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Summary

  1. Service sector accelerates in June
  2. FTSE falls in early trade
  3. China's HNA Group chair dies
  4. National Express expands in Morocco
  5. BP invests in North Sea oil field
  6. Topps Tiles reports drop in sales
  7. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    BBC testcard

    That's it for today on Business Live - thanks for reading. We'll be back bright and early at 06:00 on Thursday.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis from the wonderful world of business.

  2. Hugh Jackman is leading music charts

    Hugh Jackman in the Greatest Showman

    Despite lots of new albums released this year by some of the biggest music artistes today, as of the middle of 2018, the best-selling singer so far this year is none other than the actor Hugh Jackman.

    The soundtrack to Mr Jackman's long-time pet project movie musical The Greatest Showman has topped latest album releases from the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West, selling almost 4 million copies, according to statistics compiled by Bloomberg.

    The soundtrack has enjoyed 21 weeks in the British chart for top five albums - surpassing Adele's 21, which previously held the record - despite the fact that none of the individiual tracks on the soundtrack have topped music charts.

  3. Baidu's self-drive buses enter 'mass production'

    The Apolong buses are not fitted with a steering wheel

    One of China's biggest technology companies says it has begun mass production of a self-driving bus.

    Baidu made the announcement after building its 100th Apolong vehicle at its factory in the country's south-eastern Fujian province.

    It said the vehicles would initially be put to commercial use within Chinese cities but added it was also targeting foreign markets.

  4. Hollywood box office revenue close to breaking records

    The Parrs family in Incredibles 2

    This summer's movie box office revenues are apparently on track to be the best since 2013, if things continue the way they are right now.

    According to Box Office Mojo, the Hollywood movie industry has generated over $6bn in ticket sales - a record second quarter of 2018, and a big difference from 2017, when ticket sales fell to their lowest in over a decade.

    Disney - currently embroiled in a bidding war for 21st Century Fox with Comcast - is so far the most successful movie studio distributor with 36% of the yearly market share, thanks to Black Panther ($699.8m), Avengers: Infinity War ($672.6m) and Incredibles 2 ($448.3m so far).

    Incredibles 2, which opens in the UK on 13 July, is already the second highest grossing animated film of all time, and it is expected to top the charts and displace the current reigning film Finding Dory, which earned $486.3m.

    Universal is also doing well this year. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has so far made over $246m, and in July, the studio will be releasing the highly anticipated Mama Mia: Hear We Go Again, as well Dwayne Johnson action film Skyscraper and fantasy crime film The First Purge.

  5. WPP threatens to strip Sorrell of share awards

    Sir Martin Sorrell

    WPP has threatened to take away share awards worth millions from its former chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell over his rival bid for digital production company MediaMonks.

    The BBC understands the share awards are potentially worth about £20m.

    Dutch firm Mediamonks is facing takeover bids from both WPP and Sir Martin's new S4 Capital venture.

    A source close to Sir Martin said: "I would say WPP are trying to muddy the waters, stir things up".

  6. 'It's going to be negative'

    BBC News

    The World Trade Organization's director-general Roberto Azevêdo has told the BBC that the Trump adminstration's stance on trade tariffs is going to have a negative impact on global economy growth.

    Video content

    Video caption: WTO boss: Protectionism 'will hit global economy'
  7. China not interested in a trade war with the US

    China and US flags

    China's finance ministry has issued a statement saying that it "absolutely will not fire the first shot" in a trade war with the US.

    It also said that the nation will not be the first to levy tariffs on American products.

    The clarification is in response to news reports that China's threat of tariffs on $34bn of US goods would take effect from the beginning of Friday 6 July, which would be before Washington's tariffs began.

    However, China said it is ready to act, if the Trump administration goes ahead with trade tariffs on $34bn in Chinese goods on Friday.

  8. Chevron keen to sell north sea assets

    An off-shore oil rig in the North Sea

    US energy giant Chevron has announced that it is looking to sell its oil and gas assets in the North Sea.

