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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

Good night

BBC testcard
BBC

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.

Hugh Jackman is leading music charts

Hugh Jackman in the Greatest Showman
Niko Tavernise

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.

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

The Apolong buses are not fitted with a steering wheel
Getty Images

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.

Hollywood box office revenue close to breaking records

The Parrs family in Incredibles 2
Walt Disney Pictures

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.

WPP threatens to strip Sorrell of share awards

Sir Martin Sorrell
Getty Images

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".

'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.

WTO boss: Protectionism 'will hit global economy'

China not interested in a trade war with the US

China and US flags
Getty Images

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.

Chevron keen to sell north sea assets

An off-shore oil rig in the North Sea
Chevron

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.

Ryanair's response to charter of demands

Ryanair aeroplane
PA

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.”

BreakingGE executive arrested in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro
Getty Images
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.

Global economy facing 'dire' consequences

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

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.

Pubs granted extra hour of trade to celebrate Glasgow 2018

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

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.

Ryanair crew launch charter of demands

Ryanair Crew Summit in Dublin
ITF

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.

Retail parks still doing okay

Strood retail park in Kent
Completely Retail

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.”

Why people get turned down for mortgages

The BBC's economics editor Kamal Ahmed explains

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.

Amazon to publish holiday catalogs

Toys R Us toy catalog
Toys R Us

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.

London closes lower

Mining iron ore
Getty Images

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.

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...

How to hide your Gmails from prying eyes

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
Reuters

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?

Government hopes business will back Brexit "third way"

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Airbus logo and British Airways plane tail
Getty Images

Business leaders have been told they will get a preview of the government's final position on customs and trading arrangements ahead of the publication of a government white paper next Thursday - but NOT before the whole cabinet thrashes out the final contents of the paper on Friday at the Prime Minister's country retreat, Chequers.

I'm told that many members of the full cabinet have yet to receive any documents to review ahead of Friday's crunch talks. Media reports - that businesses would get a heads up before ministers - were dismissed by senior government sources.

However, the government IS hoping that business will do its bit by responding positively to what the government will claim is a new level of post-summit clarity.

It hopes business will be just as noisy in welcoming it as they were in complaining about its absence in the last two weeks.

Remaining Calvetron Brands concessions to close

Jacques Vert model
Jacques Vert

Administrators for Calvetron Brands have announced that the remaining UK, Irish and Canadian concessions stands for the Jacques Vert and Precis brands are to close.

About 500 people will be made redundant as a result, as well as 90 jobs in the global head office and distribution centre, and 250 jobs in Canada.

Benjamin Wiles of Duffy & Phelps said: “Following our appointment on 4 May 2018, the joint administrators have continued to trade the business, allowing a period of time for us to market the business and assets for sale as a going concern.

"We have explored a number of potential options, however no viable offers for the business as a going concern have been received.

"As such we are now having to close the remaining concessions here in the UK and Ireland as well as Canada and move to trade-out the stock.”

Global economy 'under threat as tariff war bites'

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Goods being moved at a port
Getty Images

Global economic growth is under threat as the world's economic super powers trade tit-for-tat trade sanctions, according to the World Trade Organization.

In its most sober assessment of the growing tariff war between the US, European Union and China, the WTO said the global system of agreed trade rules was at "potentially large risk".

It said world economic growth was "in jeopardy" and pleaded for a "de-escalation".

The threat of a tariff war was sparked after US President Donald Trump ordered tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the EU and China.

Read more here.

London still flat

London Stock Exchange
Getty Images

London shares are still flat, as trade tensions and falls in mining and energy stocks weighed the top share indexes down.

The FTSE 100 is now 17.3 points or 0.2% lower to 7,575.41. Top of the losers is Chilean mining group Antofagasta, which fell 2.4% to 946p.

The FTSE 250 is currently 45.3 points or 0.2% down to 20,619.06, withe the losers led by British metals engineering firm Vesuvius, which dropped 4.8% to 560.3p.

World Cup economic boost could be worth £2.6bn

England fans celebrating last night's win against Colombia in the world cup
PA

The economy could receive a £2.6bn spending boost if England make it to the World Cup final, research suggests.

And every time an England footballer scores a goal, an extra £200m may be spent in the country's shops and pubs.

Work done by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) for VoucherCodes shows extra spending is already almost double what it was at the last World Cup.

The CRR estimates that spending will rise by more than £1bn as England moves on to the quarter finals on Saturday.

CO2 plant hit by power outage

Carbon dioxide canisters
Getty Images

Firms waiting for supplies of CO2 have been dealt a blow after one of the UK's main plants suffered a power outage.

CO2 distributor Air Liquide has warned that its gas situation had "worsened significantly" because of a "sudden and unexpected" loss of power affecting its site at Ince, Chester, on Tuesday.

It came after a key sister plant at Billingham, County Durham, had earlier re-opened.

There have been national CO2 shortages after plants were shut for maintenance.

Sony posts whole movie on YouTube in trailer's place

Khali the Killer stars Richard Cabral, who is better known for his role in the Lethal Weapon TV series
Sony

Thousands of people watched a film posted in its entirety to YouTube by its US distributor before the apparent mistake was tackled.

Sony Pictures Entertainment had labelled the video as being a trailer for the movie Khali the Killer.

But its 90 minute duration acted as a giveaway that the upload contained more than just highlights from the film.

