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  1. FTSE 100 exceeds pre-Brexit levels and FTSE 250 also ends day ahead.
  2. Sterling rises against the dollar
  3. Goldman Sachs banker rejects blame for BHS deal
  4. Sir Philip Green demands apology for 'outrageous outburst' by MP Frank Field
  5. Home Office man to lead 'Brexit Unit'

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

We've come to the end of another day on the Business Live page - one dominated again by the knock-on effects of the Brexit vote.

Thank you for staying with us. 

As ever, we'll be back with all the latest news tomorrow morning at 6am.

Do join us then. 

Wall Street gains as Brexit worries ease

Wall Street saw solid gains for a second straight day on Wednesday as fears eased about Britain's vote to exit the European Union and its impact on the global economy.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones was stood at 17,691.39 points, up 1.6%. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.7% to 2,070.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq climbed 1.9% to 4,778.84.

"In the near term, the scare factor that we had of the unknown and the Brexit, and the cataclysmic response, has been modulated to a point where we're more in a wait-and-see mode," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. 

Bumper Scottish property tax take

Woman looking at property details

The first set of receipts from new Scottish property and landfill taxes have exceeded predictions, the Scottish government says.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay told MSPs that £572m was collected in 2015/16 - up about £74m on initial forecasts.

Scotland's Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and the Scottish Landfill Tax were introduced last year.

The LBTT was introduced in April 2015 by the former finance secretary John Swinney.

It replaced the UK-wide stamp duty and raised the threshold at which buyers paid no tax on a property up to £145,000. Read more here.

Did Brexit scupper diamond sale?

More on the news we mentioned earlier of the world's largest uncut diamond failing to sell... 

The gems industry is blaming Brexit. The Lesedi La Rona, a 1,109-carat, tennis ball-sized gem found in Botswana, didn't meet its $70m reserve price. Sotheby's failed to persuade bidders to go above $61m.

Tobias Kormind, of online retailer 77 Diamonds, says "the market instability with Brexit may have just caused this to be a case of bad luck or bad timing". 

Shares in Lucara, which owns the stone, fell nearly 14% on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 

Morrisons complains about another Aldi ad

Aldi store

Morrisons supermarket is making a fresh complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about discount chain Aldi. It comes on the day that the ASA upheld a complaint by Morrisons that three Aldi price comparison adverts were misleading.

A Morrisons spokesman says it's clear Aldi has not "changed its ways". But the German discounter says its ads comply with all the rules. 

Over to you, ASA... 

Bright outlook for City?

BBC World Business Report tweets ...

BBC World Service

Diamond disappoints at auction

BBC World Service

Lesedi La Rona diamond

So what happened at the auction of the world's largest uncut diamond that we mentioned earlier.

Well, it failed to sell, reports BBC World Service.

The Lesedi La Rona diamond was expected to fetch more than $70m (£52m) but when bidding stopped at $61m it was withdrawn from sale. 

The 1,109 carat gem - the size of a tennis ball - was unearthed last November in a mine in Botswana. 

 The government in Botswana would have received 60%. No rough diamond of this scale had ever been offered at a public auction before.  

Smashing it ...

BBC business presenter tweets ...

'Little choice' for investors?

Earlier we drew your attention to the BBC economics editor's blog on what's behind the FTSE's "relief rally".

Well, here's a take on it from Robert Jenkins, former policy maker with the Bank of England and adjunct professor at London Business School. 

View more on twitter

Home Office man to lead 'Brexit Unit'

Think back all the way to Monday if you can, when Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the House of Commons. He said he and the Cabinet had agreed to set up a new EU Unit in Whitehall, bringing together expertise to prepare for exit negotiations. 

Inevitably, perhaps, it's being referred to as the "Brexit Unit".

Well, fast-forward to today and this Cabinet Office unit now has a boss.

He's Olly Robbins - who's currently second permanent secretary at the Home Office, responsible for border and immigration services. 

