Gold prices plummet, as Wall Street tumbles despite Russia vaccine claims

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Australian shares are expected to have a relatively flat start to the day, hovering around a two-month high

ASX futures were up 9 points by 7:15am AEST.

It comes after Wall Street, which was doing well for most of the session, made a sudden U-turn in the final trading hour.

US markets were initially boosted by news that Russia had claimed to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Then investors sold off major technology-related stocks like Facebook (-2.6pc), Amazon (-2.1pc) and Apple (-3pc). which drove the market lower.

The Nasdaq index dropped 1.7 per cent to 10,783 points.

The S&P 500 shed 0.8 per cent to 3,334, while the Dow Jones fell by a modest 0.4 per cent to 27,687 points during its volatile day.

Market sentiment took a dive after it became clear there had been little progress between Democrats and Republicans in reaching a new stimulus bill.

US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News that White House negotiators had not spoken on Tuesday (local time) with Democratic leaders in the US Congress on coronavirus aid legislation after talks broke down last week.

The Australian dollar slipped (-0.2pc) to 71.4 US cents.

Gold prices tumbled even further from their record highs, shedding 5.7 per cent (or $US116) overnight.

This brings the precious metal’s spot price to $US1,911.25 an ounce, marking its worst day since June 2013.

Silver was sold-off even more aggressively —  down 15 per cent to $US24.79 an ounce.

It was the biggest single-day plunge for silver since October 2008.

In oil markets, Brent Crude dropped (-1pc) to $US44.54 per barrel.

ABC/Reuters

More to come

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