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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 falls below 6,000 points
  2. Pound falls on Brexit uncertainty
  3. UK inflation remains at 0.3% in May
  4. Yield on German 10-year bonds turn negative for the first time

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That is all from us at the business live page once again, see you early on Wednesday morning. 

US stocks retreat for fourth day

US shares fell for a fourth session in a row on Tuesday, ahead of the next meeting of the Federal Reserve. 

The prospect of a rate hike is seen as slim. However traders will closely analyse the Fed chair Janet Yellen's speech on Wednesday for indicators about the health of the economy and any clues as to future rate increases.

Investors are also increasingly keeping an eye on the UK, and the upcoming vote on whether to leave the European Union.

At close of trade in New York, the Dow Jones was down by 0.33% at 17674.82, the Nasdaq by 0.10% at 4835.55, and the S&P 500 by 0.18% at 2075.32.

The office that has shown email the rubbish bin

A company has banned email and seen productivity boom
A company boss has banned internal email in the workplace, saying productivity has boomed since it was stopped.

Lee Mallon and his team at the Rarely Impossible company  tell Paddy O' Connell how they are managing without that email sign constantly interrupting their work.


(Photo:  Two email signs - one open one shut                       Credit: iStock)

Thameslink woes hit Go-Ahead shares

Thameslink train
PA

Shares in transport group Go-Ahead have plunged today after it warned of lower-than-expected profit margins for its Govia Thameslink rail franchise.

It said its GTR franchise - the UK's biggest rail franchise - was operating in "a very challenging operational and industrial relations environment".

The GTR franchise operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services.

Go-Ahead shares closed 18%, or 438p, lower at £19.95.

'Unrealistic' advertising models or not?

A Protein World advert attracted hundreds of complaints

As the live page reported yesterday the new mayor of London Sadiq Khan will, from next month, ban ads on the Transport for London bus, tube and train network which promote an "unrealistic" body image. But what exactly is meant by "unrealistic"? Susannah Streeter speaks to public relations professional Sarah Hall, and asks how easy it will be to decide which models were looking too unrealistic.

Wall Street down ahead of Fed meet

Dow Jones
BBC

US markets were down ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting, with the prospect of a rate hike seen as slim.

However traders will closely analyse the Fed's chair Janet Yellen's speech on Wednesday for indicators about the health of the economy and any clues as to future rate increases.

In afternoon trade in New York, the Dow Jones was down by 0.64%, the Nasdaq by 0.50%, and the S&P 500 by 0.58%.

Who you gonna call?

Times telecoms editor Nic Fildes tweets:

View more on twitter

Virgin Active sells 35 gyms to Nuffield Health

Nuffield Health Canary Wharf club
Nuffield Health

Virgin Active is selling 35 UK gyms to healthcare group Nuffield Health. The deal, which is for an undisclosed price, will take the not-for-profit group up to 112 gyms.

Steve Gray, chief executive of Nuffield Health, said the acquisition was "a great move forward" and would help it to offer broader health and wellbeing services. The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

The stench of Brexit...

FTSE 100 screen
BBC

Mark Dampier, research director at Hargreaves Lansdown, comments on today's market turmoil:

The stench of Brexit is stalking the streets of the City. The market is now at levels last seen in February when the vote was announced. Back then the FTSE 100 bottomed at 5,536.97 points. Given the opinion polls, the dramatic change seen in the betting odds and low sentiment in general towards world stock markets, it seems quite possible we could see further falls as an increasing probability of Brexit is being priced in. While markets await the result of voting on 23 June, this fall could well represent a great long-term buying opportunity."

Will market turmoil help or hinder Brexit?

IHS economist Howard Archer tweets:

View more on twitter

Job worries around Scottish oil industry

Oil rig
Thinkstock

More from BBC 5live Business Reporter Colletta Smith, who's in Aberdeen speaking to local people about the impact of the drop in oil price in the last couple of years and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

Neil Wylie was made redundant from his job as a machinist in the oil industry in October and is now working part-time as a receptionist. 

He said he has a young family and that it was a big shock. "It's not just a local crisis, it's national, but it's not getting the time and attention it needs.  I looked into retraining to something which is needed but you can't get the money to retrain"

Brian Mercer is from Theon, an oil and gas consultancy, and he said they've had to reduce their permanent staff by 40%

"Look at the oil and gas industry in London, which is also significant, but it's also dramatically scaled back.  But the impact around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is more because this is the biggest industry in the area."

