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  1. Get in touch:
  2. London could lose euro clearing role
  3. Tech stocks lead Wall Street higher
  4. Terror attacks deter visits to tourist sites, says Merlin
  5. Inflation hits four year high
  6. Pound climbs
  7. FTSE 100 flat

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By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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GM ramps up driverless experiment

Lyft app on smartphone
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General Motors says it has completed production of 130 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan.

The carmaker expects to use the vehicles within the month in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona, with its ride-sharing partner Lyft after a final test in Michigan.

GM began producing the Bolt test vehicles at the Orion plant in January, and expects the self-driving test fleet to grow to 180. Detroit-based GM joins a list of companies aggressively pursuing automated vehicle technologies.

These include Ford, Uber Technologies, Tesla, and Alphabet's self-driving car Waymo unit.

Wall Street climbs as banks rise

Wall Street gained at the close with the Dow as bank shares rose ahead of an expected Federal Reserve interest rate hike and technology stocks bounced back.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.66 points, or 0.44%, to 21,328.33, the S&P 500 gained 10.96 points, or 0.45%, to 2,440.35 and the Nasdaq Composite added 44.90 points, or 0.73%, to 6,220.37.

Brexit and the City

Uber: Wider tech sector has problems too

BBC North America technology reporter tweets:

Time for job cuts

Media group Time Inc is cutting about 300 jobs, 4% of its workforce, Reuters reports.

The New York-based company, which publishes dozens of magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, is looking to cut costs and reinvest in growth areas, according to a memo from Time Inc chief executive Rich Battista to employees.

Time Inc, like its peers in the publishing industry, has been struggling as print circulations shrink and advertisers shift to digital platforms.

Apple goes green - again

apple logo

Apple is offering a $1bn bond dedicated to financing clean energy and environmental projects. It's the first corporate green bond offered since President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement.

The offering comes over a year after Apple issued its first green bond of $1.5bn - the largest issued by a US corporation - as a response to the 2015 Paris agreement.

Apple said its second green bond is meant to show that businesses are still committed to the goals of the 194-nation accord.

"Leadership from the business community is essential to address the threat of climate change and protect our shared planet," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook was one of several CEOs who directly appealed to Trump to keep the US in the pact before he made his decision.

Wall Street update

Wall Street extended gains - slightly - in afternoon trading, with the Dow hitting an all-time high.

Bank shares rose ahead of an expected Federal Reserve interest rate hike and technology stocks bounced back.

The S&P 500 technology sector rose 0.7%, recovering from its biggest two-day decline in nearly a year. Big tech names, such as Microsoft and Facebook, pushed the S&P 500 higher.

"The sell-off in tech probably was a bit further than people expected, so there is some bargain hunting back into that sector," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management.

With about a hour to the closing bell, the Dow was up 0.42% to 21,324.1 points, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 2,439, and the Nasdaq added 0.55% to 6,209.3.

Traders are overwhelmingly expecting an interest rate increase when the Fed concludes its two-day meeting on Wednesday.

Tech sector tainted?

Two major Uber investors have also say the problems at Uber are not confined to the ride-sharing app.

We’ve always believed that Uber’s problems, while extreme, are not different in kind from those of the majority of large tech firms. We have watched as senior, visible people in the larger tech ecosystem excuse the reprehensible behavior of some individuals, and we have observed the pattern of passing around bad actors from company to company. This holds the entire sector back.

Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor KleinUber investors

Problem not limited to Uber?

Dave Lee

North America technology reporter

Uber logo on car windscreen
Getty Images

When that blog post by ex-employee Susan Fowler dropped on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I doubt anybody at the company thought it would lead to this. I certainly didn’t.

That moment marked the beginning of the crisis at Silicon Valley’s most talked about start-up.

In the middle of it all, Travis Kalanick, a man who, rightly or wrongly, now symbolises what people feel is the very worst of tech “bro” culture. A man flush with money and an unrelenting ambition that slowed for no-one. Until now.

Uber’s problems were enough, most argued, for Mr Kalanick to make this decision. But coupled with the tragic death of his mother, the 40-year-old is quite understandably not in a position to give the company the attention it so desperately needs.

