August 6, 2020

Coronavirus latest: ViacomCBS streaming growth offsets decline in ad revenues

US stocks slide while sterling picks up to five-month high

Philip Georgiadis in London

US stocks slipped slightly following the release of more unemployment data, while sterling rose to a five-month high after the Bank of England appeared cool on the prospect of introducing negative interest rates.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq opened down around 0.1 per cent, after futures recovered their earlier heavier losses when data showed the pace of new applications for US unemployment aid slowed last week.

Investors were monitoring political developments in Washington, where the US Senate is also locked in negotiations to extend jobless benefits that expired last month to support the US economy during the coronavirus crisis.

The pound rose 0.4 per cent to $1.317, its highest level since the turmoil in March when coronavirus-related concerns raced through markets.

The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee tempered the prospect of introducing negative interest rates in the near future on Thursday, warning on the possible impact to the banking sector and noting “the MPC has other instruments available”.

The absence of a clear signal towards negative rates could spur further gains for the pound in the short term,

Trump to sign executive order requiring U.S. to buy ‘essential’ drugs from American companies

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., August 5, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order requiring the U.S. government to buy “essential” drugs from American companies, White House trade advisor Peter Navarro announced Thursday.

The president is expected to sign the order during his trip in Ohio later Thursday, Navarro told reporters on a conference call. The United States is “dangerously over-dependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines.”

The order will require the U.S. government to develop a list of essential medicines and buy them from U.S. companies instead of from foreign countries like China, Navarro said. The World Health Organization already has a list of essential medicines, but the U.S. won’t need some of those drugs because of “where we are located,” he said. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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