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5 things to watch on the ASX 200 on Friday

On Thursday the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) continued its positive run and recorded its third day of gains in a row. The benchmark index climbed a further 2.3% to 5,113.3 points.

Will the Australian share market be able to build on this on Friday? Here are five things to watch:

ASX 200 expected to rise again.     

It looks set to be a positive end to the week for the ASX 200. According to the latest SPI futures, the benchmark index is expected to open the day 140 points or 2.75% higher on Friday. This follows a positive night of trade on Wall Street, which in late trade sees the Dow Jones up 6.2%, the S&P 500 index 6.4% higher, and the Nasdaq index up 5.7%.

Oil prices tumble.

Energy producers such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) could end the week deep in the red after oil prices tumbled notably lower overnight. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is down 6.5% to US$22.89 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has fallen 3.2% to US$26.51 a barrel. Weak demand for oil due the coronavirus outbreak was the catalyst for these declines.

Woolworths hiring 20,000 staff.

Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX: WOW) is doing its part to help the economy and is looking to hire 20,000 people across its supermarkets, ecommerce, and drinks businesses. The company’s CEO Brad Banducci said: “These are uncertain times for many industries and we have an important role to play keeping Australians employed through this crisis.”

Gold price edges higher.

Gold miners including Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST) will be on watch today after the gold price edged higher. According to CNBC, the spot gold price has risen 0.3% to US$1,637.90 an ounce. The gold price jumped after record high U.S. jobless claims fuelled hopes of further stimulus.

NWH defers its dividend.

The NRW Holdings Limited (ASX: NWH) share price will be one to watch on Friday following the release of an after-hours update. Although the mining services company continues to operate in line with expectations, it has decided to defer its dividend payment. Management believes it is prudent to retain access to the maximum liquidity available during these uncertain times.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.


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