Australian shares are expected to fall slightly in early trade, while gold has surged to new record highs.
The Australian dollar had risen (+0.6pc) to 71.6 US cents by 7:15am AEST.
ASX futures had slipped by 14 points, or 0.2 per cent, which indicates the local share market is likely to open lower.
It came after a choppy session on US markets, which managed to end with slight gains.
Investors were waiting for a major bill to provide coronavirus aid, with Democrats saying talks with the White House were moving in the “right direction”, despite both sides remaining far apart on major issues.
Gold’s new record high
The precious metal’s spot price had lifted (+2.1pc) above $US2,018 an ounce.
The ultra-low interest-rate environment and hopes for more stimulus in the United States have boosted gold’s safe-haven appeal.
Markets have lost confidence that US Congress will approve enough stimulus to provide adequate benefits, leading the Federal Reserve to boost its balance sheet, said Lee Ferridge, head of North America macro strategy for State Street Global Markets.
“It all falls back on the Fed, that is what’s driving this,” he said.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones rose by 164 points (0.6 per cent) to 26,828.
The benchmark S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent to 3,306 points, while the Nasdaq gained 0.4 per cent to a new record high of 10,941 points.
A surge in technology-related stocks, and trillions of dollars worth of central bank and government stimulus, have lifted the S&P 500 to within 3 per cent of its February closing record.
European markets had a mixed performance with Britain’s FTSE flat and Germany’s DAX down 0.4 per cent.
Shares in BP jumped 3.4 per cent despite the oil giant cutting its dividend for the first time in a decade, and reporting a $9.36 billion loss in the June quarter.
Brent crude oil has risen (+0.4pc) to $44.33 a barrel.
More to come