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Live Reporting

By Dan Ascher

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    Business Live is shutting up shop for another day.

    Many thanks for being with us.

    We'll be back on Friday from 06:00 with all the latest business news and views.

  2. Neil Woodford sells shares worth £97m

    Neil Woodford

    Neil Woodford has sold shares worth £97m over the past 10 days as he tries to raise cash to pay back investors who want to take money out of his frozen Woodford Equity Income Fund.

    A spokesman for the fund told Reuters: "Since suspension, Woodford has sold $97.1m of stock as he continues to reposition the Woodford Equity Income Fund portfolio."

    Investors were unable to put money in or take money out of the £3.7bn fund after it was suspended on 3 June.

  3. German court rules mass-killing of male chicks legal

    Every year, billions of male chicks are killed shortly after they are hatched
    Image caption: Every year, billions of male chicks are killed shortly after they are hatched

    A top German court has ruled that it is still lawful for poultry and egg producers to kill unwanted male chicks.

    The ruling, by Germany's Federal Administrative Court on Thursday, backs companies on a temporary basis until an alternative can be found.

    Mass-culling of boy chicks is common practice in industrialised farming around the world.

    After being sexed, billions of the baby birds are killed shortly after birth - usually by grinding or gassing.

    Read more here.

  4. US stocks close higher on interest rate hopes

    Traders

    An increase in oil prices and renewed investor optimism over an interest rate cut pushed US share prices higher today.

    Oil prices were up by as much as 4.5% in early trading after a suspected attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman led to concerns over supply.

    Brent crude futures finished the day up 2.27% at 61.33 a barrel.

    Meanwhile, investors saw an unexpected increase in the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits as a sign that the Federal Reserve may consider cutting the interest rate.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading up 102 points or 0.39% at 26,106.77 when the closing bell rang in New York.

    The S&P 500 was at 2,884.19, a rise of 4 points or 0.15%.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq was at 7,837.13, that's 44 points or 0.57% lower.

  5. KFC to trial vegan 'Imposter Burger'

    KFC sign

    KFC has revealed plans to test the market for a vegan version of its classic chicken burger.

    "The Imposter Burger" will be made with a Quorn fillet rather than chicken breast. It is set to be tested in restaurants in London, Bristol and the Midlands before the firm decides whether to roll it out nationally.

    KFC will be hoping to replicate the success of bakery chain Greggs, which attracted significant attention on social media with its vegan sausage roll.

  6. Chancellor warns PM candidates to keep debt down

    Philip Hammond

    The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has written to Tory leadership hopefuls asking them to make a pledge to continue to reduce the national debt.

    Mr Hammond said the Conservatives had a "hard-won" reputation for fiscal and economic competence, and that it was "vital" it was not thrown away.

    "I therefore ask you, as a candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party, to pledge that if you are the next prime minister your government will, at a minimum, have a clear commitment to keeping our national debt falling every year, and to maintain the current limit of the deficit at 2% of GDP at least through 2021-22," the letter said.

  7. Oil prices up 2%

    Oil pumps

    A 4.5% surge in oil prices earlier has eased slightly with the price of Brent crude futures currently up around 2%.

    The spike in prices was driven by concerns over supply after a suspected attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman near Iran.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Iran of attacking the tankers in a bid to disrupt the flow of oil throughthe strategic Strait of Hormuz - a vital shipping lane through which hundreds of millions of dollars of oil pass.

    Brent crude futures are up $1.18 at $61.15 a barrel.

  8. October no-deal Brexit tricky for Tesco

    Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis

    Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, has said a no-deal Brexit on 31 October would prove a challenge for the firm, which will be gearing up for the busy Christmas shopping season.

    Ahead of 29 March - when the UK was initially expected to leave the EU - Tesco spent £200m on stockpiles of long-life food to help it cope with any disruptions to supply as a result of Brexit.

    But the supermarket chain sold that stock after that departure date was delayed.

    "For us to be able to do what we did in March in October will be more difficult because we won't have the space in our logistics system to be able to cope because we'll be preparing for Christmas and the seasonal peaks that are there," Mr Lewis said at Tesco's annual shareholders' meeting.

  9. Amazon sued over Alexa child recordings in US

    Amazon's Dave Limp holding a smart speaker

    Amazon is being sued over its smart assistant's recordings of children.

    Two US cases allege the firm lacks consent to create voiceprints that could let it keep track of a youngster's use of Alexa-enabled devices and thus build up a "vast level of detail about the child's life".

    Amazon has said it only stores data once a device-owner has given it permission to do so.

    And it says parents can delete a child's profile and recordings.

    Read more here.

  10. Vodafone suffers faults across Europe

    Vodafone store

    Vodafone says it is working to tackle "disruption" to its mobile and fixed-line broadband services.

    It has experienced a fault with an international link used to transmit data between countries but is rerouting traffic to address the issue.

    Reports on the DownDetector website indicate that subscribers in the UK, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Germany are among those affected.

    The problem appears to have begun after 14:00BST.

    Read more here.

  11. FTSE 100 closes flat

    Trader

    Shares on the FTSE 100 barely moved today, closing flat at 7,369.

    Meanwhile, the FTSE 250, which is often considered to be more representative of the UK economy, had its worst day in more than a week.

    The index sank 78 points to close at 19,172 as Boris Johnson emerged as clear favourite to succeed Theresa May.

    Mr Johnson has refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

  12. Power station closure 'a real blow'

    Coal-fired power plant

    Prospect Union, which represents workers at Fiddler's Ferry power station, has said today's decision to close the plant is "a real blow" for staff.

    The power station, near Warrington in Cheshire, is the last coal-fired plant owned by energy firm SSE.

    “Prospect understands the necessity of transitioning away from high carbon generation, however we believe that it is essential that workers are supported during this transition, and we will be working on behalf of those affected through this difficult period," the union's representative, Sue Ferns, said.

  13. Publicly-owned Prestwick Airport put up for sale

    Airport

    Prestwick Airport is being put up for sale by the Scottish government.

    The airport was taken into public ownership six years ago after it was threatened with closure following heavy losses.

    Transport Scotland said an advert would be placed in the Official Journal of the European Union, inviting expressions of interest.

    Read more here.

  14. Ford and VW close to a deal on self-driving cars

    Autonomous car

    Ford and Volkswagen are close to reaching an agreement to cooperate on the development of autonomous cars.

    In March, the two firms signed a deal to build a pickup truck together and, now, it looks like they may also partner to design self-driving cars.

    VW's chief executive, Herbert Diess, said talks between the two motor giants are "going well and are nearly complete".

    Ford was a little more cautious. It said talks were ongoing, adding that it would share more details once the details are agreed.

    "Discussions have been productive across a number of areas," a spokeswoman said.

  15. Nicky Morgan: RBS report offers 'no solace'

    RBS cash point

    More reaction to the Financial Conduct Authority's report on RBS's controversial Global Restructuring Group, now.

    The chair of the Treasury Committee, Nicky Morgan, said: “This long overdue report will offer no solace to those who suffered from the disgraceful actions of RBS’ GRG."

    She repeated calls for the FCA to be given the powers to regulate commercial lending to "adequately protect" small- and medium-sized businesses.

    "Otherwise, scandalous events such as those at GRG could re-occur," she warned.

    The MP said the government should also reconsider a decision to reject the Treasury Committee's proposal to introduce a Financial Services Tribunal for SMEs to settle disputes with their bank.