S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) is 0.66% in the red at lunch, dragged down by losses from banks, travel stocks, energy and retail names.
Gains for gold miners, BHP Group Ltd (ASX:BHP) (+1.20), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) (+1.04%), healthcare and tech stocks helped minimise the loss.
The Victorian premier this morning said the state had detected another 275 COVID-19 cases over the past day, while NSW has 20 new cases.
US deaths from the novel coronavirus exceeded 140,000 on Saturday as cases continued to rise in 43 out of 50 states over the last two weeks.
However, the market is likely to respond positively this week to signs of a COVID-19 vaccine getting closer.
AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) and Oxford University are expected to provide an update on their vaccine work in the next 24 hours. AstraZeneca has said it could deliver doses of a vaccine in the UK as early as September if results are promising.
Todays top gainers on the ASX include Brookside Energy Ltd (ASX:BRK) (+20.00%), Corazon Mining Ltd (ASX:CZN) (+100.00%), Argonaut Resources NL (ASX:ARE) (+14.29%), Rimfire Pacific Mining N L (ASX:RIM) (+16.67%) and K2FLY Ltd (ASX:K2F) (13.04%).
Proactive news headlines:
Fe Limited shares surge after Morck Well JV drilling returns high-grade gold hits
Fe Limited (ASX:FEL) shares have surged 30% since Friday after confirming further significant gold hits at the Morck Well JV with Auris Minerals Ltd (ASX:AUR) (80% interest) in the Bryah Basin, Western Australia.
Cardinal Resources receives sovereign ratification for Namdini Gold Project mining licence
Cardinal Resources Ltd (ASX:CDV) has received sovereign parliamentary ratification for the mining licence of its Namdini Gold Project in Ghana. Parliamentary ratification of the licence paves the way for secure and solid project development.
Archer Materials confirms halloysite presence across Eyre Peninsula project in South Australia
White Rock Minerals $10 million share purchase plan endorses Last Chance gold strategy
White Rock Minerals Ltd (ASX:WRM) has received a strong response to its share purchase plan (SPP), which closed on July 15, 2020, raising $10 million, proving a strong endorsement of the company's strategy in relation to the Last Chance gold prospect in Alaska.
Theta Gold Mines appoints preferred mining contractor as it moves towards trial mining
Theta Gold Mines Ltd (ASX:TGM) has selected an experienced and respected mining contractor in Digmin Group, which will allow the company to rapidly advance trial mining activities at the Starter Theta Project in South Africa.