In his new role - which he starts on 4 July - he will become a permanent secretary and will also become the PM's adviser on European and global affairs. 

 "I am delighted to announce that Olly Robbins has agreed to take on this crucial role. He has a wealth of government, international and negotiating experience that makes him ideally suited to this very challenging role," said Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. 

The unit will also be recruiting experts from other civil service departments - the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the Foreign Office and Business Department. 

Any questions?

BBC Radio 4's Today programme tweets ...

Philip Green: 'Frank Field should apologise for behaviour'

Philip Green

Here's a follow up to that BHS hearing we reported on earlier...

Now Sir Philip Green has reacted to comments made by Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee.

At the hearing into the collapse of BHS Mr Field expressed his exasperation at pledges that Sir Philip would "fix" the pension problem at BHS, which had a £571m deficit when the retailer collapsed.

"We're fed up of hearing 'I'm about to fix it'. He does not fix it. What's required is a very large cheque from the Green family who have done so well out of the whole of this," he told an Arcadia director.

"The city is furious with your behaviour, the image you put over is that everybody in business is not about creating jobs, about spreading wealth but it's about nicking money off other people," he went on. 

"Sir Philip could fix this today if he was serious," he said.

Mr Field's outrageous outburst today demonstrated yet again his clear prejudice against myself, my wife and my executives, who turned up for a second time. He arrived very late, offered no apology, heard no evidence, clearly just to put on a ten minute show and was extremely rude. Accusing me and my family of theft is totally false and unacceptable on any basis. The committee was yesterday made fully aware of the fact that a solution for the BHS pension funds is being worked on. His behaviour is as far as you can get from being helpful to anyone in this situation. Mr Field needs to apologise for his shocking and offensive behaviour.

Sir Philip GreenFormer owner of BHS

Trade relations ...

Speaker of the US House of Representatives tweets ...

Shares: Focus on the long-term?

Investment management firm  Hargreaves Landown has been analysing what's been going on with shares in London since last Thursday's Brexit vote.

It's calculated that about a third of FTSE 100 stocks have lost more than 10% of their value. About two thirds are in negative territory, and about one in seven have lost more than 20%.

On the other hand, about a third of FTSE 100 stocks have risen in price - though only a handful have risen by more than 10%. 

"What these stocks lack in number and price movement however, they make up for in size, accounting as they do for around 60% of the FTSE 100 by market capitalisation. They include big hitters like Shell, BP, British American Tobacco, Diageo, AstraZeneca, and GlaxoSmithKline," says Hargreaves Lansdown. 

"The FTSE 250 has also bounced considerably, but hasn’t recovered to the same extent, and stands around 8% down on its closing price last Thursday."

London Stock Exchange

The last few days have seen a tale of two stock markets playing out on the UK’s trading floors. The share prices of big companies with international revenues have prospered, while those exposed to the UK economy have been severely marked down. However, in the last two days these domestic stocks have bounced significantly. It’s quite remarkable how quickly sentiment can move the price of stocks up and down without so much of a hint of company news. This once again serves to highlight why investors should tune out the short term fluctuations of the stock market, because they often defy rhyme and reason. In the long run, stock prices are more heavily influence by company fundamentals, rather than sentiment, and in particular earnings. While in the short term the economic picture may have been dented by the Brexit vote, the longer term impact is less clear. In the meantime companies will still seek out opportunities for profits and for growth, though there will be winners and losers, so it’s probably a good time to get back to basics and maintain a balanced and diversified portfolio.

Laith KhalafSenior analyst, investment managers Hargreaves Landsdown

And Sterling is higher too ...

The pound rose 1.2% against the dollar to about $1.35, although sterling still remains well below levels reached before the referendum.

The pound had risen as high as $1.50 on Thursday as traders anticipated a 'Remain' vote, but by Monday it had plunged to a 31-year low against the dollar.