The video was wiped after being online for more than six hours but not before news of its availability had spread.

Good afternoon

Tennis fans picnicking at Wimbledon championships
Getty Images

Thanks Katie and Ben for this morning's live coverage of all things business.

Mary-Ann Russon with you until 21:30 for the rest of the day's news and views.

Fresh from the excitement of England winning against Colombia last night, here are fans in Wimbledon looking forward to the third day of the tennis championships.

Got a point of view? You can also tweet me at @concertina226 and @BBCBusiness.

Car-ing and sharing

Chris Johnston

Business reporter, BBC News

Renault Zoe
Getty Images

Renault plans to launch a 2,000 vehicle ride-hailing and car-sharing scheme covering Paris and its surrounding areas in September.

Its owner, PSA, is seeking to replace Autolib, the electric car sharing service run by French tycoon Vincent Bollore's group that was recently ditched by local authorities after a dispute.

Renault already offers a car sharing service in France called "Renault Mobility" and operates 500 Zoe electric cars in Madrid.

Later this year PSA will introduce a "free floating" car-sharing scheme in Paris, allowing drivers to pick up an electric vehicle at one location and leave it elsewhere.

Supermarkets win card fee court battle

credit cards
Getty Images

We missed this earlier, but three of Britain's biggest supermarket chains have won the latest stage of their legal battle against card operators Mastercard and Visa.

The Court of Appeal confirmed earlier rulings that the card charges - known as interchange fees - infringed EU competition law.

Sainsbury's, Argos, Morrisons and Asda have all argued in previous cases that the charges were too high.

Retailers pay the fees to banks when customers use a debit or credit card.

The charges in question were paid until December 2015, after which time the were capped by the EU.

The judges also overturned a previous ruling, in which Sainsbury's lost a case against Visa.

Read more here

Anglo boosted by bid reports

Anglo American tractor
Getty Images

Anglo American's shares have surged 2.5%, boosted by reports of a possible bid for the mining firm's South African business.

Reports from India suggest that Vedanta Resources owner, Indian metals tycoon Anil Agarwal, is plotting a merger with Anglo's South African business.

The report comes days after Mr Agarwal’s family trust Volcan Investment agreed to buy the the 33.5 per cent of Vedanta Resources he does not already own in a deal worth almost £800m.

Upward pressure continues on oil prices

Oil prices
Getty Images

North Sea Brent Crude is trading above $78 a barrel after adding 28 cents.

Traders were reacting to a report from the American Petroleum Institute, which showed that the amount of crude oil in storage in the US fell the second week in a row.

That was partly because an important oil production facility in Canada is offline.

As the chart above shows, oil prices have been rising since the end of 2016, when Opec producers agreed to curb production.

At a meeting last month, Opec ministers pledged to raise production again. But it's not clear how much difference that will make, as output from Libya and Venezuela has been falling and the US plans to shut all Iranian oil from the market.

Japan's ANA cancels local flights

Japan's Ana airline fleet
AFP

Japanese airline ANA has announced it will cancel 113 domestic flights between 6 July and 12 July to inspect Rolls-Royce's engines for compressor issues that have led to service interruptions for airlines globally.

The affected Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines are used on ANA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets.

The engine fault has grounded planes at British Airways and other airliners including Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand.

Rolls-Royce said earlier this year that parts in its Trent 1000 engines were wearing out faster than expected but that it "had a solution" to the problem.

Do you trust your smartphone?

Can the High Street be revived?

Morrisons turns to chilli cheddar

Chilli cheese
Morisons

As Sainsbury's said this morning, creating bespoke products is one way to help supermarkets stand out in the increasingly tough competition in the sector.

In its first quarter results, Sainsbury's pointed out a special tea it has created with former rugby star Jonny Wilkinson.

Morrisons has turned to cheese to try and do the same.

The supermarket chain reckons its new "Reaper Chilli Cheddar" is one of the world's hottest cheeses.

It claims the chillis used in the cheese are 300 times hotter than Jalapenos.

Customers will have to go to the chain's deli counter to order the cheese - so assistants can warn them about the cheese's potency before they buy it.

Car insurance costs drop

Motorway
PA

If you're a driver then it's welcome news.

The latest figures on car insurance suggest costs are dropping relatively rapidly.

A fully comprehensive policy now costs around £496.80 compared to £562.07 a year ago - a 12% drop, according to price comparison website MoneySupermarket.

It credits the drop in price to a number of factors including a reduction in the number of accidents thanks to improved safety features such as autonomous emergency braking and cruise control.

Ryanair links with Montpellier investigated

Ryanair planes
Getty Images

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into whether Ryanair received illegal state-aid in return for promoting Montpellier and the surrounding area on its website.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Competition in air transport is of fundamental importance for consumers, growth and jobs. We will investigate whether regional and local authorities in France granted an undue economic advantage to Ryanair over its competitors, potentially harming other European airlines and having spill-over effects to other European regions ."

ITV nets 24.4 million viewers for England game

England players celebrate after Eric Dier of England scores the winning penalty during the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Getty Images

ITV shares are up 0.6%.

It will be interesting to see how much its ad sales have been boosted by the World Cup, when it releases interim results on 25 July.

ITV says the match had a one minute peak of 24.4 million viewers when Eric Dier scored against Colombia in a penalty shoot out.

That makes it the most watched five minutes of TV since the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony. An average of 20.1 million watched the match from kick off to the winning penalty.