    The Alba, Alder, Britannia, Captain, Elgin-Franklin, Erskine and Jade platforms are included in the plans.

    The operations employ 610 staff and 220 contractors.

    Chevron said it was confirming an intent to market its assets in the Central North Sea, and that those assets may or may not be sold.

  9. Ryanair's response to charter of demands

    Ryanair aeroplane

    Budget airline Ryanair has responded to its workers' list of demands contained in the "Ryanair Crew Charter" launched today.

    A Ryanair spokesperson said: “These demands are pointless since Ryanair cabin crew already:

    • earn up to €40,000 per annum, more than double the “living” wage
    • work a fixed 5-on/3-off roster (a bank holiday weekend every week)
    • cannot fly (by law) more than 900 hours per annum (an average of 18 hours per week)
    • enjoy rosters that exceed all EASA minimum rest requirements
    • receive free training, sick pay and an annual uniform allowance (of €400)
    • are incentivised to sell on board with industry leading sales bonuses (10%)
    • receive paid and unpaid leave as they wish

    "Ryanair is already engaged in extensive negotiations with national cabin crew unions across Europe during which all of these, and other issues, are being negotiated and we have already concluded agreements in the UK and Italy.”

  10. BreakingGE executive arrested in Brazil

    Rio de Janeiro
    Image caption: Rio de Janeiro, where the fraud supposedly took place

    GE's chief executive for Latin America Daurio Speranzini Jr has been arrested by Brazilian federal police as part of an anti-corruption operation looking into an alleged healthcare cartel.

    The arrest is part of a wider investigation into fraudulent bids on medical equipment government contracts offered by Rio de Janeiro's Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Traumatology since 1996.

    The arrest warrant cites Mr Speranzini's activities during his period as senior vice-president at Philips Healthcare between 2004 to 2010.

    However the warrant says that Mr Speranzini's "power" continued after he joined GE in 2011.

    No search warrant has so far been issued for GE Latin America.

    Federal police have also issued warrants for 21 other individuals, including another Philips executive and two executives from Dixtal Biomedica, a Dutch firm based in Brazil, as well as a search and seizure warrant for Johnson & Johnson.

    GE has issued a statement saying that the allegations refer to a period where Mr Speranzini "was leading a different company".

    Philips said it is cooperating with authorities and that none of the company's current leaders are involved in the police operation.

    Johnson & Johnson said it “vigorously follows” Brazilian law and is “cooperating fully” with the investigation.

  11. Global economy facing 'dire' consequences

    Ravi Menon, the Monetary Authority of Singapore's managing director

    Singapore's central bank has declared that the risks to global growth have increased significantly.

    “The world has clearly moved from trade tension to trade conflict,” Ravi Menon, the Monetary Authority of Singapore's managing director told reporters at the release of the bank’s annual report, according to Bloomberg.

    “If this escalates into a trade war, all three engines of global growth - manufacturing, trade, and investment - will stall.”

    Mr Menon added that although the direct impact of tariffs imposed by the US on goods from several countries would be limited for Singapore, overall the conflict would have "dire" consequences for the global economy.

  12. Pubs granted extra hour of trade to celebrate Glasgow 2018

    Artist's visualisation of the George Square cultural festival in Glasgow

    All Glasgow pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels will be able to open for an extra hour during next month's European Championships.

    Glasgow Licensing Board has agreed bars can stay open until 01:00 and clubs until 04:00.

    The city is co-hosting the multi-sports event, from 2-12 August, with Berlin in Germany.

    The championships are due to be the biggest event in Glasgow since the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

  13. Ryanair crew launch charter of demands

    Ryanair Crew Summit in Dublin

    Ryanair staff say that although the budget airline announced it would recognise unions in December 2017, not much has been done in the last six months to improve pay or working conditions.