Sterling rose 0.9% against the euro on Wednesday to €1.2168. Before last week's referendum it had been trading around €1.30.

FTSE 100 returns to pre-Brexit level

London Stock Exchange sign

The FTSE 100 has ended the day above its pre-EU referendum level for the first time. It closed at  6,360.06 - a rise of 3.58% on the day.

 At the close of trade on Thursday last week, before the referendum vote, the FTSE 100 ended the day at 6,338.10.  

Miners and building companies were among the biggest gainers of the day.

Meanwhile the FTSE 250 - which is more representative of UK companies - rose by 3.22% to close at 16,002.90. 

MPs probe UK-EU economic ties

Andrew Tyrie

On Tuesday the Treasury committee began its inquiry into the UK's future economic relationship with the EU. 

Before the House of Commons breaks up for summer the Committee says it will take further evidence including about "the trade-offs between market access and control that are likely to be involved, and the practical consequences for people and businesses". 

The UK’s negotiating position has yet to be established. Article 50 should not be triggered until it has been. A crucial task is to identify the maximum level of EU market access, consistent with the need for some control on migration. Work must also be done to identify not just the risks of leaving, some of which are becoming apparent, but also the opportunities. The Committee’s first hearing took some evidence on both.

Andrew TyrieChairman of the Treasury Committee

Relieved at rally?

BBC economics editor tweets ...

GE Capital no longer 'too big to fail'

GE logo
Getty Images

General Electric's finance arm is no longer deemed to be "too big to fail".

On Wednesday,the US government removed its "systemically important" designation, a label which was created during the  financial crisis and was given to institutions with the potential to wreck the economy in the event of distress. 

The Financial Stability Oversight Council, made up of all the heads of the big regulatory agencies, voted unanimously to remove the label it put on the General Electric unit in 2013, said the US Treasury. 

A company's designation as "too big to fail" is removed when it no longer poses risks to US financial stability,

Being named "to big to fail" can mean stricter oversight and requirements to hold more capital.

In March GE Capital formally asked the US government to remove the "too big to fail" label, saying it had shrunk to the point where it would not pose a major threat to the nation's financial stability if it experienced distress. 

Lifting the designation is expected to allow GE Capital to free up cash from its balance sheet and allow parent company GE to put it to other use - in particular share buybacks.

Brain drain?

Times Higher Education tweets

World's biggest uncut diamond up for auction

BBC World Service

Lesedi La Rona diamond held by model

The world's largest uncut diamond will go up for sale in London later today, reports BBC World Service.

The 1,109 carat gem - the size of a tennis ball - was discovered last November in a mine in Botswana. No rough diamond of this scale has ever been offered at a public auction before - usually such stones are offered to individual dealers for sealed bids. 

The Lesedi La Rona diamond is expected to fetch well over $70m (£52m), with the government in Botswana getting 60% of the profit. 

The biggest rough diamond ever found was the 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond - discovered in a South African mine in 1905. It was cut into nine stones - the largest of which, the 'Great Star of Africa', is in the Queen's sceptre in the Tower of London. 

FTSE holds onto gains

Just under an hour of trading to go in London and the FTSE 100 has held onto its earlier gains - a short while ago it was at 6,301.82 - a rise of 2.63%.

The FTSE 250 - which is regarded as being more representative of UK companies - was up 2.88% at 15,949.0.

Chill out

Wall Street heads higher for second day

Wall Street sign

Wall Street opened higher for the second day in a row on Wednesday - following on from further rises in Europe. 

Investors are still snapping up shares which have fallen price after the UK's Brexit vote last week. 

A short while ago the Dow Jones was up 0.83% at 17,553.98.

The Nasdaq was at 4,746.25 - a rise of 1.16% and the S&P 500 was at 2,054.87 - that's up 0.92%.

What does 'access' to the EU Single Market mean? Part 2

More from BBC business correspondent Jonty Bloom ...

Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT

That is why at its international conference today, the head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Mike Hawes, said: "Eighty per cent of what we produce is exported and the only way to succeed is through unrestricted and reciprocal access to the EU and global markets." And by "access"  Mr. Hawes means "membership" of the Single Market. 

And it isn't just car makers that worry about "access". 

Today Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup of EU members was asked what the consequences of Brexit might be and he said: " London and its financial service industry is servicing all of Europe now they do that with the passport that gives them access to all the markets in Europe without any further bureaucratic hassle or other permits required and all of that will change.

"London has grown as a financial centre because of its position in Europe, many Asian investors other international institutions have come to London to service the European market from London and that position will inevitably change."

Inevitable is a strong word, the UK will work hard to negotiate the best possible access for all its industries and that could involve membership of the Single Market. That is quite achievable, other countries are already in the Single Market without belonging to the EU, but they all allow free movement of EU citizens and pay into EU funds.

Leave supporters believe we can cut an especially favourable deal but the SMMT also wants the UK "to shape EU regulations on the cars we drive and buy" and that will be much more difficult once we are no longer members of the EU.

It shows how complicated the negotiations will be and how worried business is when people talk about "access" to the Single Market as if it is the answer to all their worries, because as the Prime Minister said it depends what you mean by "access". 

What does 'access' to the EU Single Market mean? Part 1

BBC business correspondent Jonty Bloom writes ...

After the referendum British business is trying to explain to the government what it wants from the negotiations to leave the EU and what everyone seems to be talking about is "access" to the single market, but as the prime minister said at PMQ's today, "access to the single market has many potential different meanings".  

Japan and the USA have "access" and as one economist told me, even Haiti does.

But many countries have to negotiate a trade deal, pay tariffs, get through customs, and all abide by EU rules and regulations to get their goods into the EU - and they don't have a say on those rules. 

By comparison at the moment we are members of the EU's Single Market and have been for decades, we enjoy totally free movement of goods, finance, and people around the EU, without any tariffs and we have a say on how the rules are written.

That's why much of business thinks "access" should mean "membership of" the single market, what David Cameron today called the "best access".  

Renault 'considering UK price increases'

Renault logo with blurred cars behind
Getty Images

French car maker Renault is considering UK price increases because of the fall in the pound since last week's Brexit vote.

Two company sources spoke to Reuters on Wednesday after a briefing by senior management.

They said Renault's chief financial officer had warned during an internal presentation that the company is likely to be forced to raise UK prices and accept a fall in sales. It will, however, stop short of withdrawing from the market.

A Renault spokeswoman declined to comment to Reuters.

The UK is Renault's seventh biggest market - last year it almost 130,000 cars or 8% of its European sales total in the UK.

Field: 'Sir Philip Could fix this today if he was serious'

More from the BHS hearing earlier today - and work and pensions committee chairman Frank Field tells Arcadia's finance director Paul Budge that the City is furious with the company's behaviour. 

"The image you put over that everybody in business is not about creating jobs, about spreading wealth, it's about nicking money off other people, that's what we've seen," he says. 

"What's required is very large cheque" - Frank Field to BHS managers

EU leaders warn on single market access

BBC New Europe producer tweets from Brussels

There can be "no single market a la carte" for the UK, EU leaders have warned, after meeting in Brussels to discuss the UK vote to leave the bloc.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said anyone wanting access to the EU's internal market had to adhere to strict criteria "without exception".

There could be "no negotiation without notification", he said.

The German and French leaders and the Council President said the same.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Indian civil servants win pay rises

VW dealer in India
Getty Images

The BBC's Shilpa Kannan in Mumbai reports:

India has cleared all recommendations made by the federal pay panel that will result in increases of about 23.5% for salaries, allowances and pensions for government staff.

The move is estimated to benefit nearly 10 million current and former government employees.

The recommendations by the Seventh Central Pay Commission would add nearly $15bn (1.02 trillion rupees) to federal spending in 2016.

