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One of the largest teachers’ unions in New York said schools in the city should not reopen in autumn unless they meet certain health criteria. Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said the plan laid out by New York City lacked transparency and clarity and contained unattainable requirements.

The number of Covid-19 infections confirmed by testing continued to rise in France on Wednesday, reaching 3,776 in the past 24 hours, a new record since the easing of the lockdown in mid-May. The number admitted to hospital for Covid-19 has stabilised in recent days with 4,806 patients, with 376 were in intensive care.

US stocks dropped a day after closing at record highs, as investors parsed the latest sales figures from major retailers and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting. The S&P 500 lost 0.4 per cent, dragged down by real estate and energy shares. The Nasdaq fell 0.6 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.3 per cent.

The pound surged to trade near its strongest level this year against the dollar, wiping out the steep losses it had suffered at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK currency traded on Wednesday at $1.3267. On January 1, the pound traded at $1.3275. Sterling has gained nearly 8 per cent in the past three months.

US carrier Southwest Airlines expects to burn less cash in the current quarter than previously expected, but forecast a deeper capacity cut as it warned demand is inconsistent. The Dallas-based company said on Wednesday it expects to burn about $20m a day in the third quarter, down from its projection of about $23m.

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Valaris, the world’s biggest owner of offshore drilling rigs, has become the latest oil company to succumb to bankruptcy in the wake of this year’s price crash. The group said on Wednesday it had reached a deal with half of its noteholders to enter into a bankruptcy programme that would cut its debt by more than $6.5bn.

The owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls has forecast further weakness in sales in the three months to November. TJX said on Wednesday it expects open-only comparable sales to decline 10 per cent to 20 per cent year-on-year in its third fiscal quarter. That would compare to a 3 per cent fall in the quarter that ended August 1.

Big-box US retailer Target has reported the biggest quarterly sales surge in its 58-year history. The company on Wednesday disclosed a 24 per cent year-on-year rise in second quarter like-for-like sales. Sales of electronics rose more than 70 per cent and kitchenware 30 per cent.

Via Financial Times