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Markets wavered in Europe as traders took stock of the latest escalation in trade tensions between the United States and China.
Shares in Europe started lower but then edged into positive territory, with the benchmark Euro Stoxx 600 up 0.2 percent in late morning trading. Asian markets ended their day decidedly mixed, with stocks in China rising while indexes in Japan and South Korea fell. Futures on Wall Street were predicting a slightly higher open.
The yield on a 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell, while Brent crude gained about 0.3 percent, to about $45.50 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate was nearly flat, at $42.90 a barrel. Gold was up more than 1 percent, at $2,008 an ounce.
On Monday the Trump administration said it would restrict the ability of the Chinese tech giant Huawei to buy a wider array of chips made or designed with American equipment and software. The rule marks a tightening of rules first announced in May, applying them to more semiconductors, covering any chips made abroad with American equipment. The United States has taken several steps to crack down on China’s technology sector; this month, it moved to curb Americans’ dealings with TikTok, the viral video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging service.
In a reminder of the cost of the deep global recession, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest with more than $1 trillion in assets, reported that it lost more than $21 billion in the first half of the year as stocks and real estate holdings tumbled in value. The decline followed profits of $180 billion last year.
The fund’s deputy chief executive, speaking at a news conference, said the coronavirus’s spread continued to pose a risk to financial markets. “The main thing is the pandemic. It is still a global pandemic. It does not seem to be under control in any shape or form,” said the executive, Trond Grande, Reuters reported.
Marks & Spencer, the British department store and food retailer, announced plans on Tuesday to cut 7,000 jobs in the next three months, or nearly 10 percent of its work force. The staff reductions will be in stores, its central office and across regional management.
The pandemic has dealt a deep blow to many of Britain’s most well-known retail brands, including Boots, John Lewis and Debenhams, which have also announced thousands of layoffs and store closures in recent weeks.
Just four weeks ago, M & S said it expected to cut 950 jobs. The acceleration and expansion of its restructuring plans comes as many retail areas have struggled to attract shoppers even as social-distancing measures have eased in Britain. According to Springboard data on retail activity, foot traffic on high streets and shopping centers is still down by more than a third compared to last year. Central London and other regional cities also have far fewer shoppers than market towns or suburban locations.
In a trading update on Tuesday, the Marks and Spencer Group said food sales over the last three-month period were up 2.5 percent compared with the same period last year, while clothing and home sales were down 38.5 percent. Overall revenue for the whole company was still lower than last year, even though online sales had risen by more than 40 percent.
Despite being an iconic British retailer, M & S has been struggling for years. In 2018, the company said it planned to close 100 stores by 2022. It has spent the past few years moving away from clothing and home goods and promoting its food business, while also trying to get more of its products online. The company’s share price has dropped 78 percent in the past five years.
With more than 400 shops, the Singapore Changi Airport would be the fourth-largest mall by the number of tenants if it were in the United States.
The combination of an often affluent and captive audience has made airport commercial square footage some of the most lucrative in the world. But the pandemic has crushed the commercial calculus at airports, and no one is sure what comes next.
The leading airport for concession and retail sales in the United States is Los Angeles International, with revenue of $3,036 a square foot, according to a 2018 report from Airport Experience News. By comparison, the average mall retailer is around $325 per square foot, according to 2017 data from CoStar.
But that’s all gone now, said Alan Gluck, a senior aviation consultant at ICF. “In general, sales are in the toilet,” he said.
The very amenities that once made airports a standout for profit are the same things that are proving to be challenging.
So far, the pandemic has not paused terminals planned or in progress in the United States. Projects already underway, including at La Guardia Airport in New York and in smaller markets like Lafayette, La., are moving ahead, but taking a wait-and-see approach on adjustments.
New terminal construction should focus on space not just for the coronavirus but other respiratory illnesses, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
New terminals needed to allow enough space for people to spread out, offer high-efficiency particulate air filtration and distribute free masks. He would also like to see more health screening at airports.
“You can’t throw up your hands and say it is impossible,” Dr. Fauci said.
Uber and Lyft, which are facing mounting pressure to classify their freelance drivers as full-time employees in California, are considering licensing their brands to operators of vehicle fleets in California, according to three people with knowledge of the plans. The change would resemble an independently operated franchise, allowing Uber and Lyft to keep an arms-length association with drivers so that the companies would not need to employ them and pay their benefits.
The stock trading app Robinhood has raised another $200 million in funding, the company said on Monday, bringing its funding total to $800 million in recent months, and more than $1 billion since it was founded seven years ago. The new round of funding, led by the hedge fund D1 Capital Partners, values the start-up at $11.2 billion.