Anthony Fauci, a top adviser on the White House coronavirus task force, cautioned that some midwestern states in the US have begun to see an uptick in the rate of positive coronavirus tests before the Labor Day holiday. Dr Fauci named North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois as “at risk for surging”.

The US goods and services trade deficit ballooned in July to its widest in a dozen years as imports and exports rebounded following an easing of pandemic-related lockdowns. The trade deficit surged 18.9 per cent month-on-month to $63.6bn, its highest since July 2008, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That was up from $53.5bn in June.

Technology stocks that have powered US equities to record highs this summer went into sharp reverse on Thursday, sending the Nasdaq Composite index tumbling almost 5 per cent in its biggest fall since June. Apple’s shares lost 8 per cent, while Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft all fell more than 4 per cent. Tesla and Zoom suffered even steeper drops.

More Mexicans are back at work but a growing number are in informal jobs and formal job creation is at a historic low. The country’s statistics office, Inegi, reported that 1.5m more people were back in employment in July compared with June. Of the 12m who left the workforce as the pandemic struck Mexico’s economy, about 7.2m have returned, it added.

France has launched a €100bn plan to rescue its economy from the coronavirus crisis with big investments in green energy and transport as well as industrial innovation. Prime Minister Jean Castex said the scheme’s “historic ambition and size” made it nearly four times as large as the national plan introduced after the 2008 financial crisis.

Smith & Wesson’s quarterly firearm revenues more than doubled, reflecting a boom in US gun sales during the pandemic and civil unrest. The firearms unit registered $230m in gross sales for the quarter that ended in July, a 141 per cent increase compared with the year-ago period. Overall net sales totalled $278m, up from $123.7m a year earlier.

A sharp drop in electricity consumption during lockdowns hit the earnings of Energias de Portugal, which reported a 22 per cent drop in first-half net profit to €315m. EDP, Portugal’s largest listed company, said power consumption by customers in the country and in Spain fell 7 per cent in comparison with the same period last year.

Campbell Soup said it expects demand for its processed food and snacks to remain high as consumers stay at home even after the lifting of lockdown restrictions. The New Jersey-based company provided guidance that net sales would reach $2.18bn in its first quarter ending in October, up 5 to 7 per cent on the same period a year ago.

Amazon will increase its workforce in the UK by a third, from engineers to pickers and packers, as the US ecommerce company seeks to meet increasing demand from a pandemic-induced internet shopping spree. The group, which has invested about £18bn in Britain over the past decade, will create 7,000 more jobs by the end of 2020.


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