The domestic market may continue to track Wall Street higher but local investors will keep a wary eye on the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Australia as well as US negotiations on fresh stimulus measures.
Wall Street ended higher on Friday, boosted when Apple, Amazon, Google-parent Alphabet and Facebook got solid lifts on the back of strong earnings. Apple was the stand-out, jumping 10.5 per cent and adding US$172 billion to its market value.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4 percent Friday, the S&P added 0.8 percent while the Nasdaq added 1.5 per cent.
The late rally in US equities points to a "bounce in risk appetite as we start the week," ANZ Bank economists said in a note.
In Australia, however, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews declared a "state of disaster" with Melbourne's restrictions tougher from 8pm Sunday night, including daily curfews from 8pm-to-5am. The rest of the state's restrictions have also been tightened, including stay-at-home orders and the closure of restaurants, cafes, bars and schools.
The state accounted for 671 of Australia's 687 new covid-19 cases on Sunday.
In the US, where cases have now topped 4.6 million, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows warned Sunday he is "not optimistic" a deal will be reached on the next coronavirus relief package in the near future. In an interview with 'Face the Nation', Meadows said negotiators "still have a long ways to go."
Congress is due to go into its annual August recess at the end of next week and "agreement must be reached on stimulus measures if the recovery isn't to falter further," said ANZ Bank.
"While the US is unusually divided, the fiscal challenges are symptomatic of questions being asked everywhere: how long can governments sustain such massive support spending and what should the priorities be?" it said.
Also in the US, Fitch Ratings affirmed the country's rating at AAA but lowered the outlook to negative from stable.
The "US had the highest government debt of any AAA-rated sovereign heading into the crisis," said Fitch. The ratings agency "expects general government debt to exceed 130 percent of GDP by 2021." Fitch also expects the US economy to contract by 5.6 percent in 2020 before recovering by 4 percent next year.
Investors will now shift their focus to a raft of manufacturing data, including the Australian performance of manufacturing index and PMIs for China and Japan, followed by July manufacturing data for the euro zone, the UK and the US.
The kiwi dollar, meanwhile, was trading at 66.37 US cents at 8am in Wellington versus 67.05 cents at 5pm in Wellington on Friday, weighed down by US dollar strength.
However, "amid very soft US data, abundant liquidity, the lack of progress containing Covid-19 and the Fed's dovish tone, the US dollar rebound looks to be a temporary move and the rebound in equity prices points to a recovery in the NZ dollar in coming days," said ANZ Bank. It tips resistance at 67.55 US cents.