France reported another post-lockdown record of new coronavirus infections on Thursday, recording 6,111 cases in the 24 hours, about five times the level of two weeks ago. Prime Minister Jean Castex responded by tightening precautions: face masks will be obligatory in Paris from 8am on Friday.

The German government has imposed a minimum fine of €50 for not wearing a mask in public, amid rising concern over a surge in infections. The decision was made by Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany’s 16 states, but the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt said it would not comply.

French footballer Paul Pogba has tested positive in the latest blow to Manchester United’s pre-season training plans. Didier Deschamps, the French manager, said on Thursday that Mr Pogba has been left out of the Les Blues squad for matches against Sweden and Croatia.

The UN-recognised government in western Libya has imposed a full lockdown on areas under its control in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus. The round-the-clock ban on leaving homes will last four days and was imposed after the number of cases soared to almost 12,000.

Luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co returned to profitability in the second quarter as net sales improved in each month from May to July after it delayed the close of its $16.5bn takeover by LVMH. However, the coronavirus crisis continued to suppress net sales for the group, which were 29 per cent lower at $747m.

Shares in WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, rose 4.6 per cent after reinstating its dividend. Beating expectations, the London-based company reported a loss of £2.5bn for the first half of 2020 following a £2.7bn impairment charge, principally relating to the acquisition of Y&R in 2000.

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Flutter Entertainment, owner of PaddyPower Betfair and SkyBet, said it expected adjusted earnings, excluding its US business, to be £1.2-1.3bn, about 10 per cent ahead of consensus forecasts. The Dublin-based group’s revenue in the six months to June 30 rose 22 per cent to £2.4bn.

The Hut Group has unveiled plans to list with an equity value of £4.5bn, making the retail and technology group’s planned initial public offering London’s biggest this year. The IPO includes a proposed offer of new shares to raise £920m and would leave founder Matthew Moulding in control.

Via Financial Times