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Summary

  1. Brazil's economy contracts 5.4% in first quarter
  2. FTSE 100 falls sharply
  3. Japan delays sales tax increase
  4. Halfords shares slump after results
  5. British Steel brand revived after Greybull deal

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night!

    Well, that's it for another day on the Business Live page.

    Thank you for joining us.

    We'll be back again tomorrow from 6am to bring you all the twists and turns from the world of finance. 

  2. Wall Street claws back losses

    Wall Street sign

    Shares on Wall Street recovered from earlier losses on Wednesday after a report showed US manufacturing grew for a third straight month in May. 

    Stocks were also boosted as the oil price recovered from falls earlier in the day.  

    "The numbers are not bad; they're just not good either," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland, Ohio. "We're kind of trapped in limbo that way with respect to a lot of the fundamentals." 

    At the close the Dow Jones was flat at 17,789.67 - a scant gain of just 0.01%.

    The Nasdaq finished at 4,952.25 - up 0.08%.

    And the S&P 500 edged up 0.11% to 2,099.33.

  3. Olympics to include five new sports

    BBC World Service

    The Olympics - it's a massive sporting event - but it's also big business.

    Now the executive board of the International Olympic Committee has given unanimous support for the introduction of five new sports at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, reports BBC World Service.

    They are baseball, karate, surfing, skate-boarding and sport climbing. 

    The decision, made at a meeting in Lausanne, will have to be approved by all the members of the IOC when they meet in August, just before the Rio Olympic Games. 

    Observers say it is highly unusual for the IOC to recommend the inclusion of five new sports to the Olympic programme all at once.   

  4. Trump to travel to Turnberry

    Donald Trump

    US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is to attend the official opening of the revamped Open venue - Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire.  

    The US billionaire bought the hotel and golf course for an undisclosed sum in 2014 and subsequently added his name.

    The golf course and most rooms in the hotel have now reopened following a £200m refurbishment.

    The presumptive Republican nominee will attend the official reopening on 24 June - one day after the EU referendum. Read more here

  5. France pursues Booking.com over unpaid tax

    Booking.com website

    French authorities are seeking €356m (£276m) in unpaid taxes from Booking.com, according to documents filed by parent company Priceline.

    Documents filed with the US regulator said French authorities recently completed an audit of Booking.com's accounts from 2003 to 2012.

    The French government said Booking.com had a base in France and was obliged to pay income and value-added taxes.

    The company said the majority of funds being sought are penalties. Read more here

  6. Oil claws back losses ahead of Opec meeting

    Oil facility in Iran

    Oil settled down on Wednesday at about $50 a barrel, with the market retracing most earlier declines after OPEC sources said the group will likely consider a production curb at its forthcoming meeting. 

    Reuters is citing four OPEC sources as saying the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was likely to discuss an output ceiling at its meeting in Vienna on Thursday. 

    Analysts expect OPEC members to focus on defending individual market share. 

    However, the possibility of production quotas returning to OPEC helped crude oil prices shed most of the day's declines.

    "If they get a quota in place, that would certainly be bullish for oil, given that no surprises were expected at all from this meeting," said Phil Flynn, analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

    "It will also mark a diplomatic gesture by the Saudis after Doha," he added. 

    OPEC failed to agree to an output freeze at an April meeting in Doha, Qatar, after Saudi Arabia insisted Iran join the plan. 

  7. No French air strike

    The threat of an air traffic controller strike in France has been lifted, Its main SNCTA air traffic controllers union has lifted its notice of a strike from June 3-5. It was planning to take action over working conditions. The decision followed "a final negotiation meeting", the union said in a statement, without giving details. 

  8. US economy 'growing modestly'

    The US Federal Reserve says the economy grew at a modest pace in much of the country from April to mid-May, despite slower consumer spending and weakness in the manufacturing and energy sectors. The Fed's latest survey of business conditions found half of its 12 regions said growth was modest. Dallas said economic activity had increased ``marginally''. But  Chicago and Kansas City said growth had slowed from the past report. This could be seen as a reason to hold off on raising rates, points out Reuters.

