The Australian stock exchange seems headed for falls of more than two per cent after US markets fell following a rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

The SPI200 futures contract was down 136 points, or 2.12 per cent, at 6,271 at 0800 AEDT on Friday.

US equities fell sharply overnight as coronavirus fears intensified after the number of cases confirmed in the US rose to 164 and California declared a state of emergency.

Local investors will be watching out for retail spending figures for January, to get a snapshot of the health of Australia’s retail sector and consumer spending.

The Aussie dollar was buying 66.02 US cents at 0800 AEDT on Friday, down from 66.28 as the market closed on Thursday.