S&P/ASX 200 up 0.70% as Victoria suffers deadliest day yet of COVID-19 pandemic

Gold prices fell 0.3% to US$1,964.51 per ounce today as investors’ appetite for riskier assets improved after the Federal Reserve pledged to support the COVID-19 battered US economy.

Fortescue Metals Group - S&P/ASX 200 up 0.70% as Victoria suffers deadliest day yet of COVID-19 pandemic
Oil prices dipped again as a surge in COVID-19 cases dampened hopes of quick rebound in fuel demand

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is up 0.70% at 12.27 pm with all sectors except utilities rising in early trade.

The market has ignored today’s COVID-19 update, where Victoria reported a record 723 new cases and 19 new deaths, with masks to be mandatory across the state from Sunday.

State of the economy

One in 10 businesses says they will close once government support measures such as JobKeeper come to an end, according to a special business survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today.

Many firms are dependent on programs including JobKeeper, which the government plans to start winding back from the end of September.

Treasury boss Dr Stephen Kennedy said to the Senate's coronavirus committee today that the federal budget will be in deficit for a number of years with the economy dependent on the spending decisions of the government to get out of the pandemic recession.

Dr Kennedy said the road to economic recovery was "long and unpredictable" with much depending on the health response to the virus.

Top gainers

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) rose +2.6% in early trade to $17.29. The iron ore miner briefly hit a record high of $17.45 on the open.

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include Calima Energy Ltd (ASX:CE1) (+33.33%), VIP Gloves Ltd (ASX:VIP) (+19.05%), Greenland Minerals Ltd (ASX:GGG) (+12.94%), Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) (+16.00%), Cauldron Energy Ltd (ASX:CXU) (+12.00%) and Whitebark Energy Ltd (ASX:WBE) (+33.33%).

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