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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 ends 0.6% higher
  2. Theresa May defends energy bill cap plan
  3. John Lewis takes £36m hit to profits over pay errors
  4. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good evening

That's all from today's Business Live team. 

Do join us again in the morning to keep up with all the latest news.

Disney profits up 11%

Emma Watson in front of Beauty and the Beast display
Getty Images
Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast has has added an extra sparkle to Disney results

Walt Disney has reported an 11.4% rise in quarterly profit.

The updated version of "Beauty and the Beast", starring Emma "Hermione" Watson, and the continued popularity of the Disney theme parks boosted revenues by 2.8%, the company said after trading closed on Wall Street. 

Three cheers for the widow Clicquot

Mme Clicquot painting
Veuve Clicquot

Not being great champagne connoisseurs here at the Business Live Page, we hadn't previously put much thought into where the Veuve Clicquot brand name came from.

Of course 'veuve' is French for 'widow'. But did you know that the widow Clicquot was only 27 when she took over her deceased husband's wine interests in 1804?

She promptly renamed the brand after herself, and set about supplying the royal courts of Europe, Napoleonic wars notwithstanding.

And she was apparently "proud and stubborn". Well you'd have to be, wouldn't you?

Wall Street chills

In the absence of any big stories to move the markets...US investors found they had nothing new to worry about for now. 

So they took a breather and the Dow Jones closed the day just 0.17% lower at 20,975.

The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower at 2,396.

The Nasdaq was 0.3% higher at 6,120.

Champagne toast for Whitbread boss

Alison Brittain holding award
Veuve Clicquot

Alison Brittain has just been named Veuve Clicquot's Business Woman 2017.

The prestigious award recognises a leading woman in British business and in the past has gone to names as varied as Prue Leith, Anita Roddick and Marjorie Scardino.

Ms Brittain made the leap last year from a well-established career in banking to become head of Whitbread that owns Costa Coffee, Premier Inns and Brewer's Fayre amongst other hospitality brands.

Expect she'll be foregoing the coffee for a glass of something more bubbly this evening.

Apple of the market's eye

Apple is set to close the day's trading with what looks like a modest rise of 0.5%.

But that small rise gives the tech giant a market cap above $800bn for the first time. 

Democratic senators ask regulators to probe Carl Icahn

Carl Icahn
Getty Images

Eight Democratic Senators have asked US regulators to launch an investigation into billionaire Carl Icahn's activities in the US biofuels blending credit market, according to Reuters. 

The senators said activist investor Mr Icahn may have violated trading laws since becoming an adviser to President Donald Trump. 

"We are writing to request that your agencies investigate whether Carl Icahn violated insider trading laws, anti-market manipulation laws, or any other relevant laws based on his recent actions in the market for renewable fuel credits," the senators said in a letter to the heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The regulators don't have to act on the request.

Reuters said it had seen a copy of the letter which was signed by Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and five others. 

Reuters said it hadn't managed to reach Mr Icahn for comment.

Tomorrow's business on Today

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Here's a sneak preview of what's coming up on the Today programme business slot on Wednesday - tune in at 6:15am. 

View more on twitter

No Trump decision on Paris climate deal till after G7

BBC World Service

Donald Trump walking
Getty Images

President Trump won't decide whether the US should remain in the Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions until after he returns from a G7 summit at the end of the month, reports BBC World Service. 

Mr Trump criticised the deal while on the campaign trail last year and had been due to meet his climate advisers on Tuesday.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, said that China would protect the Paris agreement while Mr Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama said the world's biggest emitters, China and the US, should lead the way in the fight against climate change. 

Negotiations on how the Paris agreement could be put into practice are continuing in the German city of Bonn.

Amazon cuts free shipping threshold

Amazon logo on package
Getty Images

Online retail giant Amazon has cut the threshold for free shipping to $25 from $35 to attract new customers, reports Reuters

Amazon already offers free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members. 

The move comes as the world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, has been stepping up its online business.

Wal-Mart started its own membership programme called ShippingPass last year, which offered free two-day shipping for $49 a year. However, in January the company replaced that with free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more. 

Jack Ma 'plans to bring one million US firms to Alibaba'

Donald Trump and Jack Ma
Gett

Alibaba boss Jack Ma wants to bring one million US businesses onto the giant e-commerce platform as part of a plan agreed with US president Donald Trump, the FT reports.

"China has 300m middle class [shoppers]. We need good stuff from outside China," Mr Ma said.

Lib Dems respond to energy price cap proposals

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Sticking with the energy cap proposals, the Lib Dems gave this response ... 

