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Summary

  1. US trade deficit at highest level in more than six years
  2. Australia cuts interest rates to a record low
  3. HSBC to make HQ decision 'in months'
  4. UBS reports surge in first quarter profit

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Over and out...

That's all we have time for today at Business Live - thanks for reading. We are back at 0600 Wednesday - do join us then.

Wall Street update

As trading nears an end for the day in New York, the

Dow Jones is down 0.8% at 18,070 points, while the
S&P 500 is 1.2% lower at 2,089 points.
Salesforce.com jumped 5.9% on bid rumours.
Nasdaq is down 1.5% at 4,939 points.

News Corp results

News Corp, the publisher of newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and The Times, reported a slight fall in quarterly revenue to $2.06bn, hurt by the stronger dollar and dwindling advertising sales at its titles. However, net profit more than halved to $23m for the third quarter to 31 March, compared with the same period last year.

All aboard for Havana

JetBlue
Getty Images

JetBlue will begin a weekly charter flight from New York to Havana on 3 July, the airline said on Tuesday. It is the first to announce a new flight to Cuba from New York since travel restrictions for Americans were eased recently. The service follows a recent trade mission to Cuba led by New York governor Andrew Cuomo.

French Army goes Ford

Ford Ranger
Ford

Sacre bleu! French soldiers will soon be traversing the length and breadth of France in - wait for it - Ford pickup trucks.

The New York Times reports that the army is buying 1,000 Ford Rangers to start replacing its Peugeot P4 jeeps that first went into service in 1983 and are becoming obsolete. While vehicles made by Citroën and Renault were considered, the Ford model was chosen as it is larger and can carry five people as well as a tonne of cargo.

Gulf of Mexico deaths

At least two Pemex workers died on Tuesday as an oil maintenance platform tilted off Mexico's east coast, forcing the evacuation of 101 employees. The rig, owned by a contractor called Typhoon, is continuing to tilt in the Sound of Campeche area of the Gulf of Mexico, Pemex said. No details of how the workers died have been released.

Oil prices jump

oil well
Getty Images

Oil prices continued to climb on Tuesday following disruption of exports from Libya and higher prices for Saudi crude. US crude settled up $1.47 at $60.40 a barrel, after earlier hitting a high for 2015 of $61.10. Brent crude rose $1.10 to $67.55 in New York, after earlier hitting $68.40 - its highest for the year so far. Oil prices have risen by half in just over three months, after falling as low as $40 late last year.

Euronext boss

Euronext has appointed chief operating officer Jos Dijsselhof as its interim chief executive. The former Royal Bank of Scotland and ABN Amro executive became chief operating officer of Euronext before its IPO in June 2014. Mr Dijsselhof will take over from Dominique Cerutti, who is joining consulting firm Altran Technologies as chairman and chief executive. Amsterdam-based Euronext operates stock exchanges and fixed-income and derivatives markets in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Lisbon.

Europe digital strategy

Google
Getty Images

The European Union will announce a wide-ranging investigation on Wednesday into how big technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook use their market power as it considers whether to regulate them more tightly. The inquiry follows calls from France and Germany for regulation of so-called "essential digital platforms", encompassing everything from e-commerce sites such as eBay to social media companies. European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip's "digital single market strategy" aims to update copyright rules, remove barriers to cross-border parcel deliveries and ensure that European online businesses can compete with their bigger US counterparts.

Via Twitter

Periscope

Periscope
Periscope

Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent, tweets: The rows over

#periscope and piracy of live events/TV progs reminds me of the early days of YouTube - no doubt Twitter will be forced to act
@ruskin147

Economic consequences of general election

World Service

Roger Bootle from Capital Economics tells World Business Report the idea that there will be economic chaos after the general election is unlikely as long as "there isn't a very left leaning government" which he suggests would put the pound under some pressure. But he points out that Belgium managed perfectly well without a government for the better part of a year. "I have been amazed at how sanguine the markets have been about the general election," he adds. Mr Bootle says most observers would say the economy wasn't rocked by coalition government five years ago. Essentially, he says, markets understand that we have done this before and there is no reason why we can't do this again.

Greece needs honest agreement with Europe

World Service

A fresh forecast shows a much brighter outlook for Europe. The European Commission has published its spring report on the eurozone economy. It suggests the eurozone will expand by 1.5% this year - 0.2 percentage points higher than previous estimates. But things in Greece are more problematic with growth of just 0.5% expected this year. Constantine Michalos, a businessman from Athens, told World Business Report that the new Greek government has made a number of promises to the Greek people and the hope is that it will be able to deliver on them. However, much hinges on Greece being able to reach an "honest agreement" with its European partners.

