ASX to lift early amid virus volatility
The Australian share market is set to open higher in the week's early trade - but coronavirus-sparked volatility is likely to continue reigning supreme as the week progresses.
After rising Monday, falling Tuesday, rising Wednesday and falling again Thursday, the S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished Friday up 76.1 points, or 1.43 per cent, to 5,404.8 points, while the All Ordinaries index was 74.8 points higher, or 1.38 per cent, at 5,492.8.
Over the week, the ASX200 edged higher by 13.7 points, or 0.25 per cent.
CommSec chief economist Craig James on Sunday said Australian futures trading indicated the ASX200 would jump 32 points, or 0.6 per cent, at Monday's open.
But broader share volatility would remain the norm as economies gradually reopen following coronavirus-prompted shutdowns - and potentially face second-wave infections.
"Part of the reason is the fact that lockdown restrictions are easing and countries are not all going to be successful in terms of the easing of those restrictions," Mr James told AAP.
"What we'll see is investors responding to changes in COVID cases - those countries being very successful in coming out, their share markets are perhaps going to hold up best."
Mr James said Australian investors would closely watch remarks later this week by Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe, as well as testimony on Wednesday (AEST) by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to the US Senate banking committee.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics would also this week issue data on the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the national household sector.
In terms of equities, Mr James said the Australian bourse had likely bottomed out and was undergoing a skittish recovery - as long as the health forecasts remain optimistic.
He said the ASX200 had risen over six of the past seven weeks.
"Provided the lockdown restrictions ease and we don't see a tremendous escalation in cases, our share market should respond to that ... it means the outlook for companies is a little more assured and that means sustaining revenue and profitability." Mr James said.
Miners were the biggest share market gainers on Friday, collectively climbing 3.3 per cent as iron ore prices rose, while gold miners also performed well.
All the big banks were higher while private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care rose 3.2 per cent to $64.13 after entering into a binding agreement with the NSW Ministry of Health to make its facilities available during the coronavirus crisis.
The Australian dollar was buying 64.49 US cents at the close of Australian trade on Friday, which dipped to 64.11 cents at the conclusion of the US session.
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