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Bank rules force staff to turn off NHS COVID-19 tracing app at work By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk past a branch of Lloyds Bank at Berkeley Square in London

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By Iain Withers and Sinead Cruise

LONDON (Reuters) – Branch staff at some of Britain’s biggest banks say rules that require them to store phones in lockers while at work are putting them at undue risk of COVID-19 from colleagues and customers, as they cannot use the country’s tracing app.

Lloyds Banking Group (L:), along with rival TSB, are among those advising employees to deactivate the NHS Track & Trace app during office hours, when they are not allowed to keep phones on their person.

Some banks ask staff and cashiers to store phones away to prevent leaks of sensitive customer data, although this is not formally required by regulator the Financial Conduct Authority.

Under current government guidelines, users of the NHS app are advised to disable bluetooth or pause the app when away from their phones to avoid false notifications.

Other companies have told staff to pause the app at work, including pharmaceuticals firm GSK (L:), which said its other safety measures were sufficient, the Guardian newspaper reported.

The BTU union, which represents staff working for Lloyds but is not recognised by the bank, said it had been contacted by dozens of staff unable to use the app, which has been downloaded by more than 14 million people.

One unnamed Lloyds employee who contacted the BTU said: “I live and work in a high-risk area so I am very concerned at being told that while I’m at work I have to suspend the NHS test and trace app… This defeats the object of track and trace.” 

Another said they were at risk as they had to conduct face-to-face meetings and due to the “blatant transgression of the social distancing rules by many customers”.

“Customers and staff have a right to know if they have come into contact with someone who’s been infected,” said Mark Brown, general secretary of the BTU.

Although several European countries have launched Bluetooth-based apps to alert those at risk of catching COVID-19, there is little evidence to date that the technology has significantly curbed infections.

Both Lloyds and TSB have advised staff to pause the app’s tracing function while at work, according to internal guidance issued by each lender seen by Reuters.

“Colleagues who have downloaded the app to their own smart phone should not use the app while you are at work,” Lloyds told staff, adding it was to stop people receiving false alerts.

A NatWest spokesman said the bank encouraged staff to use the app but said they should pause it when they are not with their phone. The bank discourages – though doesn’t ban – the use of personal phones in branches and contact centres.

A spokesman for Barclays (LON:) said the bank had not advised staff to turn off the app.

The Department of Health and TSB were not immediately available for comment. Lloyds declined to comment.

A second employee union, Accord, said rules prohibiting use of personal phones in the workplace were in place to protect employees from security risks.

“If customers care about the health and well-being of the bank staff they rely on, they could help by wearing face coverings when visiting bank branches,” Accord’s General Secretary Ged Nichols said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Earnings nudge European stocks higher, virus concerns limit gains By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) – European stocks inched higher on Friday, boosted by positive earnings updates from Barclays and carmakers, while nagging concerns about the economic impact of surging COVID-19 cases put markets on course for weekly losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index () rose 0.2% by 0711 GMT, with Asian markets stuck in a trading range as investors treaded with caution with less than two weeks to go before the U.S. presidential election.

London’s FTSE 100 () was supported by a 2.8% jump in Barclays (L:) after it reported much better than expected quarterly earnings.

Carmaker Daimler (DE:) rose 1.9% after it raised its 2020 profit outlook, while Renault (PA:) was up 1.5% after saying it should have positive cash flow from cars by the end of 2020 as sales recovered.

However, gains were limited as France looked set to widen a curfew to more than two thirds of its population after the country set an all-time daily high of new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

IHS Markit’s early reading of euro zone and UK business activity for October is due later in the day.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.11% By Investing.com

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© Reuters. Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.11%

Investing.com – Australia stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the , and sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Sydney, the fell 0.11%.

The best performers of the session on the were Bluescope Steel Ltd (ASX:), which rose 10.86% or 1.560 points to trade at 15.920 at the close. Meanwhile, Cooper Energy Ltd (ASX:) added 4.35% or 0.015 points to end at 0.360 and Santos Ltd (ASX:) was up 3.94% or 0.200 points to 5.280 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Iluka Resources Ltd (ASX:), which fell 48.28% or 4.780 points to trade at 5.120 at the close. Regis Resources Ltd (ASX:) declined 4.32% or 0.210 points to end at 4.650 and United Malt Group Ltd (ASX:) was down 3.49% or 0.15 points to 4.15.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 648 to 640 and 340 ended unchanged.

Shares in Iluka Resources Ltd (ASX:) fell to 3-years lows; losing 48.28% or 4.780 to 5.120.

The , which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 1.95% to 19.015.

Gold Futures for December delivery was up 0.11% or 2.10 to $1906.70 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in December fell 0.74% or 0.30 to hit $40.34 a barrel, while the December Brent oil contract fell 0.64% or 0.27 to trade at $42.19 a barrel.

AUD/USD was down 0.08% to 0.7109, while AUD/JPY fell 0.20% to 74.45.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 93.067.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Asian Stocks Up, After “Slightly More Civilized” Trump-Biden Debate By Investing.com

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© Reuters.

By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly up on Friday morning, with investors digesting the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“It was a slightly more civilized debate this time around, but Trump failed to make up for lost ground from the first debate. Biden came through better than Trump in this debate and this should help to cement his lead over Trump and may just help him to cross the final line with a win,” OCBC Wealth Management senior strategist Vasu Menon told Reuters.

Japan’s was up 0.43% by 11:10 PM ET (3:10 AM GMT) and South Korea’s gained 0.50%.

In Australia, the inched down 0.10% and Hong Kong’s rose 0.60%.

China’s edged up 0.20%, while the inched down 0.04%.

Some investors warned of market volatility ahead as markets in the region opened.

“There will be a positive bias to the opening tone in Asian trade,” CommSec market analyst Tom Piotrowski told Reuters.

“But regional investors won’t necessarily hang their hats on that outcome, the markets can move around quite quickly,” he added.

Other developments in Washington on investors’ radar is progress on the latest stimulus measures. Continuous, staunch Republican opposition to the measures’ price tag makes the likelihood that Congress will pass them before the election slim. However, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to be optimistic that a deal can be reached soon.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are “just about there” vis-a-vis a deal and are currently resolving how to allocate money for testing and tracing to safely reopen schools and the economy, a key part of the measures.

The continuing uncertainty has a big move in the bond market over expectations that a deal will materialize soon.

“The big move in the bond market has been going on for the past few days and it’s mostly because the market is expecting that one way or another there will be a stimulus package, if not before the election then after the election” Yardeni Research president and chief investment strategist Ed Yardeni told Bloomberg.

There are over 41.5 million COVID-19 cases globally as of Oct. 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. In Europe, which is fighting a second wave, Germany recorded a record number of cases and Spanish health minister Salvador Illa warned that the spread of the virus is out of control in certain parts of his country.

Stocks received a boost, however, from the news of the first approved COVID-19 treatment, after Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:) received FDA approval on Thursday for its antiviral therapy Veklury (remdesivir) to treat the virus. The approval is for the use of remdesivir in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms (around 88 pounds), the FDA said.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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