Australian stock exchange traders are expecting a good start to morning trade after a couple of major US indexes finished trading higher last week.

The SPI 200 futures contract was higher by 65 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 5,574.0 at 0700 AEST on Monday, indicating a decent gain in early trade.

Hopes of a vaccine for COVID-19 and a US economic recovery in the second half of the year spurred stocks higher for much of last week, and will continue to be major issues influencing trade.

The S&P 500 rose 6.94 points to 2,955.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 8.96 points, or less than 0.1 per cent, to 24,465.16. The Nasdaq composite added 39.71 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 9,324.59.

Meanwhile AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver forecast the Aussie dollar will gradually rise as economies re-open.

“Providing major economies continue to re-open the Aussie dollar will probably drift higher,” he said.

“Tensions around trade with China and the US-China relationship may cause bits of volatility with the Aussie dollar but the major picture is one of recovery.”

The Australian dollar was buying 65.33 US cents at 0700 AEST, higher from 65.15 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.