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S&P/ASX 200 remains choppy as COVID-19 anxiety dominates market sentiment

Concerns about renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in the US outweighed signs of a recovery in US gasoline demand, keeping a lid on oil prices.

De Grey Mining Limited - S&P/ASX 200 remains choppy as COVID-19 anxiety dominates market sentiment
Iron ore shipments from Port Hedland increased 5.8% for the 12 months to June 2020

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) erased some of its earlier losses but is still down 0.087% at 12.38 pm as investors remained cautious due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases around the world.

The IT sector is continuing its strong performance, up 1.7%, and healthcare is also having a good day, up 0.45%.

Iron ore shipments from Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk export terminal, increased 5.8% over the 12 months to June 2020, and 8.4% for the month, to a record 51.8 million tonnes.

The record level of shipments shows that China’s demand for iron ore is strong and also the ability of Australian producers to pump additional volumes.

Oil price drops

Concerns about renewed COVID-19 lockdowns in the US outweighed signs of a recovery in US gasoline demand, keeping a lid on oil prices.

Brent crude futures were down 90 cents, or 2%, at US$42.39 per barrel yesterday, after gaining 0.5% on Wednesday.

COVID-19 update

Victoria’s two largest COVID-19 outbreaks have now been linked, forming one huge cluster that health authorities are scrambling to contain.

It is now becoming clear that the 113-case Al-Taqwa College cluster and the 159-case public housing towers outbreak have strong connections.

In the US, more than 60,500 new COVID-19 infections were reported on Thursday, according to Reuters, setting a new one-day record.

As infections rose in 41 of the 50 states over the last two weeks, the US has become increasingly divided on issues such as the reopening of schools and businesses.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Platina Resources Limited (ASX:PGM) (+9.52%), Eclipse Metals Ltd (ASX:EPM) (+14.29%, Rimfire Pacific Mining N L (ASX:RIM) (+16.67%), Cipherpoint Ltd (ASX:CPT) (+14.71%) and Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (+10.00%).

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