Hand adjusting oven knob
Getty Images

I think voters are going to be astonished that the Conservatives are copying Ed Miliband and Labour's policy of the last election. Because just two years ago, Conservative MPs were queueing up to attack it. Michael Fallon, the current Defence Secretary, who was energy minister then: he called it dangerous, he said it would kill investment, hurt consumers. And very interestingly, in the cabinet, two years ago, Mrs May didn't support this policy and she opposed Ed Miliband's price cap.

Ed DaveyFormer Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary

Labour: Conservatives 'stole' energy price cap idea

BBC One

Knobs on oven
Pinkbadger

But Labour is not happy at the Conservatives' energy price cap proposals ...

Well, it's not a Tory policy. It's scandalous that they've stolen a Labour policy. But what we're saying is that they've haven't provided any detail and they've not gone far enough.

Rebecca Long-BaileyLabour's shadow energy secretary

Why cap energy prices?

BBC Radio 5 live

Returning to Theresa May's proposals to cap energy prices, a former Conservative minister explains the thinking behind the idea ... 

Electricity pylon
Getty Images

If you are a long-term customer of a company - doesn't matter if it's an airline or a coffee shop - they will know that you are one of their best customers and they will try and give you air miles or a free coffee every now and again or whatever it might be. And it's only industries like energy where they say no, these are our best customers, our loyal customers, the ones who've stuck with us for years and years and years, and instead of treating them really well, we're going to treat them really badly, we're going to rip them off because we know we can.

John PenroseFormer Conservative minister

Chicken nugget tweet breaks Twitter record

BBC World Service

Carter Wilkerson eating a chicken nugget
Carter Wilkerson/Twitter

A Twitter message from an American teenager asking a fast food chain for a year's supply of chicken nuggets has become the most re-tweeted message ever, reports BBC World Service.

A month ago, Carter Wilkerson, from Reno, Nevada posted a tweet asking Wendy's a burger chain, how many re-tweets he would need for a year's supply of the chicken snacks. 

They said 18 million. Mr Wilkerson then posted a screen shot of his message with the message 'help me please. A man needs his nuggs'. 

The message rapidly went viral and has now reached nearly3.5 million retweets - breaking the previous record set by the American talk show host Ellen de Generes and raising $100,000 for charity in the process. 

What does Brexit mean?

Union Jack in front of Big Ben
Getty Images

Are you American who just doesn't understand what Brexit is all about? Well, never fear, help is at hand.

The New York Times is organising six-day guided tours called “Brexit means Brexit” for people interested in examining the "historic implications of a historic vote”.

According to the Guardian newspaper politicians, journalists and historians will explain the backgound to Brexit.  

“After a typical pub lunch and a pint at a local pub frequented by members of parliament, join the queue to attend one of the debates in either the House of Commons or House of Lords,” the marketing literature says.

The cost? A snip at $5,995 (£4,650) per person.

350 jobs to go when Walkers crisp factory closes

Walkers factory
Google

More than 350 jobs in County Durham will be axed when Walkers crisp factory closes, the owner has confirmed.

PepsiCo said in March it was consulting about plans to close the Peterlee factory to help it make "productivity and efficiency savings" in the UK.

A spokeswoman confirmed earlier that production would be moved to the company's other UK sites by December.

She said 355 workers had been given notice earlier and all those affected would be offered support. Read more here

Ethical employers 'exposed'

John Lewis plastic shopping bags
Oli Scarff

A bit of reaction to the news John Lewis has taken a £36m hit to profits to cover potential back payments to staff after breaching National Minimum Wage rules.

The retailer said the issue related to the use of pay averaging, which spreads workers' pay evenly over the year.

It said employees were paid the correct amount over the course of the year.

However, those on hourly rates had sometimes seen pay dip below the minimum wage when they worked extra hours, technically breaking the rules.

Ethically-focused employers like John Lewis are exposed to this area of technical non-compliance because of 'pay averaging' where staff are paid the same amount each month even if the hours they've worked vary. Given that this practice aims to provide more certainty and financial stability for workers, it is ironic that it may inadvertently result in the retailer paying less than the minimum wage for the actual hours worked in a given month. It is possible that this could be the case even in circumstances where, strictly speaking, the worker will eventually have received all the money they are entitled to albeit not in each pay reference period.

Anna FletcherDirector at law firm, Gowling WLG

FTSE 100's biggest winners

On the FTSE 100 commodities stocks were among the biggest climbers.  

Mining giant Glencore ended the day 2.3% ahead, following the news that it had started the sale process for its Tahmoor coking coal mine. It plans to stop mining there next year. 

BHP Billiton finished 2.2% higher. 

Rolls Royce Holdings was the biggest riser. Earlier it said it had partnered with Turkish industrial group Kale Group to build engines for Turkey's new domestically-built fighter jet.