Since I started reporting this story I’ve been told how this problem is not limited to Uber. It’s across the tech industry far and wide. With that in mind, it will perhaps be encouraging to the rank-and-file at every tech firm that this fiasco began with one act: a woman brave enough to speak out.

Uber moving in right direction?

Reaction to the Uber review now from Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, key investors in Uber who were vocal in pushing for change at the company earlier this year.

"Back in February, we released an open letter to Uber’s Board of Directors and Investors decrying the “toxic patterns” we had observed within the company culture.

"We also said that we were ready to help, but only if the company took a comprehensive approach to overhauling its culture, including 'every aspect of its policies, practices, complaint systems, training, upward communication systems, sentiment analysis, and commitment from the top'.

"Our initial review of today’s report suggests that this is the approach that the board has adopted. The recommendations are both thoughtful and extensive, and we are very encouraged that they have taken this as seriously as we had hoped."

Kalanick: Responsibility rests on my shoulders

Uber on smartphone
Getty Images

More on the news that Uber boss Travis Kalanick plans to take time away from the company.

The leave comes after an internal review of the firm's culture and practices, which was sparked by a former employee's claims the company ignored her complaints about sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

At a meeting on Sunday, Uber's board voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations from the review.

The ultimate responsibility, for where we’ve gotten and how we’ve gotten here rests on my shoulders. There is of course much to be proud of but there is much to improve. For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve.

Return trip?

Travis Kalanick
Getty Images

Travis Kalanick's email to staff makes it pretty clear that he does not know how long he will be away on leave of absence following the death of his mother.

It’s hard to put a timeline on this - it may be shorter or longer than we might expect. Tragically losing a loved one has been difficult for me and I need to properly say my goodbyes.

Travis KalanickChief executive, Uber

The man who said he needed to 'grow up'

Travis Kalanick
Getty Images

The BBC's Zoe Kleinman has been looking into Travis Kalanick's rollercoaster reign at Uber. Read her report here.

Kalanick's email

CNBC, one of the first news organisations to report that Uber boss Travis Kalanick is taking leave of absence, has got hold of his email to staff. You can read the email here.

Is Uber boss to go on leave?

Travis Kalanick
Getty Images

Travis Kalanick, the under-fire boss at Uber, is to take leave of absence, according to reports in the US. The company is today due to publish the results of an investigation into misconduct at the company.

Uber has already parted ways with a handful of key executives, including its number two Emil Michael this week, but the fate of Kalanick was not clear.

However, the New York Times and AFP were among outlets saying he has sent an email to staff about taking an unspecified length of leave. Kalanick's mother died recently.

An open door

Wolfgang Schaeuble

There's an intriguing comment from Germany's finance minister being reported by news agencies this afternoon.

Just when the mood music from Europe seems to be for Britain to get on with leaving the EU, Wolfgang Schaeuble says the door remains open if the UK changes its mind.

The veteran conservative politician did, however, admit that a change of heart any time soon was unlikely.

Still, Britain will in end come to regret Brexit, he told reporters. "Then they'll come back. But it remains another question if I'll still witness this," said Schaeuble, aged 74.

S Africa to probe alleged drugs over-charging

South Africa's competition watchdog has launched an investigation into three drug companies accused of over-charging for cancer medicines, the agency's chief said on Tuesday.

Tembinkosi Bonakele, head of the Competition Commission, said the agency would investigate Aspen Pharmacare, Africa's biggest generic drug maker, US company Pfizer and Swiss-based Roche Holding.

"Here we have a suspicion. We think that the reason is excessive pricing by the participants in the market. We have to investigate and bring people to book," Bonakele told a news conference.

US producer prices 'warm'

woman making US flags

US producer prices were unchanged in May as energy costs recorded their biggest decline in more than a year, suggesting a moderation in inflation after a rise at the start of the year.

Inflation at the factory gate, however, remains supported by sustained increases in the cost of services as well as a softening dollar, which is lifting prices of some imported goods.