EU to investigate McDonalds tax affairs

The logo for fast giant McDonalds
AFP/Getty Images

The European Commission is examining trade union allegations that McDonald's avoided paying more than €1bn (£737m) in corporation tax between 2009 and 2013. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said earlier that her office is "looking into the information gained by trade unions when it comes to McDonald's in order to assess if there is a case." A coalition of European and US unions claims McDonald's reduced its tax burden by moving its British headquarters to Switzerland and channelling money into a Luxembourg-based subsidiary with a Swiss branch.

No-one sets oil price

An Iraqi oil worker at The Rumaila oil field in Basra,
European Photopress Agency

Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said he was "not worried at all" about the prospect of Iranian crude coming back onto the market if sanctions on Iran are lifted as part of an international nuclear deal

in an interview with CNBC earlier today. He also blamed a higher authority for recovering oil prices. saying "No one can set the price of oil — it's up to Allah.". It comes as Brent crude hit a year high of $68 per barrel earlier - a 2.4% increase on the previous day. Brent crude has been rising steadily in the last couple of weeks as a result unrest in Yemen and rising concerns over supply.

Linda Yueh

Linda Yueh
BBC

It's the last day with the BBC for chief business correspondent Linda Yueh, who is returning to the UK from Singapore. Her final blog focuses on the future of business news, which she sums up in two words: global and digital. Read more from Linda

here.

Skype trademark ruling

Skype
Getty Images

An

EU court has ruled that Skype's name is too similar to that of satellite TV company Sky for a trademark to be granted for the video chat software. Microsoft, which owns Skype, says it will appeal against the decision.

Airbus order

Airbus A320neo
Getty Images

A good day for Airbus: Colombian airline Avianca has confirmed an order for 100 A320neo aircraft. The order is the largest by a Latin American airline and worth about $10bn at catalogue prices. The new short-haul planes will operate from Avianca's hubs in Bogota, Lima and San Salvador.

HP/Autonomy lawsuit

HP logo
Getty Images

Want to know more detail about Hewlett-Packard's lawsuit against Mike Lynch?

Click here to read our full story.

FTSE close

BA
Getty Images

The

FTSE 100 has ended the first day of trading for the week down 58.37 points, or 0.8%, to 6,927.58 points.
IAG, the British Airways owner, was the biggest faller, down 3.7% to 537p, while
Coca-Cola HBC was the biggest riser, up 3% to £14.17.

Mike Lynch vs Hewlett-Packard

Mike Lynch
Getty Images

Mike Lynch, who founded Autonomy and sold it to Hewlett-Packard in 2011 for $11.7bn, said the US company had failed to produce a "smoking gun" to back its claim that was behind a complex fraud to inflate the value of Autonomy. HP is suing Mr Lynch and the former Autonomy finance director Sushovan Hussain for about $5bn in damages. Lynch said the contents of HP's claim were "a simple rehash of previous leaks and insinuations that add up to one long disagreement over accounting treatment". "HP's claim is finally laid bare for what it is -- a desperate search for a scapegoat for its own errors and incompetence."

Greece vs EU and IMF

Sounds like Greece is ramping up the rhetoric against its lenders once more. A government official said on Tuesday that "serious disagreements" between the European Union and the International Monetary Fund are preventing Greece from reaching a deal with the two bodies. That has resulted in "red lines everywhere", the official said: "Against this background there cannot be a compromise. The responsibility belongs exclusively to the institutions and their weakness in coordinating."

Tesco board changes

Tesco
Getty Images

Even more change on the board of Tesco in the wake of last year's overstatement of profits. Another two directors - Ken Hanna and Stuart Chambers - will both step down after the annual meeting on 26 June, having served for six and five years respectively. Mr Hanna - chairman of Inchcape and Aggreko - will be succeeded as chairman of the audit committee by Byron Grote, the former BP executive who joined as a non-exec on 1 May. Mr Chambers is chairman of ARM Holdings.

Volkswagen chairman

VW
Getty Images

Volkswagen's supervisory board is in no rush to replace Ferdinand Piech, who quit as chairman last month following a public showdown with chief executive Martin Winterkorn, acting board chief Berthold Huber said on Tuesday. As you might expect from a German company, Huber told the annual meeting that the board would address the succession "with the necessary diligence and calm".

Lund on Shell deal

Helge Lund
Getty Images

Helge Lund, chief executive of BG Group, said at the company's annual meeting on Tuesday that he welcomed Shell's $70bn takeover bid with "mixed emotions". The former head of Norway's Statoil took the BG job just two months before the Shell bid was announced on 7 April. "This is a strong deal for our shareholders," he said. "That said, you will understand that, from a leadership perspective, I do have slightly mixed emotions as I was looking forward to taking BG forward and a takeover was certainly not in my mind when I joined the company."

Via Twitter

More Disney magic

Avengers
Getty Images

Matthew Garrahan, FT global media editor, tweets: Bob Iger reveals that top three movie openings of all time are Disney flicks: Avengers 1 +2 and Iron Man 3. And Star Wars is on the way

$DIS
@MattGarrahan

Wall Street update

As trading gets underway in New York, the

Dow Jones is flat at 18,066, and it's a similar story for the
S&P 500 which stands at 2,113. The
Nasdaq, meanwhile, has slipped 0.4% to 4,998.

