News you might have missed …
US stocks rose for a third day running, as investors continued to measure better-than-expected corporate earnings against dire forecasts because of the pandemic. The S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent, led higher by energy. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also rose about 0.4 per cent to a fresh record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 per cent. Gold jumped above $2,000 for the first time.
Ireland has blocked the reopening of about 3,500 pubs for a second time because of mounting anxiety that rising infections could threaten plans to reopen schools later this month. Schools shut in mid-March, days before the pub sector closed with the loss of 50,000 jobs. Prime minister Micheál Martin deferred the reopening next Monday of non-food pubs by another three weeks.
Sotiris Tsiodras, Greece’s chief epidemiologist, has called for “increased vigilance” after health authorities reported the highest single-day number of cases since April 22, when the country was under a strict lockdown. Authorities said 121 confirmed cases were recorded on Tuesday, including clusters linked to a meat processing plant and several wedding receptions across northern Greece.
Germany has partially lifted its travel warning for Turkey, imposed at the height of the pandemic. A government statement said the warning would be lifted for Antalya, Izmir, Aydin and Mugla, which had a “low rate of infection” — about five per 100,000 people in seven days. German authorities said if the situation deteriorates, the travel warning for the four regions might be reintroduced.
Corporate news you might have missed …
PizzaExpress has put its UK business up for sale and warned of 1,100 job cuts as it takes drastic action to stave off collapse as a result of the crisis. The 55-year-old pizza chain will close 67 restaurants — 15 per cent of its UK estate — and offload its Chinese business. The company announced a fresh £144m cash injection to refinance debt and fund the reopening of its 449 UK restaurants.
EasyJet generated £7m revenue over a three-month period when few people were flying, as governments imposed strict lockdowns and grounded planes in their efforts to staunch the spread of the pandemic. But the low-cost airline has improved its previously dire expectations as it predicts a smaller loss in the fourth quarter compared with the third.
Second-quarter revenues jumped 69 per cent at Beyond Meat, the US plant-based meat group, as sales increases at retailers more than offset the fall in fast-food chains and restaurants because of the pandemic. Beyond Meat said revenues for the three months to June totalled $113.3m after its retail sales almost tripled to $90m while food service revenues fell 61 per cent to $6.5m.
Disney took a $3.5bn hit to operating income at its theme parks, as the pandemic ground some of the entertainment giant’s most lucrative businesses to a halt. The company faced three months in which Covid-19 bruised nearly all of its businesses apart from streaming. Disney has depended on its theme parks and blockbuster movies to deliver profits even as traditional media has declined.