S&P/ASX 200 keeps head above water as mining and health stocks trade higher

Gold rose on Friday to hit a new all-time high of US$1,970.81 per ounce as a sliding dollar and dire economic numbers sparked a rush to safety.

Archer Materials Ltd - S&P/ASX 200 keeps head above water as mining and health stocks trade higher
Oil prices rose on Friday and finished the month higher, benefiting from news of US oil output cuts

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is marginally up 0.08% to 5933 points at 12.30 pm as financial and consumer discretionary sectors suffered losses but mining and health stocks helped the index keep its head above water.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) (+1.84%), BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP) (+1.44%) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) (+1.13%) all gained more than 1% while National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB) was down 3.28% and Australia and New Zealand Banking GrpLtd (ASX:ANZ) dipped 3.56%.

COVID-19 update

Victorians are preparing for extreme new restrictions affecting businesses to be announced today, as another 429 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of disaster and imposed stage four restrictions, which include a daily curfew from 8pm to 5am for Melbourne residents until at least September 13.

White House coronavirus task force leader Dr Deborah Birx said widespread COVID-19 infections in urban and rural America mark a “new phase” for the pandemic as she doubled down on calls to wear face masks and observe social distancing measures.

Birx said on CNN: “What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread.”

The US has the world’s biggest number of COVID-19 cases at 4.6 million, or one-quarter of the total, and 154,361 deaths.

Top gainers

Today’s top gainers on the ASX include FYI Resources Ltd (ASX:FYI) (+15.15%), Engage:BDR Ltd (ASX:EN1) (+14.29%), Highfield Resources Ltd (ASX:HFR) (+7.50%), Element 25 Ltd (ASX:E25) (+4.88%) and Cipherpoint Ltd (ASX:CPT) (+7.69%).

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