"Inflation down at the producer level of the economy's factory-to-consumer supply chain remains on the warm side, which is in keeping with the economy moving beyond full employment," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

The US Labor Department said on Tuesday that last month's unchanged reading in its producer price index for final demand followed a 0.5% jump in April.

FTSE 100 ends lower

A rebound in the pound didn't help the FTSE 100, which ended the day down 0.15% at 7,500.4 points.

Many companies listed on the FTSE 100 earn most of their income abroad, so a strong pound lowers the amount of profit they report in sterling.

The London Stock Exchange Group was the day's winner, with its shares closing 5.3% up. The biggest faller was 3i, down 3%.

The FTSE 250 did better, finishing 0.9% up at 19,859.5 points.

Clouds over the City of London

European Commission plans to grab power over the Square Mile's euro-clearing business post-Brexit have not gone down well with the City of London Corporation.

“The UK accounts for 40% of the global trading. In contrast, the remaining 27 member states account for less than 10% of the combined market share," says CLC policy chairman Catherine McGuinness. "The EU is simply not equipped to handle the volume of clearing that the UK does each day."

Each day the UK clears on average 2.1tn dollars – much more than the 885bn euros cleared. "Yet, the US is not suggesting this function is repatriated," she says.

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BMW: Unite threatens more strikes

Unite, Britain's biggest union, said on Tuesday that there would be more strikes at BMW's UK plants if the German carmaker fails to agree a deal with workers over plans to close its final salary pension scheme.

The comment comes a day after members rejected a compromise offer.

"We expect to meet BMW in the coming days," said Unite National Officer for BMW Fred Hanna.

But he added: "Shop stewards from all of BMW's UK plants are clear that further strike action is almost certain unless the company puts forward a new offer that better addresses members' concerns."

BMW said on Monday that its revised was fair and would improve competitiveness and would meet with workers' representatives in due course.

Cash is 'alive and kicking'

Pound notes

The death of cash is greatly exaggerated. Who says? The country's chief cashier.

Victoria Cleland says the rise of new technology is not a threat to cash - but the industry should not be complacent.

The Bank of England's chief cashier and director of notes says technology has had a "huge impact on the payments industry", with ways to pay including digital currencies, mobile payments and innovations such as contactless cards gaining "real traction".

She says: "We have even considered whether there might be a Bank of England-issued digital currency, but do not envisage this in the foreseeable future."

But Ms Cleland said that, contrary to predictions of the eventual death of cash, "if we dig further, it is clear that cash is very much alive and kicking".

One in 20 UK adults, spread relatively evenly across age groups, relies almost entirely on cash to make day-to-day payments, she said.

"Technology is not a threat to cash - it provides opportunities," she says, citing the introduction of polymer notes."

Spain continues economic progress

Bridge in Marbella
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Spain's central bank has raised its growth forecast for 2017 to 3.1% from 2.8%, as the country continues its recovery from economic crisis.

The bank cited "better perspectives in world markets, particularly in the short term" as well as lower oil prices and interest rates, and a generally better-functioning Spanish economy, including a slight drop in private sector debt.

Last year, Spain's economy grew by 3.2%, double the eurozone average, as it continues to heal from an economic downturn after a property bubble burst in 2008.

On the downside, the unemployment rate remains at 18.7%, the second highest level in the eurozone after Greece's.

Is that clear?

More on the European Commission's plans that could hit London's euro-clearing business.

The proposal will hive off clearing houses into two tiers, determined by whether their operations are considered "systemically important".

Those not systemically important will continue to operate under the framework of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation while systemically important clearing houses will be subject to "stricter requirements".

The "tier 2" operations will be forced to comply with any additional requirements set forward by EU central banks like collateral conditions and extra cash cushions. They will also be subject to "on-site inspections" and will have to provide "all relevant information" to the European Securities and Markets Authority.

However, some clearing houses "may be of such systemic importance" that those requirements will not be able to safeguard the EU financial system alone, forcing some businesses to move some of operations within EU borders.

It is this last change that could affect operations like the London Stock Exchange's London Clearing House.