Jury considers Stairway to Heaven suit

Rock band Led Zeppelin in 1973
Getty Images

A jury in Los Angeles will today begin considering whether one of the most familiar songs in the history of rock music was the result of plagiarism.

Members of seminal UK band, Led Zeppelin, have denied that Stairway to Heaven was copied from a song by the group Spirit.

The case was brought by trustees for Spirit guitarist, Randy Wolfe, who died nearly twenty years ago.

It's thought that if the court finds against Led Zeppelin, any damages could run to tens of millions of dollars.

FTSE falls again on Brexit worries

Fourth straight day of losses

FTSE close
BBC

After a brutal day the FTSE 100 has closed down by 2%, closing below the 6,000 mark at 5,923.53.

It came after polls showed the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union had widened its lead before next week's vote. 

The London benchmark index shed 121 points, with miners Anglo American, Antofagasta, and BHP Billiton among the major fallers. Sky was also one of the biggest losers.

Builders were under pressure too, with Berkeley Group and Barratt Developments also tumbling.

Earlier in the day City of London Markets trader Markus Huber had warned: "Markets will continue to price in a worst-case scenario meaning further declines are likely in the days ahead except if there would be a substantial shift in public opinion or some kind of verbal intervention from politicians or central bankers to bring back calm into the markets."

TTIP and EU referendum: Jones v Reeves

Digby Jones and Rachel Reeves talk Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Rachel Reeves, who wants the UK to Remain in the EU, said the referendum campaign has been "tough", and Labour need to make a "compelling case" over wages, as she admitted "many" party supporters would vote to leave the EU.

She debated with Digby Jones, who backs a Brexit, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was out campaigning to keep the UK in the European Union.

They also spoke about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between Europe and the USA, amid claims it could threaten the NHS.

Sir Philip Green to attend Commons hearing on BHS

Sir Philip Green
Tim Whitby, Getty Images

After threatening not to appear before the House of Commons joint committee of MPs looking into the collapse of BHS, its former owner Sir Philip Green has said he will now attend on Wednesday. 

The retail tycoon had claimed that committee chair Frank Field was "biased" and had been conducting a "trail by media".

In a statement Sir Philip now says: "I did not think or believe that those conducting a Parliamentary process would or should express concluded views in such a public way before I have had the chance to appear before the committee.

“Having given long and hard thought to the matter however,  I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.

“This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way.”

Your questions answered about living abroad

Reality Check

EHIC, British passport and euros
Thinkstock

Lots of you have got in touch with the BBC about what a possible exit from the EU might mean for travel and living abroad. We've answered some of your questions below. 

Read the full Reality Check here.

How McDonald's kept Ken Loach off the bread line

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Ken Loach
Getty Images

Ken Loach, the leftwing film director who recently won the top prize - the Palme D'Or - at the Cannes film festival for the second time for I, Daniel Blake, has revealed a secret.

He once directed a TV commercial for McDonald's in 1990, when work was thin on the ground. “It sits really badly on my conscience,” Loach says in a new documentary, the Guardian reports.

Asked at the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Monday whether taking the fast food chain's shilling was more embarrassing than having voted Tory as a student, the director replied: “Oh, the McDonald’s advert by far.”   

Oil price boom or gloom for Aberdeen?

Oil rig
AFP

With oil industry leaders meeting in Aberdeen, in the north-east of Scotland, for their annual conference today, BBC 5live's Colletta Smith is spending the day in the city looking at the impact the low oil price has had on local people.

House prices have dropped around 5% in the last year and Bill Barclay,  a partner at solicitors and estate agents Raeburn, Christie, Clark & Wallace says changes in the oil industry are part of the reason,

"Over the last six to nine months we have seen a lot of properties come on to the market from where people working in the oil industry are relocating back to America or down south," he says. 

However, Aberdeen hasn't had it bad over the past decades, with house prices increases at times matching those in other boom areas such as the south-east of England.  In fact one couple told the BBC their house had grown in value from £50k to £800k over the past 40 years.

And Keith Allen, managing partner at the same property company, remains buoyant.

"We've been very lucky up here the last 35 years," he says.  "I am the eternal optimist and the market will come back and the oil industry will recover in Aberdeen."

