Coronavirus, U.S. Federal Reserve, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for mixed trading as the coronavirus situation stateside continues to be monitored by investors amid concerns as cases continue to surge.

Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,505 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,470. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,259.79.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were set for a positive start to their trading day. The SPI futures contract was at 5,835, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,817.70.

Markets in China are closed on Friday for a holiday.

Investor reaction to the ongoing coronavirus situation in the U.S. will continue to be watched on Friday, after the country suffered its single-biggest daily coronavirus cases surge on record. More than 45,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Wednesday, a record that surpassed the previous

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Coronavirus: Shopping centre giant Intu nears collapse | Business News

The survival prospects of Britain’s biggest shopping centre-owner diminished on Thursday night amid fading hopes that lenders would grant the company an eleventh-hour reprieve.

Sky News learnt that the prospects of a standstill agreement being reached between Intu Properties – which runs Manchester’s Trafford Centre – and a vast syndicate of banks have been all-but extinguished ahead of a Friday deadline.

A person close to the situation said it was now “90% certain” that Intu, which is saddled with £4.5bn of debt, would be forced into administration on Friday.

“There is a glimmer of hope, but only a glimmer,” the person said.

The collapse of Intu, which also owns the Metrocentre in Gateshead and Lakeside in Essex, would be arguably the most significant corporate casualty of the coronavirus pandemic so far.

It would underline both the changing shape of the UK’s retail industry and the shifting dynamic between retailers and

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Ex-Redcentric bosses face prosecution after FCA probe | Business News

Former bosses of Redcentric, an IT software provider, are to face criminal proceedings brought by the City watchdog, it will announce on Friday when it concludes a long-running investigation into the company’s finances.

Sky News has learnt that three former Redcentric executives are to be prosecuted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) more than three years after it launched its probe.

The regulator is expected to announce the move at the same time that it unveils an £11m programme to repay former shareholders who lost money as a result of the company’s misreporting of assets.

The precise method of calculating the shareholder restitution programme was unclear on Thursday evening.

Redcentric, which is listed on London’s junior AIM market, provides managed IT services to public and private sector customers.

In 2016, the company announced that it had overstated its assets by £13m and its profits by £9.5m.

An investigation into the

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‘Nice words’ not enough to address ethnicity pay gap in big employers, baroness warns | Business News

Workers from ethnic minorities are not on a level playing field and action is needed rather than “nice words” to tackle pay discrimination, according to the author of a 2017 review into race in the workplace.

Three years ago, Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith said larger employers should be forced to publish data on their ethnicity pay gaps, but none of the key recommendations from her report have been implemented.

Baroness McGregor-Smith is a Tory peer, former chief executive of outsourcing group Mitie and president of the British Chambers of Commerce and is urging the government to enforce ethnicity pay gap reporting.

Firms with more than 250 employees have had to publish data on their gender pay gaps since 2018, and it’s this system she wants to see replicated.

She told Sky News: “I think when you’ve run a large business, what you know is that you act on what you can

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