The commission's proposals will now be put forward to European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

EU seeks post-Brexit power over London finance hub

euros scrunched in a fist

The EU has unveiled plans to give itself new powers over London's banking business after Brexit in a blow to the city's supremacy as a global financial hub.

The draft law announced by European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis will empower Europe to decide if post-Brexit London has the right to host financial market "clearing houses" that deal in euros, the EU's single currency.

Clearing houses are a key part of the financial system's plumbing, with trillions of euros being handled every year, mostly out of London. "As we face the departure of the largest EU financial centre, we need to make certain adjustments to our rules to ensure that our efforts remain on track," Dombrovskis said in a statement.

Wall Street opens on front foot

A heavy sell-off of tech stocks over the last couple of Wall Street trading sessions looks to have been halted. The three main US share markets have all opened higher, with tech companies leading the charge.

The Dow Jones ticked above 21,305.35 points to mark a fresh record. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also inched ahead.

Apple, a big loser lately, saw its shares rise 1% in the first few minutes of trading, as did Microsoft. Banks were also gainers, led by a 1.6% rise for Goldman Sachs

Sears cuts 400 jobs

Sears department store

US retail giant Sears is cutting 400 jobs from its head office and support functions.

The department store business is trying to cut costs by $1.25bn (£1bn) this year due to ongoing competition from the likes of Amazon.

Chief executive Eddie Lampert said: "We are making progress with the fundamental restructuring of our operations that we initiated in February.

He added:."We remain focused on realigning our business model in an evolving and highly competitive retail environment. This requires us to optimize our store footprint and operate as a leaner and simpler organization."

What on earth is euro clearing - and why should you care?

Katie Hope

BBC business reporter

City of London

The fate of a business worth billions of pounds to London's financial sector will become clearer later after the European Commission announces its plans to regulate the sector.

The EU is expected to call for a new system to vet the vast market in euro-denominated derivatives post the UK's exit from the European Union.

Currently London is the undisputed market leader in the sector.

But concerns that the UK should still have a such an important role when it will no longer be covered by European Union rules have prompted a review.

The draft law could call for euro-denominated clearing transactions to move from London to the Continent if it thinks such dealings pose a risk to EU financial stability.

We take a look at what this would mean for London.

Indian tycoon's extradition hearing continues

BBC business correspondent tweets...

Vijay #Mallya leaves court after extradition case hearing. Press mob in action...

Vijay #Mallya leaves court after extradition case hearing. Press mob in action...

Vijay Mallya's extradition hearing continued in London today, with the Indebted Indian tycoon again rejecting all the charges against him.

The businessman fled to Britain last year after being accused of fraud, but was arrested in May by the Metropolitan Police on behalf of the Indian authorities.

India has been seeking the extradition of Mr Mallya, who faces charges of financial irregularities at his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

He is said to owe banks £600m but he denies wrongdoing.

Carlsberg to eliminate brewery emissions by 2030

Carlsberg beer bottles

Carlsberg says it is embarking on a huge sustainability drive, partly inspired by Donald Trump's withdrawal of the US from the Paris climate agreement.

The Danish brewer plans to eliminate brewery emissions and halve its water usage by 2030. It said the plans, which include using only renewable energy to brew beer by 2022, were equivalent to taking 160,000 cars off the road.

Chief executive Cees t‘Hart said: “People in Carlsberg are more energised after Trump said no to the Paris agreement,” he said.

“We feel we can take responsibility in our own hands and don’t need to depend on politicians for this. You could argue it’s a drop in the ocean, but if everybody says that we won’t make any progress.”

That toxic incomes squeeze just got worse

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Man holding cash

It was Napoleon Bonaparte who once dismissed Britain as a nation of shop keepers.

He could more accurately have described us as a nation of shoppers.

Consumer spending is the driver of the UK's economic growth, accounting for about 60% of all our economic activity.

The quickest route to a downturn in that growth figure is consumers who rein in spending.

Read more

Why is the pound climbing?

Pound vs dollar
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The pound has regained some ground today, although it is still around two cents lower than it was prior to the release of Thursday's general election exit poll.