  9. Shake up of FTSE

    London Stock Exchange sign

    Hikma Pharmaceuticals will be promoted to the FTSE 100 shares index after a sharp rally in its shares since March, 

    At the same time satellite communications company Inmarsat will drop out of the FTSE 100 and down into the FTSE 250. Its shares have fallen 37% since early February because a slowdown in the global economy has hit its shipping-related operations.  

    The companies which have been promoted into the FTSE 250 are Ascential, CMC Markets, Countryside Properties, CYBG, Hill & Smith Holdings, Metro Bank, Smurfit, and Kappa Group.    

    Meanwhile, Highbridge Multi-Strategy Fund, Interserve, Jimmy Choo, Lookers, Melrose Industries, Northgate and Ophir Energy have all fallen out of the FTSE 250.

    The changes will take effect from the start of trading on Monday 20 June. 

  10. Pubs set to score during Euro 2016

    Pint of beer

    The average pub is likely to see a 21% jump in takings on 16 June compared to a normal Thursday in June. 

    Why? Well, that's when England play Wales in the group stage of the Euro 2016 football tournament. 

    The figures come from tech start-up Epos Now - which supplies cloud-based point of sale systems to bars and shops. It says it has analysed sales figures from an anonymous sample of 500 UK pubs, 

    Epos Now also says convenience stores are already stocking up on alcohol ahead of the tournament. Figures show they have placed orders for 8% more bottled beer and 11% more canned beer than at the same time last year. 

  11. Brazil: Worst recession ever

    Brazilian flag

    Brazil's economy is going through its worst recession ever but will probably start to recover in coming quarters thanks to measures recently announced by interim President Michel Temer, the Finance Ministry said ina statement on Wednesday. 

    Official data earlier on Wednesday showed Brazil's gross domestic product fell for a fifth straight quarter in early 2016, but the drop was smaller than forecast due to heavier government spending in the months before a vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.  

  12. Call to reject Sorrell's £70m pay award

    Martin Sorrell

    Shareholders should oppose the pay report at WPP's annual meeting on 8 June because of the "excessive" pay awarded to chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, advisory group PIRC said.

    His total 2015 package of just over £70m included variable pay that was 58 times his base salary of £1.2m, which far exceeded an acceptable ratio of 200%, according to PIRC. 

    The ratio between Sir Martin's pay and that of the average WPP employee was "highly excessive" at 196 to 1, and well above the maximum acceptable ratio to PIRC of 20 to 1.

    The group also said investors should oppose the re-election of chairman Roberto Quarta, because he also chaired Smith & Nephew and should focus on one FTSE 100 company only, and reject the reelection of Deloitte as auditors for WPP. 

  13. Chilly start to June on FTSE

    London Stock Exchange sign

    Not a great start to June on the FTSE 100 - with slides across the board. It's mainly on the back of global growth concerns - we had a report out on China's manufacturing activity indicated lingering weaknesses in the world's second-largest economy. 

    That's put pressure on mining and energy stocks in particular. 

    And energy and mining stocks also took a hit as oil prices fell ahead of a meeting on Thursday of OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell to below 50 dollars a barrel in London.  

    At the close the  FTSE was at 6,191.93 - that's a fall of 0.62%.

    The US markets have followed Asia and Europe lower as well - and there was a bit of cold water thrown on the optimism surrounding the US economy after one forecast downgraded growth prospects.   

  14. It's a right royal dog's life

    Corgi lying on tartan dog bed

    If you've ever thought your dog would appreciate eating out of a bone china and 24 carat gold embellished bowl and reclining on a Hunting Stewart tartan bed - then it's your lucky day. 

    The Royal Collection Trust has launched a range of pet accessories. 

    It includes dog coats - also in Hunting Stewart tartan which is the livery worn at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh - collars engraved with the words Buckingham Palace, leads, collars and a blanket. 

    In case your dog has a birthday looming you might like to know the bed will set you back between £65-£75, the china bowl is £25 and a tartan fleece blanket is £60. 

    All profits from sales go to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity, which looks after the Royal Collection.