Dr Tony Xia completes Aston Villa takeover

Villa Park
Getty Images

Euro 2016 has been hogging the football spotlight, but the long-running negotiations to sell historic English club Aston Villa have also now been completed.

Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia has completed his £76m takeover of the Championship club, seen as something of an under-achieving sleeping giant.

The 39-year-old has passed the Premier League and Football League's fit and proper person tests and will become chairman of the West Midlands side.

He succeeds American Randy Lerner, who bought Villa for £62.6m in 2006.

Villa were relegated from the Premier League for the first time last season, finishing bottom, and have since named Roberto di Matteo as manager.

John Lewis chairman in Brexit warning

John Lewis chairman says the possibility of a leave vote is denting consumer confidence

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis, tells BBC Radio 4's World At One that if the UK votes to leave the European Union on 23 June "it would have an adverse impact on consumer confidence and activity".

He adds: "It's very, very hard to say how long that would last, but we estimate it could be for a period of maybe five years.  

"For example you have things like a weaker currency.  It will probably mean that prices rise.  If there is less investment - which seems possible - then that could have an impact on jobs."

But he insists John Lewis is "not taking sides in the debate" and that "it is up to people to decide".

Uber boss steers cleer of Twitter trolls

Twitter logo
AP

The UK, Republic of Ireland and Nordic general manager of ride-hire app Uber says she has taken action to steer clear of Twitter trolls. 

Jo Bartram was speaking at the fifth annual Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit, in London.

The former McKinsey and Accenture management consultant said that instead she now gets a colleague to look at her Twitter account.

Amazon faces fine 'for shipping corrosive drain cleaner'

Amazon packaging
Getty Images

Online retailer Amazon is facing a $350,000 (£247,000) fine for allegedly shipping hazardous chemicals that injured delivery workers.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed the fine, accusing the firm of breaching rules by sending a corrosive drain cleaner by air.

Nine UPS employees complained of burns after handling the package after the substance leaked, the authority said.

Amazon said it would work with the FAA to improve its processes.

US retail sales rise 0.5% in May

American shoppers bought more than expected in May, suggesting economic growth was gaining momentum. US retail sales grew 0.5% on the previous month and 2.5% on the year before.

It was the second straight month of gains after a strong showing in April, the US Commerce Department figures showed.  

Man walks past H&M store in Chicago
Getty Images

The wrong type of profit warning...

Back to the stock markets, and Times business reporter Dominic Walsh tweets:

View more on twitter

Go-Ahead warned profit margins on the Great Northern and Thameslink train contract would be only half what it had expected. Shares are down almost 17%.

House price growth 'outstrips wages'

Average earnings and house prices
Resolution Foundation

The Resolution Foundation has been looking at how much house price growth has accelerated ahead of earnings growth.

The average house price has increased 24% since 2011, while weekly earnings have risen 9% over the same period, the charity said.

The latest House Price Index - released earlier - also shows there is little sign of a slowdown in the property market despite the EU referendum and fears over a housing bubble, it adds. 

Sky hit by rising competition

Sky logo
Getty Images

Sky shares are down 3.4% today and almost 10% over the last three sessions.

So what's going on?

Analysts at Panmure Gordon say part of the reason is rising competition.

They point out that today Virgin Media announced a deal with the Home Builders Federation, to make it easier for builders to supply very fast broadband connections.

BT has also been pushing into TV and in particular has been offering sports packages, which have been Sky's main attraction for years. At the end of last week, Sky paid 80% more for German football rights to see off rival broadcasters.

Sky shares are down more than 20% this year.

FTSE 'bloodbath'

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, comments on the sea of red that is the FTSE 100 today:    

Brexit fears truly took hold this Tuesday, a bloodbath of a start from the European indices causing a bevy of fresh lows. Plunging nearly 1.5% the FTSE continued its dire run this morning, falling below 6,000 for the first time since the end of February. That means the UK index has lost nearly 400 points in the space of a week, reflecting the stranglehold the EU referendum has started to have on the markets in the last few trading sessions. The pre-referendum jitters were in no way isolated to the UK: the DAX fell another 1%, taking its weekly losses to around 700 points, while the CAC collapsed by 1.6% - the worst performance of the morning."

In search of the perfect office

In the first of five features, Paddy O Connell goes in search of the perfect place to work
Over half of employees in the UK work in an office and a recent Ipsos MORI poll found that a tenth of British workers said theirs was "ugly" and a third said it was "impersonal".  

