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New claims for US unemployment aid unexpectedly rose back above 1m last week signalling an uneven recovery for the labour market from the coronavirus pandemic. There were 1.1m initial jobless claims on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, the US Department of Labor said on Thursday. That was higher than economists’ forecast for 925,000 claims.
The Nasdaq Composite notched its second record high this week, as technology shares led the market higher. The tech-weighted Nasdaq gained 1.1 per cent, with Apple and Microsoft each advancing more than 2 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 was up 0.3 per cent, close to its record high set on Tuesday.
Travellers returning to the UK from Portugal will no longer have to self-isolate on their return after the government lifted quarantine restrictions on Thursday. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, announced that the popular holiday destination had been added to the government’s “travel corridors exemption list”.
Northern Ireland has reduced the number of people allowed to gather both indoors and outdoors and stopped any further relaxation of lockdown measures. The limit on outdoor gatherings has been reduced to 15 people from 30, and the limit on gatherings indoors in private dwellings has been cut to six people (from two households) from 10.
Scotland will allow bingo halls, casinos and amusement arcades to reopen next week, but its government has cautioned that recent coronavirus outbreaks will mean any easing of lockdown measures will be conditional. The country reported 77 Covid-19 daily cases on Wednesday, the highest number in nearly three months.
Estée Lauder delivered a disappointing quarterly forecast. The beauty group behind labels such as MAC and Too Faced said it is cutting 1,500 to 2,000 positions globally, about 3 per cent of its workforce, and will close about 10 to 15 per cent of its freestanding stores worldwide. It expects to incur restructuring and other charges of $400m-500m.
Frasers Group plans to invest more than £100m in technology to support its move upmarket. The UK retail group’s pre-tax profit before exceptional items for the year to April 26 fell to £143m from £179m last year, on sales that were slightly higher at £3.95bn. An analyst survey compiled by Capital IQ forecast pre-tax profit at £135m.
Premier Oil announced a $530m equity raise as part of a refinancing of its $2.9bn debt facilities, as the North Sea oil and gas group seeks to draw a line under a torturous seven-month battle to put its finances on a more stable footing. The majority — or $300m — of the equity share will be used to pay down its $2.4bn debt pile.
Chilean copper miner Antofagasta said it would pay a dividend of 6.2 cents a share, down from 10.7 cents a share a year earlier. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 22 per cent to $1.01bn for the six months ending June 30. Revenues fell 15 per cent to $2.14bn.
Car dealer Lookers has delayed publishing its 2019 annual results for a fourth time as it widened an audit probe into potential fraud in its previous accounts. The group generated bumper trading during July as car demand returned after being pent up during coronavirus-related lockdown measures that kept drivers at home.