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Summary

  1. MPs question Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley and others on employment practices
  2. Worker 'gave birth in Sports Direct warehouse toilet'
  3. Halifax says house price rises will slow down
  4. Sterling up against dollar and euro following EU referendum poll findings

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night!

    That's it from Business Live for another day.

    It's been a day dominated by the Business select committee's hearing into Sports Direct.

    Tomorrow MPs will be focusing on BHS, so join us from 6am for all the latest.

    Thanks for reading.  

  2. S&P at near-12 month high

    Despite the modest rise for the S&P 500 today, it is in fact the highest close for the index since 22 July last year.

  3. Dow and S&P end higher

    Shares of oil companies jumped on Tuesday, lifting the Dow and S&P 500 after US crude closed above $50 a barrel for the first time since July. Chevron and ExxonMobil climbed 2.2% and 1.6% as supply disruptions in Nigeria boosted oil prices. 

    However, the Nasdaq finished slightly lower after two biotech companies, Biogen and Alexion Pharmaceuticals, reported disappointing clinical results.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both rose by 0.1%, while the Nasdaq shed 0.1%. 

  4. Unilever boss's Brexit warning

    Paul Polman

    Paul Polman, the Unilever chief executive, has waded into the Brexit debate, warning that leaving the European Union would "destroy jobs" and - heaven forbid - raise the price of ice-cream. 

    He told Channel 4 News that a Brexit vote would have "serious consequences" for his company, which does a third of its business in Europe. "If you go out you will significantly create insecurity that will destroy jobs here and certainly put many other jobs at risk," Mr Polman said. 

    He also warned that leaving the EU would mean tariffs on dairy products, meaning "the price of ice cream will go up". 

  5. Firms 'must hunt out hackers'

    Compilation picture of computer screen and shadowy figure

    Many companies have the wrong strategy in place to tackle data breaches, according to research released to coincide with Europe's largest cybersecurity event.

    Too often firms just react to what software flags on their network instead of actively hunting out intruders, says the security firm Mandiant.

    It says hackers get control of about 40 machines in the average breach.

    But, it adds, often only a handful of servers are typically cleaned up.

    The result, it says, is that attackers can linger on internal networks for months, giving them the opportunity to steal more information. Read more here

  6. Do you work in a cold and ugly office?

    The Daily Telegraph

    Whether you're still in the office or already home after a long day - just how would you rate your office environment?

    Well, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph, if you're in Britain you're likely to be pretty scathing. 

    Apparently, British offices are the coldest and ugliest in the world. An Ipsos poll of 12,000 people found that staff feel "uncomfortable, uninspired and unable to concentrate at work." 

    Nearly 20% of British workers would describe their offices as cold. 

    Thirteen per cent think their workplace is ugly, which is almost twice as high as the global average.

    And three in ten Brits reckon their workplace is "impersonal". 

    Apparently open-plan and overcrowded offices have a lot to do with this dissatisfaction, the study believes. 

  7. Unite says Sports Direct business model 'exploitative'

    Steve Turner, the Assistant General Secretary at the Unite Union gave evidence to the Business Committee this morning, ahead of the founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley.

    He disputes Mr Ashley's claim that he needs to have 80% of his workforce on zero hours contracts. 

    Quote Message: This is a business model that employs people in the most exploitative way, that's the reality of it and that was the evidence that we were given today. And it's firsthand evidence that we've received from our members and other employees that we speak to day-in and day-out, week-in and week-out at Sports Direct. There is no reason why a business that operates 52 weeks a year, 24 hours a day at its warehouse operation, and 364 days a year in terms of its retail outlets, can't employ people with dignity and respect, on contracts that offer stability and security, guaranteed earnings and guaranteed hours, week-in, week-out. This is 21st century Britain, not 19th century Britain." from Steve Turner Unite Union, assistant general secretary
    Steve TurnerUnite Union, assistant general secretary
  8. Employees criticise LSE-Deutsche Boerse merger

    Deutsche Boerse logo

    Deutsche Boerse employees have criticised the terms of a $30bn (£23bn) merger agreed between the German exchange operator and the London Stock Exchange.

    They want the planned holding company to be based in Frankfurt, reports Reuters.  

    "The planned constellation is not a merger of equals," Deutsche Boerse's works council, which represents the interest of employees, said in a statement aimed at shareholders, but seen by the news agency. 

    "Key corporate decisions will be made solely from London in the future; Frankfurt's loss of significance is pre-programmed," the works council said, adding that this would damage the German economy. 

    LSE and Deutsche Boerse said earlier this month the combined group could initially cut 1,250 jobs.

    "We are in contact with the works council but want to hold these talks bilaterally and not over the media," a Deutsche Boerse spokesman told Reuters. 

  9. Sports direct: From dinghy to oil tanker

    Some more insights from the Sports Direct committee and at one point it's put to founder Mike Ashley that: "Your own analogy is you woke up one day and your little business was an oil tanker. Well, if you've gone from a dinghy to an oil tanker shouldn't you get someone who knows how to sail and drive an oil tanker?"

    "Possibly, possibly," Mr Ashley replies. "I can accept the criticism - some of the things you've said to me today would actually lead me to believe that it's definitely outgrown me." 

  10. Sports Direct founder quizzed over security check bottlenecks

    More from the Sports Direct select committee earlier today ... 

    Founder Mike Ashley was asked if he accepted that because bottlenecks at security checks added time to the working day, the company was effectively paying workers below the minimum wage.

    "On that specific point for that specific bit of time, yes," he responded. 

    He was then asked if he had now addressed that.

    "I hope so," he said.   

  11. FTSE edges up

    London Stock Exchange logo

    The FTSE 100 index edged up slightly on Tuesday and ended the day  at 6,284.53 - up 0.18%. 

    Royal Dutch Shell was the biggest riser after the oil giant increased its estimate of cost savings from the BG deal.

    Shares rose more than 3% after it said it expected $4.5bn of savings following its merger with BG, higher than its previous estimate of $3.5bn.

    Energy shares were also helped as oil prices remained near seven-month highs.

    More generally shares were boosted by comments from the head of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, who suggested yesterday that US interest rates were unlikely to rise this month.

  12. BHS funding 'was never agreed' by potential investor

    A potential investor in BHS never agreed a line of credit for Retail Acquisitions, the investment vehicle which bought the department store chain from Sir Philip Green.

    Nicholas Giauque of Farallon Capital Europe told MPs on the Work and Pensions Select Committee that his firm had made a preliminary expression of interest in providing credit, but never got to the stage of doing due diligence.

  13. Union wants to discuss 'issues' with Sports Direct's Mike Ashley

    More on the Business Select Committee investigating working conditions at Sports Direct ...

    The Unite trade union's Luke Primarolo was questioned by the committee before Mr Ashley. Speaking this afternoon, he described Mr Ashley's evidence as "extraordinary". 

    Quote Message: Mr Ashley seemed to acknowledge that there are a lot of issues at that site, which we welcome but question, in the sense that we've been trying to contact him for some considerable time because we have a lot of evidence of the kind of things that have been happening at that site. Because obviously what we want to do is sit down with him and discuss these issues and find a way through to resolving them. Something up until now we have not had the opportunity to do. from Luke Primarolo Unite trade union
    Luke PrimaroloUnite trade union
  14. Sports Direct's shares close up

    Shares in the sports Retailer Sports Direct close up 5.39% at 383.20p following boss Mike Ashley's appearance before the Business Select committee.