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Stocks shrug off US unrest, China tensions amid easing of Covid-19 lockdowns – business live

Heavily indebted shopping centre owner Intu Properties is forecasting it will receive over a third (37%) less rental income this year than last from the retailers which rent space in its centres, my colleague Joanna Partridge writes.

The owner of Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex thinks it will collect £310m in rent in 2020, compared with £492m in 2020.

Intu also predicts it will end 2020 with just £24m cash, having started with £82m, although this is also dependent on its lenders waiving some covenants.

Despite this forecast, the company’s shares rose by 93% at one point on Tuesday morning, to almost 11p, although they are still trading 90% lower than they did a year ago

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P&O Cruises has scrapped all sailings until 15 October due to coronavirus, writing off the summer season, our transport correspondent Gwyn Topham writes.

A photo of Carnival’s 710-passenger Adonia ship.

A photo of Carnival’s 710-passenger Adonia ship. Photograph: AP

The leading British cruise line, part of the Carnival group, had previously announced a pause in operations until the end of July, as the battered industry looks to find ways of operating in a post-pandemic world.

P&O said it was working with public health bodies in the UK and US to enhance health and safety protocols.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said:

As a business our operational focus is not “when can we resume sailing?” but is instead “how can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone on board, our crew and guests, safe and well and still give our guests an amazing holiday?

The cruise line said it would give cancelled passengers a voucher worth 125% of the original booking, and “wanted to apologise once again to those guests who wait for refunds, particularly at a time of financial constraints”.

P&O is the first in the worldwide group to extend its operational “pause” into autumn, with most still suspended as far as mid- July.

All lines are searching for ways to ensure safe passage on ships and restore public confidence. Cruises were notorious for outbreaks of bugs such as norovirus, even before the current pandemic saw passengers isolated in cabins offshore.


Lockdown leads to historic rise in consumer debt repayments



European stocks march higher as markets open

Nationwide data released this morning shows UK house prices fell at the fastest rate since the financial crisis, my colleague Julia Kollewe writes.

It came as would-be buyers said they would wait six months before returning to the housing market.

The average price of a home dropped 1.7% in May from the previous month to £218,902, according to
Nationwide Building Society, one of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders. This comes after April’s 0.9% gain and is the the biggest monthly fall since February 2009.

The annual growth rate slowed to 1.8%, down from 3.7% in April and the slowest since December.

Nationwide said potential buyers were now planning to wait six months on average before looking to enter the market, and that 12% of the population had put off moving because of the lockdown.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said:

The raft of policies adopted to support the economy, including to protect businesses and jobs, to support peoples’ incomes and keep borrowing costs down, should set the stage for a rebound once the shock passes, and help limit long-term damage to the economy.

Introduction: US, Hong Kong tensions fail to dampen stock markets


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