The Australian share market is poised to lurch back into the red after US stocks were hammered overnight on warnings of a mounting coronavirus death toll.

The SPI200 futures contract was down 169 points, or 3.24 per cent, at 5,055.0 points at 0800 AEDT on Thursday, suggesting heavy early losses for local stocks.

Wall Street continues to suffer as US health officials warn the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic will surge.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes fell further after suffering their worst first quarter as President Donald Trump warned of a “painful” two weeks ahead for Americans.

Weak US payroll data also stoked concerns of a economic downturn as lockdown measures intensify in a bid to combat the spread of the virus.

The Australian share market rallied on Wednesday with a 3.58 per cent rise for the S&P/ASX200 benchmark index, even as the Reserve Bank released minutes from a meeting a fortnight ago showing members were worried about the likelihood of a recession.

IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said judging by the overnight moves, heightened volatility looks as though it’ll remain the norm.

“Any technical push higher in the stocks driven by end of month flows and rebalancing looks to have run its course, with market participants clearly back focusing on deteriorating fundamentals,” Mr Rodda said in a note.

The Australian dollar is buying 60.74 US cents, down from 61.80 US cents as the market closed on Wednesday.