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US stocks closed higher with the S&P 500 up 0.9 per cent, its second straight day of gains, led by shares in the industrial sector. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6 per cent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9 per cent.

US airline stocks rose as investors savoured good news about a potential vaccine and the prospect of additional government funding. American Airlines jumped 16 per cent to $13.44, followed by a near 15 per cent increase at United Airlines to $36.37. Prices also rose for Delta and Southwest airlines, and for aerospace manufacturer Boeing.

Moderna, the US biotech group, announced late on Tuesday that its experimental vaccine had produced an immune response in all 45 individuals participating in an early-stage trial. A rumour of positive developments for the vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford in the UK also buoyed stocks.

Walmart has become the latest retailer to require customers to wear face masks at its US stores, starting on July 20 as the nation sees a surge in coronavirus cases. The world’s largest retailer said about 65 per cent of its more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s Clubs are located in areas where the state or local government has mandated the use of face coverings, and it is now acting to “bring consistency across stores and clubs”.

The Bank of Canada will keep its rates at rock-bottom levels until inflation reaches 2 per cent, as the central bank said it would continue its bond-buying programme. The bank said it will hold its benchmark rate at the “effective lower bound” of 0.25 per cent. In its first policy update under new governor Tiff Macklem, the bank also signalled a willingness to keep supporting an expansion in government debt not seen since the second world war.

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Ireland has deferred reopening bars and nightclubs by three weeks until August 10 as a rise in Covid-19 infections spurs fear of a second coronavirus wave. Some 3,500 pubs that don’t serve food had been preparing to reopen next Monday but they have now been directed to stay closed. The sector closed in March, with the loss of 50,000 jobs.

About €40bn of France’s new €100bn coronavirus recovery plan will go towards protecting and modernising industry and reducing dependence on foreign countries, according to Jean Castex, the new French prime minister. Mr Castex was giving details in the National Assembly of President Emmanuel Macron’s promise on Tuesday to allocate more money to the national economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rishi Sunak, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, said British companies should not expect the government to help relieve their growing debt burden and that it is not sensible for the government to take equity stakes in companies. His remarks contrasted with Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor, who has said the high level of corporate debt might undermine the recovery and the public sector should ensure a response to “the need for equity capital”.

Via Financial Times