 6055.4.

Energy took the biggest hit, down 1.42 per cent, after oil prices fell amid worries that renewed restrictions in the US states would reduce demand.

Consumer discretionaries had the next biggest slump, down 0.47 per cent.

Utilities and financials had the next heaviest falls, down 0.44 per cent.

Only information technology and health were better, by 0.05 per cent and 0.01 per cent respectively.

In the US, investors were spooked by more business shutdowns in some states to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The United States recorded more than 60,000 new COVID-19 infections for Wednesday, setting a single-day global record while Florida and Texas reported a record one-day increase in deaths.

Investors also began to turn their focus to the second-quarter earnings season, which shifts into high gear next week.

S&P 500 companies are expected to post a more than 40 per cent decline in year-over-year earnings, which would be the biggest quarterly profit drop since the 2008 financial crisis, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 361.19 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 25,706.09, the S&P 500 lost 17.89 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 3,152.05 and the Nasdaq Composite added 55.25 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 10,547.75 on Thursday.

In Australia today, state and territory leaders will consider a proposal from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cap overseas plane arrivals to ease the pressure on managing these people in quarantine.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.56 US cents at 1015 AEST, lower from 69.86 US cents at the close of local trade on Thursday.

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