19 June 2014 Last updated at 06:00

Business Live: Thursday 19 June 2014

    05:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    It should be an interesting morning, with insights into the car market and mortgage lending. You can contact us at bizlive@bbc.co.uk and @bbcbusiness.

    06:00: Simon Tulett Business Reporter

    We'll also find out how falling inflation is affecting our spending habits, with the latest retail sales figures. Stay with us until 13:00.

    Amazon Smartphone

    Amazon has unveiled its first handset, offering 3D visuals - thanks to four face-tracking cameras. The Fire Phone allows its user to change an image's perspective by moving their head. It can also recognise millions of objects and offers users the opportunity to buy them on (you guessed it) Amazon.

    TSB VALUED 06:09:
    TSB sign

    Lloyds Banking Group is likely to value TSB at £1.3bn, according to the Financial Times. That's almost £300m less than Lloyds values TSB in its own accounts, the FT says. As a result Lloyds could be left with a hefty paper loss, it adds. The report says that Lloyds will price the shares later on Thursday.

    AMAZON SMARTPHONE 06:16: Radio 5 live

    What's the verdict on Amazon's smartphone? BBC North America technology correspondent Richard Taylor was at the phone's launch. "It's certainly novel," he says on Wake Up to Money. The 3D does have a "wow" factor. Todd Bishop, editor of Geekwire, says the phone will stand out, but wonders whether it will be seen as gimmicky. He sees "single digit" market share.

    CHILD ENTREPRENEURS 06:23: Radio 5 live

    Should entrepreneurship be taught in schools to children as young as five? That's what Wake Up to Money is asking this morning. It's one of the proposals from Lord Young, the government's adviser on competitiveness, in a report due to be released today. Rose Marley, who runs a project supporting young tech entrepreneurs in Manchester, says schools are "inherently non-entrepreneurial".

    ARGENTINA DEBT 06:35: BBC Radio 4

    Argentina is heading towards a default after losing a long-running legal battle against hedge funds that own its government bonds. On Today Stuart Culverhouse, head of research at Exotix, says the hedge funds are in a strong position. He adds that the latest court decision could make it harder to reach debt restructuring agreements in the future.

    CHILD ENTREPRENEURS 06:46: Radio 5 live

    Watch out schoolteachers! Those plans for entrepreneurship lessons could lead to much more difficult classrooms. "The things that make you entrepreneurial like risk-taking and non-conformity are the sorts of things that get you expelled from school," Rose Marley tells Wake Up to Money.

    Nissan Sunderland

    Spring shutdowns at some car plants resulted in a 9.8% fall in UK car production in May, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). But the prospects for the rest of the year remain bright, thanks to new UK-built models, the industry body says.

    CHINA DEALS 06:59: BBC Radio 4

    Mark Boleat, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, was at Wednesday's banquet for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The latter made a "very warm speech" and spoke with "great enthusiasm" about the UK, Mr Boleat said. He adds that the Chinese market is still "pretty closed" to UK financial firms, but they are poised to benefit when the market is opened up.

    Trent 1000 engine

    A nice start to the day for shareholders of jet engine maker, Rolls-Royce. It has announced a share buyback worth £1bn. It is using the funds generated from the sale of its turbine business to Siemens.

    Virgin train

    Virgin has been awarded a contract for 2 years and 9 months to run the West Coast Main Line rail service. It comes after the company launched a legal challenge to the Department for Transport's original decision to give the contract to First Group. That deal collapsed amid criticism over how the bids were assessed.

    IRAQ OIL 07:25:
    Zubair Moshrif oil field, Iraq

    Big oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and BP have started to pull staff out of Iraq, the FT reports. Iraq's main oil fields are in the south and a long way from regions taken by ISIS insurgents. But that group's swift advance has forced the oil firms to take precautionary measures, says the FT.


    More on that West Coast Main Line contract award to Virgin. The Department for Transport (DfT) says it will mean 5,500 extra standard class seats on the route, and £20m invested in station upgrades. Virgin, which is paying more than £430m to run the franchise, is also working on providing new direct links to London from Shrewsbury and Blackpool.

    POUND DOLLAR 07:43: BBC Radio 4
    punch bowl

    Monetary policy is likened to a punch bowl on Today. Simon Smith, from FxPro, says Bank of England governor Mark Carney is ready to take the punch bowl away, while Janet Yellen at the US Federal Reserve is topping it up "with more fruit and vodka". As a result the pound has been strengthening and will go a bit higher, but not as high as $2, Mr Smith says.

    BT BROADBAND 07:56:
    Fibre optic

    BT will have to adjust its superfast broadband margins to allow rivals to profitably match the firm's prices, under a proposal from the telecoms regulator, Ofcom. BT controls the superfast network and gives rivals access to it at a wholesale price. The proposal would require BT to keep a sufficient margin between that price, and prices to customers, to allow rivals to compete.

    WEST COAST DEAL 08:10: Radio 5 live

    The West Coast rail deal is a "direct award contract", the Department for Transport (DfT) says. That means Virgin, the line's existing operator, was the only bidder involved. Transport minister, Robert Goodwill, defends the award to Virgin on Radio 5 live: "If it ain't broke, why try and mend it?"

    FOUNDER FIRED 08:28:
    American Apparel store

    This must be ugly. US fashion retailer American Apparel is going to fire the company's founder Dov Charney. The board has notified him of "its intent to terminate his employment" as chief executive. Chairman Allan Mayer said the move was due to "an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct". Mr Charney, who is Canadian, founded American Apparel in 1989.