    As a result, workers have today launched the "Ryanair Crew Charter", which contains demands on economic conditions, safety and rosters, a fair and supportive work culture, agency employment, the right to sick pay and sales targets.

    The charter is a result of the first ever summit for Ryanair crew that was held in Dublin yesterday, organised by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF).

    The unions say that if Ryanair fails to respond promptly and appropriately, industrial action over the summer will be likely.

  14. Retail parks still doing okay

    Strood retail park in Kent

    This morning, former retail chief Bill Grimsey warned that Britain's town centres are if immediate action is not taken.

    While this doesn't sound great, real estate investment trust Ediston says that store closures are just "a symptom" of retail evolution, not decline.

    "Whilst the entire retail sector is facing challenges, at Ediston we believe it is important to differentiate between the three main sub-sectors of the retail market, namely the high street, shopping centres and out of town retail warehouse parks," said Ediston's investment manager Calum Bruce.

    “Retail warehouse parks not only fit the modern needs of shoppers, due to easier access and free parking, but also provide retailers with flexible space which can be adapted to suit their commercial needs. Additionally, out of town retail parks are able to assist retailers with their online strategies and are well-placed to provide services such as click and collect.

    "We continue to see good tenant demand for retail parks which are well-located, have the right planning consents and are let off sensible rental levels. With a number of deals in the pipeline we don’t see this trend changing as the year progresses.”

  15. May's 'third way'?

    Norman Smith

    Assistant political editor

    Norman Smith Downing Street have insisted that Mrs May will not breach her pledge to leave the single market and customs union.

    The Prime Minister is due to unveil a "third way" customs plan on Friday.

    Number Ten insist it will not involve compromising her position on single market or customs union membership.

    Sources have not disputed that the plan will involve a separate "customs arrangement" for goods. However, they say this was made clear in Mrs May's mansion house speech.

    They say the new plan will contain "the best" of both the customs partnership and "max fac" option.

  16. Amazon to publish holiday catalogs

    Toys R Us toy catalog

    Internet retail giant Amazon has decided to take a leaf out of traditional retailers' books - literally.

    Taking inspiration from Toys R Us - the brick and mortar toy retailer that has closed down in the UK, US and Australia - Amazon has decided that this year it will publish holiday catalogs containing gift ideas for children.

    The printed toy product catalogs will be handed out by Amazon-owned Whole Foods shops in the US, as well as being posted to millions of American households, sources told Bloomberg.

  17. London closes lower

    Mining iron ore

    London shares have closed slightly lower, as investor concerns over a potential trade war and losses in mining stocks dragged the indexes down.

    The FTSE 100 ended 20.2 points or 0.3% lower to 7,573.09. Chilean mining group Antofagasta remained top of the losers, falling 2.9% to 942p.

    The FTSE 250 closed flat - just 12.7 points or 0.06% down to 20,652.51, with the losers led by Swiss iron ore producer Ferrexpo, which fell 4.7% to 172.7p after reporting that pellet production was down in Ukraine for the second quarter of the year.

  18. How to hide your Gmails from prying eyes

    Google admitted this week that app developers can sometimes read your Gmail messages if a particular setting is left on. Here's how to turn it off...

    Video content

    Video caption: How to hide your Gmails from prying eyes
  19. How to get away with watching the World Cup at work

    Jonty Bloom

    BBC Business correspondent

    World Cup as seen from a TV camera view finder

    What are your business goals this year? We have all been there. Heads are crouched over computer screens, not a sound comes from the cubicles, no-one has gone to the kitchen for hours.

    The only sound is the gentle taping of keyboards, as the boss sits amazed at the studious efficiency of their staff.

    Then ... dreams are shattered, as with one roar the office erupts into a World Cup goal celebration.

    We can't all go down the pub for every match - the nation would grind to a halt.

    And yet banning any and all mention of the games at work is becoming increasingly difficult.

    So, what exactly should bosses do about their staff watching games?