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States Where COVID-19 Cases Are Climbing Fastest

Consumers increasingly opting for fake wood decks

Companies that make wood alternative decking materials have boosted sales and grabbed market share, fueled in part by rising lumber prices, and a home improvement boom.

Names such as Trex and Azek make decking materials that typically mimic the look of wood, but last a lot longer, retain their original appearance better and require little maintenance in general.

The trouble for many consumers is that these products have typically been about twice the cost of lumber or more. But skyrocketing lumber prices have led many customers to take a second look at synthetics.

Right now, synthetic producers have about 20% share of the decking market, with lumber making up the balance. Executives at Azek and Trex say they think there is room to grow, even beyond the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gold Edges Higher On Weaker Dollar

Gold prices edged higher on Friday and the dollar slipped to a one-month trough as investors awaited the release of U.S. jobs data later in the day for important clues about the Fed’s tapering timeline.

Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,813.08 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,814.95.

Economists expect employment to jump by 750,000 jobs in August after surging by 943,000 jobs in July. The unemployment rate is expected to dip to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent.

Fed officials have indicated inflation has reached their target but they need to see further improvement in the labor market before they begin tapering asset purchases and raising interest rates.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said last week that signs of job growth could allow the central bank to dial back its extraordinary efforts to prop up the economy later this year.

“Labor market conditions are improving but turbulent,” Powell said adding that the Fed will continue to monitor incoming data and adjust its policies as needed.

The dollar index languished near a one-month low, bolstering the bullion’s appeal for those holding other currencies.

Ian King Business Podcast: Why retail prices are increasing, BMW goes green, and women’s football

Ian King speaks to the chief executive of baby goods retailer Jojo Maman Bebe about why it’s had to hike prices.

Plus, hear from the vice president of sustainability and mobility at BMW about its plans to make cars kinder to the environment.

And the FA’s director of women’s professional football joins the show to discuss the super league’s biggest broadcast deal ever.

Enpro Divests Polymer Components Business As Part Of Portfolio Reshaping – Quick Facts

Industrial technology company EnPro Industries, Inc. (NPO) announced Friday the sale of its polymer components business to private investment firm Edgewater Capital Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The polymer components business is headquartered in Houston, Texas, with two production facilities in Texas and a smaller site in Pennsylvania. Under Edgewater ownership, the organization will be renamed Altamira Material Solutions.

The polymer components business unit was part of Enpro’s Sealing Technologies segment. Revenue in the first half of 2021 was approximately $20 million.

European Economics Preview: Eurozone Final Composite PMI, Retail Sales Data Due

Final Purchasing Managers’ survey results and retail sales from the euro area are due on Friday, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

At 3.00 am ET, consumer and producer prices are due from Turkey. Economists forecast inflation to slow marginally to 18.7 percent from 18.95 percent in July.

In the meantime, retail sales from Hungary and GDP data from Slovakia are due.

At 3.15 am ET, IHS Markit releases Spain services Purchasing Managers’ survey data. The index is seen at 61.5 in August versus 61.9 a month ago.

At 3.45 am ET, Italy’s services PMI data is due. Economists forecast the composite indicator to rise to 58.5 in August from 58.0 in the previous month.

Final PMI survey results are due from France and Germany at 3.50 am and 3.55 am ET, respectively.

At 4.00 am ET, Eurozone final PMI data is due. The composite index is seen at 59.5 in August, unchanged from the flash estimate.

Half an hour later, UK IHS Markit/CIPS final PMI data is due. Economists expect the services PMI to match the flash score of 55.5 in August.

At 5.00 am ET, Eurostat publishes euro area retail sales for July. Sales are forecast to climb 0.1 percent on month after rising 1.5 percent in June.

States Where COVID-19 Cases Are Climbing Fastest

After weeks of climbing infection rates driven by the delta variant, new cases of COVID-19 may be levelling out in the United States. There were an average of 48.3 new daily cases of the virus for every 100,000 Americans over the past week, down from an average of 55.4 new daily cases per 100,000 the week before.

Nationwide, the average number of new daily infections has increased in 13 states over the past week, declined in 36 states, and remained effectively unchanged in one.

In total, there have been about 38,923,000 documented cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States since the first known infection was identified in Washington state on Jan. 21, 2020.

Though the first case of the virus in the United States was on the West Coast, the early epicenter of the outbreak was on the other side of the country, in New York City. In the months since, the parts of the country hit hardest by the virus shifted to the Southeast, the Midwest, and California.

The current decrease in cases nationwide is being driven disproportionately by Louisiana and Mississippi, the two states where the average number of new daily cases is declining the fastest on a per capita basis.

To date, North Dakota has had the highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita of any state, at 15,459 for every 100,000 people. Nationwide, there has been a total of 11,897 cases per 100,000 people.

All COVID-19 data used in this story is current as of Sept. 1, 2021. It is important to note that in some states, weekly infection rates may include cases of the virus that occurred earlier but were not previously counted.