    MARKET UPDATE 08:41:

    Rolls Royce shares have soared 6% this morning after it announced a share buyback. It is leading the FTSE 100 higher - the index is up around 0.7%. Oil prices continue to push higher, with Brent crude up 36 cents at $114.62 a barrel. Traders are watching events in Iraq, where the government continues to battle insurgents.

    BT BROADBAND 08:58:

    Here is BT's response to the order by Ofcom over superfast broadband prices: "There is strong competition in the UK broadband market and we are confident our pricing will pass any regulatory test that may be put in place. It is important that Ofcom encourages investment as well as competition, and recognises the full costs involved in deploying fibre."

    VIRGIN WEST COAST 09:12: Radio 5 live
    Virgin train

    Richard Scott, from Virgin Trains, is on Radio 5 live talking about the firm winning the West Coast Main Line contract. In addition to those extra seats from converting 1st class carriages, he says Virgin will be the first inter-city service to offer free superfast Wifi on its services. And "it will work", he promises.

    UK CAR PRODUCTION 09:24: BBC News Channel
    Mike Hawes, SMMT

    The 10% drop in car production for May was just a blip, says Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT. He tells Ben Thompson on the BBC News Channel that May figures are often unstable, with lots of manufacturers closing down to re-tool. And on a positive note, he says the value of cars we're exporting has doubled from an average of £10,000 to £20,000 in the last 10 years.

    RETAIL SALES 09:37:
    Shopping bags

    UK retail sales fell by 0.5% in May - the first monthly fall since January. The drop was partly explained by particularly high sales figures from April because of the late Easter holiday. Sales increased on an annual basis though - up 3.9% on May last year - the Office for National Statistics said.

    Sale boards

    Mortgage lending held steady in May. Activity was subdued thanks to new stricter lending rules, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) says. Gross lending for last month was £16.5bn - identical to the figure for April. But it marks a 12% increase on May last year. The CML says it is "unclear" how long the recent slowdown will continue.

    MORTGAGE LENDING Via Twitter Ben Thompson Business correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "CML tells me growing gap between incomes and house prices is acting as a natural brake within market and clear evidence that's happening"


    Official trade statistics have had their national statistics status temporarily removed following mistakes by HMRC in the latest figures. You can find the letter written by Sir Andrew Dilnot, head of the Statistics Authority to the ONS here.

    Harley Davidson rally, Milwaukee

    There's much speculation that Harley Davidson will reveal an electric motorcycle in the near future. A slightly mysterious video from the company features a motorbike making a whooshing noise. Pictured above is a regular, noisy Harley.


    Radio 4 discusses ICANN, the not-for-profit organisation that overseas the internet. In March the US government announced plans to give up control, but Julia Powers, from Cambridge University says that "won't change a lot". Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, disagrees. He says the US has "entirely" relinquished the contract governing ICANN.

    England training

    No pressure England, but the nation's retailers are counting on you. Keith Richardson at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "A good run by the England team...could have a positive impact upon retailers' bottom line. For food retailers in particular, the month-long football festival represents an opportunity to regain some of the ground lost by their prolonged discounting campaigns."

    Npower logo

    Npower has had its knuckles rapped again. Industry regulator Ofgem has opened an investigation into "prolonged billing problems and complaint issues" at the Big 6 energy supplier. If npower does not meet monthly targets to cut its late-bill backlog, it will be forced to stop all proactive telesales. Ofgem has warned the firm it could face fines if it's found to have broken customer service rules.

    Maserati GranTurismo

    Maserati expects to sell as many cars in the first half of this year as it sold in the whole of 2013. It sold 15,400 cars last year, its best year on record. The sports car maker is owned by Fiat.


    Energy supplier Npower has responded to that Ofgem ultimatum on the firm's "prolonged billing and complaint issues". It's apologised to customers again and says it plans to spend an extra £20m this year to sort everything out. Paul Massara, Npower's chief executive, admitted that "despite progress... current billing standards have fallen short".

    GARDEN CITIES 12:06:
    Savills map

    The estate agents, Savills, has been doing some thinking about where future Garden Cities could be built in the crowded and expensive South East. They have come up with this map, which shows areas (A-F) that have the potential for large scale developments.

    Paul Massara, Npower chief executive

    In an interview with the BBC last November, Npower boss Paul Massara said his £150,000 bonus was linked to (among other things) "getting it right for customers". He also admitted his salary, including bonus, was £600,000. You can see the video here.

    NPOWER ULTIMATUM Via Twitter John Moylan Industry correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: "Energy Secretary @EdwardDaveyMP says it's "unacceptable " Npower customers have not received service they deserve.. #DECC"

    MARKET UPDATE 12:28:

    Rolls Royce shares have held onto their early gains, up 6% after the jet engine maker announced a share buyback. The FTSE 100 is up 0.8%, with investors buoyed by the US Federal Reserve's signal that interest rates would remain at record lows for longer. Oil prices continue their steady climb, tracking events in Iraq, with Brent crude up 31 cents at $114.57 a barrel.

    Star Wars premier 2005

    After years of wrangling Pinewood Studios has been given the go-ahead to expand. The £200m investment plan will add twelve large stages with workshops and offices. Business has been booming for Pinewood with the latest in the Star Wars series under production there.

    Blackberry Z3 smartphone

    Smartphone maker BlackBerry has reported net income of $23m (£13.5m) for the three months to the end of May. That compares to a $84m (£49m) loss in the same period last year. The firm has been struggling with falling sales and disappointing launches of new phones.


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