Coronavirus, Australia trade data, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to rise at the open on Thursday following positive news overnight around the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,250 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,200. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,121.73.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia looked set for a positive start as well. The SPI futures contract was at 5,945, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,934.40.

Investors will watch for overnight reaction to a study of a coronavirus candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that showed the drug created neutralizing antibodies. The results, which were posted online, have yet to be reviewed by a medical journal.

“We are cautious,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “We

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Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran back call to help live music venues

Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones are among more than 1,500 music stars calling for government action to prevent a catastrophic collapse of the live music sector because of the Covid-19 crisis. 

A joint letter — including some of the most famous names in the industry — has been sent to Oliver Dowden, culture secretary, calling for specific financial help and a clear timetable for venues to reopen.

The names include Rita Ora, Annie Lennox, Sam Smith, Rod Stewart, Iron Maiden and Little Mix. Liam Gallagher, the Oasis singer, said: “Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love.”

Many of the artists were due to perform during Britain’s festival summer season — but hundreds of events such as Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds and Download have

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Coronavirus: Hancock urged to back Swissport testing plan | Business News

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, is under mounting pressure to back an airport-based COVID-19 testing programme amid continued uncertainty over government plans to establish international “air bridges”.

Sky News has seen a letter to Mr Hancock from Swissport, the ground handling company, and Collinson, a medical assistance provider, which urges him to back a test-on-arrival approach that would remove the need for coronavirus-free passengers to be quarantined.

The two companies have agreed a pilot programme with one of Britain’s biggest airports, which they say could be operational within a fortnight.

“Test-on-arrival could sit alongside quarantine, offering a voluntary alternative for those travelling from medium or higher risk countries, who do not wish to be subject to 14-day restrictions,” said the letter, sent on Wednesday by Swissport’s chief commercial officer for western Europe, Richard Cawthra, and Simon Worrall, Collinson’s global medical director.

“Incoming passengers would undergo a PCR Test on arrival

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Leicester and Merthyr Tydfil top table for UK-wide Covid infections

An analysis of nationwide data has revealed the UK’s top coronavirus hotspots, raising the prospect of further localised lockdowns to stop fresh outbreaks of the disease.

Leicester and Merthyr Tydfil are the UK’s two leading sources of new Covid-19 infections, according to FT analysis of the most recent data published by health authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The English city and Welsh town have more than 100 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people — 10 times the UK-wide average.

On Tuesday, the FT reported that local leaders in England were being hampered in their efforts to manage new coronavirus outbreaks by gaps in the reporting of infection data for cities and regions.

Although the government has been publishing a UK-wide figure for Covid-19 cases every day that includes tests from hospitals and those processed by commercial laboratories, including samples taken at home, at a subnational level the

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