The number of empty shops on UK high streets has risen to its highest level in six years as city centres, and especially London, suffer from a dive in visitor numbers.

Nearly 11% of shops remained vacant in July compared with 9.8% in January, with the number of empty premises rising in six out of 10 UK regions, according to retail analysis firm Springboard. Greater London suffered by far the worst blow, with empty shops increasing by nearly two-thirds.

The rise in shut-up shops comes as the number of visitors to large city centres continues to drop.High streets, including city centres, saw nearly 40% fewer visitors in August compared with the same month last year, according to Springboard.

“The reality of the new normal has already started to bite,” said Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard. “This result brings into sharp focus the difficulties faced by large cities in attracting … Read the rest

Stocks rose sharply on Wednesday, continuing a strong start to September for the market as traders took profits out of high-flying names like Apple and Tesla and snapped up shares in more beaten-down parts of the market.

The Dow Jones Industrials popped 454.84 points, or 1.6%, to adjourn Wednesday at 29,100.50. For the 30-stock index, it was its best day since July 14, and its first close above 29,000 since February.

The S&P 500 gathered 54.19 points, or 1.5%, to 3,580.84. The S&P 500 had its best day since July 6.

The NASDAQ Composite recovered – and then some – jumping 116.38 points, or 1%, to 12,056.44.

Both the S&P 500 and NASDAQ hit record highs, with the NASDAQ topping 12,000 for the first time.

Coca-Cola rose more than 3% along with Intel and IBM to lead the Dow higher. However, all three of those stocks are still down year … Read the rest

Good morning.

I received an email yesterday from Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute, who is one of the most reliable analysts of polling data I know, pointing out an interesting trend in recent tracking polls. Across a variety of them—Axios/Ipsos, Gallup, Harris—employers are consistently getting kudos for their performance during the pandemic.

The Axios/Ipsos poll, for instance, asked people how much trust they had in various organizations “to look out for the best interests of you and your family.” In its latest wave, 72% said they had either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in their employer, compared to 60% for local government, 53% for state government, and 34% for the federal government. The employer result has remained above 70% since March, while all levels of government have seen sharp declines. And in the Gallup poll, 77% gave their employer strong … Read the rest

While many small pharma companies are racing to bring various coronavirus-related solutions to market, it is one of Big Pharma’s representatives that has flexed its muscles with the latest meaningful product. Last week, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) announced it had been granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA for its rapid COVID-19 antibody test, BinaxNOW.The test doesn’t need any instrumentation or equipment, and each test kit is completely disposable. The test provides results in 15 minutes, is priced at $5 and can be overseen by a wide range of people. Despite being a quick solution, it is highly accurate, with 97.1% sensitivity and 98.5% specificity rates.The U.S. government was quick off the mark and has already gobbled up almost all of ABT’s 2020 BinaxNOW capacity, equating to 150 million units (i.e. $750 million in sales).As a result of the test’s EUA, Credit Suisse analyst Matt Miksic increased his estimate for … Read the rest

The traditional mass return to the workplace failed to materialise in London on Tuesday, with passenger numbers on the tube and buses rising more slowly than usual for the end of summer.

Transport for London reported 8% more tube entries and exits, and 6% more bus journeys, in the morning rush hour compared with a week ago.

But with traffic normally rising sharply in September, London Underground passenger numbers were 72% below pre-Covid levels – a worse proportion than the 70% drop last week – while bus usage were 53% below 2019 levels.

Figures for national rail passengers were yet to be collated, with some operators anecdotally reporting slight rises but no step-change.

Rail operators are planning to add more trains to the timetable next week, and will be looking nervously at the figures. Industry sources said there was frustration that ministers had not unequivocally asked people to travel and … Read the rest

Owing to COVID-19 shuttering businesses worldwide and heightening awareness about public venues and the spread of germs, tens of millions of people are turning to ecommerce for their everyday shopping. It was a trend that was already accelerating when coronavirus provided dramatic tailwinds. This is clearly evidenced through the latest report from showing 129% year-over-year growth in eCommerce orders in the U.S. and Canada as of April 21, 2020.

Even when COVID-19 is finally a thing of the past, the effect on shopping habits will remain forever changed. The new age of consumer spending and advertising is before us today. Obtrusive ads annoy potential shoppers, who now take their cues from influencer campaigns that create a more personal attachment and commitment to brand loyalty.

Against this backdrop, savvy companies are getting in front of the movement. There may not be a company that is more aggressive in growing its … Read the rest

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Imagine you and I own half each of a $100,000 sports car that has another $50,000 locked in the trunk. The problem is that I have the car keys, so you can neither drive it nor access that money. I offer to buy you out for about $50,000. Fair deal?You’d doubtless feel hard done by. Yet Oliver Samwer, chief executive officer and founder of Germany’s Rocket Internet SE, is making a similar proposition to his fellow shareholders. He wants to take the web-investment company private again, and he’s offering to buy out other investors in a way that would let him and his family keep that nice little stash in the trunk. Samwer and his brothers own 45% of Rocket, but they’d like to own all of it so they want to use the company’s cash to acquire the rest of the shares. First off, they’re doing … Read the rest

This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the markets. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

Good morning, Bull Sheeters. European stocks and U.S. futures are climbing again as a host of economic indicators point to an improving economic outlook and a recovering labor market. The S&P 500, meanwhile, is well on pace to score its greatest rally of all time.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading, with Japan’s Nikkei up nearly 0.5%.
  • Saudi Aramco shares are down 0.9% in morning trade. That’s after a report that Saudi crude imports to the U.S. hit a 35-year low in August.
  • Australia managed to dodge recession during the global financial crisis, but it hasn’t been so lucky this time round, with GDP falling by a record 7%
Read the rest