Paddy O'Connell is in search of the perfect office, and his first stop is at The Long Barn in Bedfordshire.
He took Helen Berresford, who judges offices for the British Council of Offices, to meet the architect Nicholas Tye,  who has built his glass and wooden office in the middle of a field.  

(Photo: The Long Barn, Bedfordshire                Credit: Nicholas Tye Architects)

FTSE 100 down: Sky and builders among biggest losers

A short while ago the FTSE 100 was down 1.3%, not far above the lows for the session.

Sky is one of the biggest losers among FTSE 100 firms, with a 3.3% fall.

Builders are also under pressure, with Berkeley Group down 3.5% and Barratt Developments down 3%.

"Markets will continue to price in a worst-case scenario meaning further declines are likely in the days ahead except if there would be a substantial shift in public opinion or some kind of verbal intervention from politicians or central bankers to bring back calm into the markets," City of London Markets trader, Markus Huber, said.

Stressed? You could be a tech addict

BBC Online reporter, Matthew Wall tweets:

View more on twitter

Is your car giving away your secrets?

Car in a German field
Getty Images

ADAC, the German automobile association is not happy about the data being shared by modern cars.

It looked at two connected cars to see what information was being broadcast.

It follows a similar study by the group in 2015.

The results of the newly tested vehicles show that what automobile manufacturers are tracking seems to be consistently invasive across brands. Consumer choice is non-existent today, with the auto manufacturers as the default and only option with whom to share vehicle data. Consumers deserve better.”

Jacob BangsgaardFIA Region I Director General

First Group shares up 8%

First Great Western train
First Group

Beating the market jitters is First Group, one of the UK's biggest train and bus operators, which has seen its shares rise 8% on better-than-expected profits.

The operator of Great Western Railway and TransPennine Express said pre-tax profit grew 3% last year to £168.3m, about £5 million above analysts' expectations. 

It's the biggest winner on the FTSE 250, and is having its best day of trading since 2009, according to Reuters.

FTSE 100 drops below 6,000 points

Europe's stock markets continue to be wobbly. The FTSE 100 slid further after weaker inflation figures than economists had expected. The blue chip index is now down 1.3%, or 80 points, on the day to 5964.11; the first time since February that it has gone below 6,000 points.

The Paris Cac has fallen 1.4% and Germany's Dax is down 1.3%.    

It follows falls earlier in Asia where Tokyo's Nikkei closed with a 1% drop and Hong Kong's Hang Seng had a 0.6% decline.

'UK inflation to rise regardless of Brexit vote'

Here's the view of Paul Hollingsworth, UK Economist at Capital Economics.

If the UK votes to leave the EU next week, we expect sterling to fall sharply, which would put significant upward pressure on inflation further ahead. On the other hand, if the UK votes to remain, then sterling could recover a bit. But the economy would probably get a post-referendum rebound too. So whatever happens, we expect inflation to regain some momentum over the coming quarters, and should be closer to 1% around the turn of the year.

Clothing, footwear and food restrain inflation

UK inflation has now been at 0.3% every month this year - apart from March when there was an Easter boost, according to the ONS.

Analysts had expected inflation to rise to 0.4%. However, that level was missed, as rises in fuel costs, restaurant bills, hotel stays and telecoms were offset by lower prices for clothing, footwear, and food. 

Tesco supermarket checkout
Getty Images

ONS: House prices rising at 8.2% annual rate

This from the Office for National Statistics on house prices.

"UK average house prices have increased by 8.2% in the year to April 2016 (down from 8.5% in the year to March 2016), continuing the strong growth seen since the end of 2013."

BreakingUK inflation stays at 0.3%

The UK's inflation rate remains unchanged at 0.3% in May, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Inflation fell to that level in April, the first drop in over half a year, and is still stubbornly below the Bank of England's 2% target. 

Inflation change January 2006 - April 2016
BBC

Video: Tips on how to declutter

BBC Breakfast

The UK has half of Europe's self-storage space, according to a report from property firm Cushman & Wakefield for the Self Storage Association.

Part of that demand is coming from business, but many people use the space to store excess belongings.

The BBC's Steph McGovern speaks to Clare Baker from The Clutter Clearing Consultancy on how to cut down on some of that stuff.

How to declutter: "Don't do it in a blitz"