Services sector returns to growth but job cuts continue – live updates –

3) Bosses’ pay cut at 36 blue chip firms after Covid crisis struck: Salaries at 14 firms were cut by 20pc – the same as the reduction for low-earning workers placed on the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme. 

4) Gold hit $2,000 (£1,530) an ounce for the first time following a record-breaking rally driven by fears over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy. The yellow metal, seen as a safe-haven asset, has been on a steady upwards trajectory over recent months, climbing more than 30pc this year.

5) Kodak investigated by SEC over announcement of drug-making loan: Shares at the former film company, best known for its camera business, skyrocketed after the surprise announcement last week Tuesday. Stock climbed as high as $60 in the following 48 hours, before falling back to $15 on Monday.

What happened overnight 

Risk assets such as equities have surged in recent months on massive policy stimulus from central banks and governments, but gold has also rallied in a sign of heightened uncertainty around the long-term effects of the global health crisis.

Investors are counting on even more spending in the United States, with White House negotiators vowing to work “around the clock” to reach a deal by the end of the week.

Markets also latched on to comments from the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that the US economy will need more support than initially thought, sending long-term Treasury yields into a downward spiral.

On Wednesday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan was flat near a 6.5-month peak at 560.36 points.

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Japan’s Nikkei was off 0.86pc while Australia’s benchmark index slipped 1pc. Chinese shares fell too with the blue-chip CSI300 index down 0.8pc, though it was not too far from a recent five-year peak.

South Korea’s Kospi bucked the trend to hit its highest level since October 2018.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 was down 0.1pc.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 0.6pc, the S&P 500 rose 0.4pc and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4pc.

Coming up today

Interim results: Ferrexpo, Hastings, Hill & Smith, IP Group, Legal & General, Metro Bank, Morgan Sindall, PageGroup, Segro, William Hill

Economics: New car registrations (UK); services PMI final (UK, China, eurozone, US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain); ADP employment, trade balance (US)



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