Global Shares Fight Off Latest Virus Threat

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

The ASX is looking for a lower start later this morning after truncated dealings on Friday because of the US holiday long weekend saw ASX 200 futures drop 35 points or 0.6%.

Eurozone shares fell 0.6% on Friday and US S&P 500 futures fell 0.4% (with the physical market closed for a public holiday).

Despite ongoing concerns about coronavirus, most major share markets saw solid gains last week helped by good economic data, positive vaccine news, and policy stimulus.

Japanese shares fell 0.9%, but US shares rose 4% in the holiday-shortened week, Eurozone shares rose 2.8% and Chinese shares surged 6.8% taking them above their pre-coronavirus highs as two surveys of Chinese manufacturing and service sectors were stronger than expected especially Friday’s services sector survey.

The strong global lead helped the Australian share market overcome concerns about rising coronavirus cases in Victoria to boost the ASX 200 by 2.6% for the week led by IT, telco, consumer, and energy stocks.

But COVID-19 continues to lurk and this week will become an even bigger concern for markets after a significant worsening in infection numbers in Victoria and in the US.

More than 100 new cases in Victoria on Friday and the locking down on nine inner Melbourne public housing towers, will add to the growing impression there’s a second wave emerging in the Victorian capital.

That has already seen the AFL move all its Melbourne teams out of Victoria, the Melbourne Storm NRL team has moved, analysts ask how long before the lockdown is re-imposed across all of Victoria and especially Melbourne.

The US saw another unwanted record on Saturday – the third day with new daily cases of coronavirus surpassing 50,000, hitting a new 24-hour high of 57,497.

The COVID-19 pandemic has so far infected 11,124,651 people globally and 2,808,003 in the US as of Saturday.

It had claimed at least 526,003 lives worldwide, 129,476 of which in America according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Friday saw the ASX200 rise by 25.2 points to finish at 6,057.9. Friday’s rise was the fourth straight session of gains and a new three-week high close.

Adbri Limited shares slumped after Alcoa ended a 50-year supply relationship with subsidiary Cockburn Cement. The contract was worth about $70 million in annual revenue for the group. Shares in cement maker fell by as much as 28% on the news and ended down 25.4% at $2.35. That left the shares down 32% year to date.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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