McDonald’s to continue pause on dining room reopenings, Trump signs series of executive orders, Centrica to sell North American energy business for $3.63 billion and more weekly business news

McDonald’s to continue pause on dining room reopenings

McDonald’s will pause for another 30 days to reopen dining rooms as coronavirus cases begin to surge.
Beginning of Aug. 1, the company would also allow consumers to wear face coverings.
McDonald’s first hit pause July 1 at reopenings.

At the beginning of August 1, the company will also require customers to wear face coverings and will install protective panels in its restaurants to enable franchisees to increase orders, seating capacity and staffing.

McDonald’s joins other major retailers and restaurant companies, such as Target, Kroger, and Starbucks, in requiring customers to wear masks throughout the U.S ..

A.S. In an open letter to McDonald’s U.S. network, President Joe Erlinger and National Franchise Leadership Alliance Chair Mark Salebra said that about 82 percent of its franchises are located in states or localities that need facial covering for both employees and customers.

President Donald Trump on Friday signed four executive orders aimed at lowering the high cost of prescription drugs in the United States

President Donald Trump signed four executive orders on Friday aimed at reducing the high cost of prescription medications in the U.S. in what would bring major reforms to the U.S. prescription drug industry if they were finalized.

Industry trade association PhRMA, America’s Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers, called the Covid-19 pandemic a “reckless diversion” to them. The directives that are subject to the regulatory approval process are intended to put U.S. drug prices at least on an equal basis with their overseas costs. Trump said Americans still pay 80 per cent more for prescription medications for some of the most expensive medicines than Germany, Canada, and other countries.

“The four orders I am signing today willfully restructure the market for prescription medications in terms of prices and everything else to make these medications available and affordable to all Americans,” Trump said at the White House. “We stand up to the lobbyists and corporate interests under my leadership, and strike back against a corrupt scheme.”

Centrica to sell North American energy business for $3.63 billion

Centrica Plc (CNA.L) said on Friday that it was selling its North American subsidiary Direct Energy to U.S. integrated power company NRG Energy (NRG.N) for $3.63 billion, opening the way for the current British Gas owner’s head to concentrate on their home markets.

The deal was revealed along with half-year earnings from Centrica, where the company posted a downturn in income due to the effects of COVID-19 and low commodity prices.

Both shareholder sets have accepted the offer. Centrica ‘s stock ended up 16.7% higher, rising nearly 40% early on Friday, and NRG closed 2.9%.

Centrica plans to use the cash from the sale to minimize net debt and contribute to its pension funds, with subsequently based activities on the UK. And then Scotland.

“We had a number of expressions of interest in Direct Energy but it came down to the right price and the right buyer,” Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of the Centrica Group , told reporters on a call. O’Shea was officially taken over as CEO in April.

Oil up on strong economic data

Oil prices rose on Friday, boosted by some positive economic data, but there was a minimal benefit in tensions between the US and China.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 gained three cents to settle a barrel at $43.34. A.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose 22 cents on crude CLc1 futures to settle at $41.29 a barrel.

For the week, Brent rose 0.5%, while U.S. crude rose 1.7%.  

Market participants had an eye on Tropical Storm Hanna ahead of the weekend, expected to cross over to Baffin Bay, 46 miles (74 km) south of Corpus Christi, Texas, on Saturday afternoon or evening.

There have been no evacuations of employees or production shutdowns from offshore platforms in the northern Gulf of Mexico so far, oil firms have said.

According to IHS Markit’s flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), Eurozone market activity increased in July for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck. The index is seen as a strong measure of economic health for the bloc.

“The economic data in Europe is much better than anticipated, indicating that demand disruption in recent months due to COVID-19 might not have been as poor as people thought,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at the Chicago-based Market Futures Group.

Meanwhile, company activities in the U.S. grew to a peak of six months in July. Nevertheless, U.S. firms have reported a decline in new orders as new reports of COVID-19 spiked.

The resurgent pandemic has dimmed the economic outlook for the United States. Some states have introduced restrictions which are supposed to reduce fuel usage.

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