Past hikes have been a big boost to the economy as spending goes up.

The Housing and automotive sectors are expected to benefit the most. The last Pay Commission report helped  car sales to rise 18% annually between 2009 and 2011.

Hopes dim for Port Talbot

Port Talbot
Getty Images

Ben Orhan, senior economist at IHS Global Insight, says the Brexit vote could be the nail in the coffin for the Port Talbot steelworks. 

The Port Talbot operation has never been further from viability. Due to current uncertainty, private investment in Port Talbot is unlikely. The political turmoil in both main political parties means that the future of Port Talbot will not feature highly in either party's near-term planning. This is likely the polar opposite result expected by the Welsh majority that voted for Brexit partly in the belief that Westminster would be able to save Port Talbot once unshackled from EU bureaucracy. The future of the steelworks is critical to those around Port Talbot and the wider UK steel industry. But the 'Out' result means it is at the bottom of the priorities of those, who were working hard to save it."

'Deja vu from 1992'

Dan Macadam

Business reporter

John Major
Getty Images

Not all economists are gloomy about the prospects for the UK economy, however. 

Toscafund chief economist Savvas Savouri, who backed the UK to leave the EU, says the economy will strengthen rather than struggle in the wake of the Brexit vote.

He says it's going to be "deja vu" from 1992 when the UK crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism under John Major: "In the wake of this the pound fell, GDP recovered strongly and the FTSE ultimately surged." 

Watch as the UK feeds off Chinese growth, EU workers continue to come to the UK and the weak pound makes our universities and cars more competitive, Dr Savouri argues.

He predicts growth of about 2% next year and inflation of between 1% and 3%.

Brexit 'hurts'


PhilipRooke, British head of Leipzig-based Spreadshirt, speaks to the BBC's Joe Miller about the impact of Brexit. 

Listen here.

Growth forecasts slashed

Cranes at dusk

Economists have taken the knife to their UK growth forecasts, according to Consensus Economics.

They now expect economic growth to be 0.4% next year (roughly what it is now) rather than the 2.1% originally forecast, according to Consensus, which polls hundreds of economists. 

Inflation is predicted to rise to 2.2%, compared with original predictions of 1.6%.

Will Green fix it?

The Times business reporter Alex Ralph has been listening to work and pensions select committee chairman Frank Field at the BHS hearing:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

BHS: Where does the buck stop?

BHS store
Getty Images

The BHS hearing is still underway and MPs have been exploring the minutiae of some of the assets that BHS had when it was sold to Dominic Chappell for £1 last year.

From there they've circled back to the big question throughout the enquiry: Who's to blame for the retailer's collapse? 

Paul Budge, the finance chief of Sir Philip Green's Arcadia retail chain, says "a number of people" were involved.  

Asked if the buck should stop with Sir Philip, Mr Budge says: "There are many people involved, all culpable in this - Olswang, Grant Thornton, Goldman Sachs, the Taveta board." Taveta is the holding company for Sir Philip's retail empire.

Arcadia blames Goldman Sachs

The Guardian's Sarah Butler has been listening to Arcadia Group finance director Paul Budge at the BHS hearing:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

What is an EU 'bank passport'?

Sticking with those warnings, Andrew Walker has written a handy piece explaining how British banks currently "passport" their services throughout the European Union.

To give it a read, click here.

London's 'financial passport'

Canary Wharf

The head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, tells the BBC that London's status as a financial centre will "inevitably change" after the UK exits the EU.  

“London and its financial service industry is servicing all of Europe now. They do that with the passport which gives them access to all the markets in Europe without any further bureaucratic hassle or other permits required and all of that will change," said Mr Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister.

The "passport" that London's big finance firms are using now won't be available after Brexit, so another arrangement will be needed, he says.

"The Brexiteers have to be honest, they say they want to be independent but if you want to be independent and you don't accept the European rules and regulations then there will be no access in the future and I think that's hard to imagine."