Investors can expect Australian shares to rise at the start of trading after their US counterparts were encouraged by an improving jobs market there.

The Australian SPI 200 futures contract was higher by 35.0 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 6048.0 points at 0800 AEST on Friday.

US markets were boosted by a government report that said employers added 4.8 million jobs to their payrolls in June for a second-straight month of growth. That was 1.8 million more jobs than analysts expected.

However, the US unemployment rate remains very high at 11.1 per cent.

The jobs figures helped the S&P 500 edge higher 14.15 points to 3,130.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 92.39 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 25,827.36. The Nasdaq rose 53 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 10,207.63.

The rally was not impervious to worries about the coronavirus outbreak. News that Florida had another sharp increase in confirmed cases helped cut the S&P 500’s early gains by more than half.

Meanwhile in Australia today, retail trade figures for May will show the extent of economic recovery from the peak of the pandemic in this country.

The Victorian government’s efforts to control a coronavirus outbreak will continue to be watched closely, after 77 new cases were recorded on Thursday.

The Australian dollar was buying 69.24 US cents at 0800 AEST, lower from 69.29 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.