Today's rise comes after the ONS reported a surprise jump in inflation for May to 2.9%.

Ranko Berich, head of market analysis at Monex Europe, says this suggests traders have "increased their estimation" that the Bank of England will be forced to curb inflation sooner than expected by putting up interest rates. Higher interest rates typically increase the value of a currency.

The pound has gained 0.58% against the dollar since the beginning of the day to $1.27320.

FTSE 100 pares gains as pound climbs

A UK based trader
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London's benchmark index has pared its gains after figures showing a surprise jump in inflation in May pushed the pound higher.

The FTSE 100 is flat at 7,511.74, with stocks with international exposure under pressure, including Imperial Brands, BAE Systems and miner Antofagasta.

A strong pound means that a firm's international profits will be worth less when they are converted back into sterling.

Toshiba's troubles

Toshiba sign
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As we reported earlier, Toshiba is facing a fresh claim for damages over its 2015 accounting scandal. It merely adds to the long list of troubles already faced by the technology giant, as this timeline shows:

Feb 2006: The Japanese giant, famous for consumer electronics, buys US nuclear firm Westinghouse

Mar 2011: The Fukushima disaster makes nuclear power a much harder sell around the globe

Jun 2015: Toshiba is found to have inflated its financial results by $1.2bn over the previous seven years

Dec 2016: The company warns that its Westinghouse subsidiary is set to lose $4.3bn. Toshiba's share price falls by more than 40% over three days

Jan 2017: Toshiba says the unit that makes memory chips for smartphones and computers - NAND - will be split off so it can sell a slice to raise funds

Feb 2017: Toshiba delays reporting its Q3 earnings (Oct-Dec 2016). Chairman Shigenori Shiga resigns. And the company says it will take a $6.3bn hit due to losses at its US nuclear unit

Mar 2017: The company misses a second scheduled date for filing its Q3 results. Westinghouse files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Apr 2017: Toshiba finally puts out its Q3 results, without the stamp of approval from its auditors, with a warning that its future may be in jeopardy

May 2017: The firm misses a deadline to publish results for the year to March 2017 but estimates losses will be 950bn yen ($8.4bn; £6.5bn).

Greece loan dispute closer to resolution

Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
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Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reckons a deal between Greece and its international lenders can be reached by this week.

He told reporters in Germany: "We'll manage it on Thursday. You'll see."

Greece and its lenders need to reach a compromise over Athens' spending commitments (and more Greek government cuts) before new loans can be released.

Greece claims it has done everything asked of it and should get the next round of loans it needs.

The problems stem from arguments between eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund over whether Greece should be offered debt relief.

But it seems this week's deal will allow for the next tranche of loans to go to Greece, with debt relief conversations saved for another time.

Wages outpaced by inflation

BBC economics editor tweets...

Investor confidence in Germany slips

Berlin skyline
Getty Images

Investor confidence in the German economy fell back slightly in June, a closely-watched survey shows.

The ZEW institute's poll measuring economic expectations among financial experts shed two points to 18.6 points in the month.

ZEW president Achim Wambach said the prospects for the German economy were still favourable following the positive GDP growth seen in the European Union in the first quarter.

Investor confidence in the eurozone rose to 37.7 in June, although the outlook for the UK fell.

More than 63% of respondents said they expected conditions to worsen in Britain in the second half of the year - the highest proportion out of any of the countries listed in the poll.

Ronaldo: accounting skills probed


Squeaky bum time in Madrid today for Real Madrid's Portugese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The former Manchester United player has been accused of "four crimes against the public treasury between 2011-14... which involves tax fraud of 14,768,897 euros". That's almost £13m.

If the allegations prove to be true, he would be the latest Spanish-based star caught up in a tax scandal.

Ronaldo is accused of tax evasion through offshore companies, according to the public prosecutor's office in Madrid.

Inflation: MP reaction

George Freeman MP has given his views on the latest inflation. What makes it particularly interesting, is, he is Conservative MP for Mid Norfolk. At a time when the PM needs all her MPs on side, his views could prove troublesome for her to form any majorities. Mr Freeman was also pro-Remain during the referendum.

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