Coronavirus latest: California caseload steadies as Florida and Texas post rises

US stocks added to their all-time highs on Tuesday, as trade talks involving US and Chinese officials eased investors’ concerns over rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The S&P 500 closed at a new record high with a gain of 0.4 per cent, its fourth consecutive daily rise. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.8 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2 per cent.

Sales of newly built homes in the US advanced in July at their quickest pace in 13 years, reflecting a surge in demand after coronavirus shutdowns and as buyers capitalise on record low mortgage rates. New home sales climbed 13.9 per cent against the previous month to 901,000 units, the US Census Bureau said on Tuesday, notching the highest mark since December 2006.

The head of England’s exams regulator has stood down after the body was strongly criticised for its handling of the secondary school results fiasco involving both A-levels and GCSEs. Ofqual head Sally Collier will temporarily be replaced by her predecessor Glenys Stacey, who will assume leadership until December.

Global trade rebounded in June as the easing of lockdown measures fuelled international demand, according to data released on Tuesday. The volume of global trade rose 7.6 per cent in June compared to May, marking the fastest monthly increase since records began in January 2000 and the first expansion since the pandemic, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

Spain’s government is enlisting the military to bolster the country’s track-and-trace effort as it contends with the highest rate of coronavirus infection in Europe. Pedro Sánchez, prime minister, said he would make 2,000 soldiers available to help with tracking efforts. He said Spain’s rise in cases was “worrying, especially in some territories, and we have to cut it off”.

The rise of homeworking has been a boon for Best Buy as consumers have bought computers, tablets and printers in droves, boosting sales at the biggest US electronics retailer. The company closed its stores in March but US ecommerce sales more than tripled to $4.85bn, accounting for more than half of domestic revenues compared with only 16.1 per cent last time.

US carrier American Airlines has said it will cut 19,000 jobs at the beginning of October as a result of its reduced flight schedule during the coronavirus pandemic and the expiration of federal aid. American said on Tuesday the reductions include furloughs of 17,500 employees and 1,500 management job cuts.

Virgin Atlantic’s creditors have overwhelmingly backed the cash-strapped airline’s £1.2bn rescue package in an important vote that opens the door to a full recapitalisation early next month. A group of about 170 of companies owed cash by the airline voted to accept a 20 per cent “haircut” on the debts they are owed as part of a UK High Court restructuring process.

Consumer goods company JM Smucker raised its full-year outlook after it reported better than expected quarterly results boosted by higher demand for its coffee and frozen sandwiches as people stayed home during the coronavirus pandemic. The company, best known for Jif peanut butter and Crisco shortening, said net sales climbed 11 per cent from a year ago to $1.97bn in the first quarter ending July 31.

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