Via Twitter

Star Wars toys

Star Wars toys
Getty Images

Matthew Garrahan, Financial Times global media editor, tweets: Disney planning special September "event" to launch new Star Wars toys. Probably a good day to take the kids for a long walk in the country.

@MattGarrahan

Kellogg sales slide

Corn Flakes
Getty Images

Net sales at Kellogg, the world's biggest maker of breakfast cereals, have fallen by 5% to $3.56bn. Sales at the company's US morning foods business, which includes cereal, dropped by almost 3% to $776m. That slide helped push quarterly net profit for the maker of Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies down by nearly half to $227m.

German rail strike

rail strike
Getty Images

Misery for millions of commuters in Germany on Tuesday after a strike by train drivers disrupted rail services. The industrial action by the GDL union began with freight services on Monday and is set to last as long as a week. Economists predict that the strike could cost up to €750m and cut second-quarter economic growth by 0.1 percentage points. The union wants a 5% pay rise and a two-hour reduction in the working week to 37 hours for rail workers.

Good afternoon

Thanks indeed to Tom and Ben for this morning's coverage. Chris Johnston here until 2130 GMT to keep you up to date with the rest of the day's business news and views from the UK and beyond. Get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or on Twitter:

@bbcbusiness

US imports surge

Striking workers at Port of Los Angeles
Reuters

The US trade deficit in March was the biggest in more than six years, rising 43% to $51.4bn. Imports jumped 7.7% in March - the largest increase on record. That surge followed a labour dispute at major West Coast ports, which had held up imports in previous months.

Greene King sales up

The George pub, Southwark, London
Greene King

Shares in Greene King are up 0.74% after the brewer and pub owner

released a trading update. For the 51 weeks to 26 April total sales growth was up 6.3%. At its pubs and restaurants like-for-like sales were up 0.4%, but would have been 0.8% higher had it not been for new drink-driving regulations in Scotland, Greene King says.

Strong results from Disney

Disney characters of animation movie, Frozen at Tokyo Disneyland
Getty Images

Disney has reported its latest quarterly results. Revenue for the three months to the end of March was $12.5bn, up 7% on the same quarter last year. Net income was $2.11bn, up 10% on last year. Disney's parks and resorts registered a 6% increase in revenue to $3.8bn. Consumer products revenue rose 10% to $971m, thanks partly to merchandise related to the movie Frozen. However, income at its cable networks was down 9% because of the rising costs of sports rights for ESPN.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

The

FTSE 100 is trading higher and still above the 7,000 level, despite losing some ground during the morning here in London.
Coca-Cola HBC, Europe's biggest bottler and seller of Coca-Cola products, is leading the FTSE 100 higher with a gain of 3.4%.
HSBC is one of the biggest losers, down 1.9% after its first quarter results.

Chips are up in Germany

Infineon computer chip
Infineon

Shares in German computer chip firm

Infineon Technologies are up 2.4% in Frankfurt. That's after it
raised its full-year sales target for the second time this year. The company has been helped by the weaker euro and the purchase of US rival, International Rectifier. Infineon expects a 36% jump in group revenue for the year to September.

EU considers McDonald's probe

McDonald's Paris
Reuters

The EU is considering an investigation into McDonald's' tax arrangements. "We are looking [at] if we should open a case on McDonald's" based on information supplied by unions, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. The EU is already looking into the tax arrangements of Apple, Starbucks, Amazon and Fiat.

HSBC shares fall

HSBC shares
BBC

HSBC shares are down more than 2% after the firm reported its first quarter profits.
It reported pre-tax profits of $7.1bn up 4% on last year.

Greek debt

European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici adjusts his glasses
Reuters

Ways to reduce Greece's debt can only be discussed after Athens agrees on a reform programme with its creditors, EU economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici says. "As to the debt... this issue can only be discussed after we have agreed a reform programme which I hope will be consistent, detailed, complete and which will make it possible for the Greek economy to recover... we hope that Greece is committed to that."

Via Blog

Grexit and the UK

Robert Peston

Economics editor

For all the hour-by-hour reports that talks between Greece and its eurozone creditors are going better (as is said to be the case today) or worse, the working assumption in the UK government (in its dying days) is that Greece will leave the euro."

Read

Robert's full blog post.

Disney profits

Jez Frampton
BBC

Walt Disney releases its second quarter numbers later today. Jez Frampton, global chief executive of Interbrand, says Disney is very good at tying in merchandising around movies. "You have to have a great story at the heart of it, which is really the success of Frozen, but then the way that they bring that into merchandising, into their stores, and of course into their parks as well, and how they cross-fertilise all that, is really part of the story of the Disney success."