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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 swings between gains and losses
  2. UK construction activity hits seven-year low
  3. Three former Barclays employees found guilty of Libor rigging
  4. Sainsbury's to close Netto UK stores in August
  5. George Osborne plans to cut corporation tax below 15%

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good bye!

And that's all there is for today. We're wrapping up the live page earlier than usual because Independence Day in the US means no trading on Wall Street. 

Join us tomorrow for the Bank of England's financial stability report, as well as results from housebuilder Persimmon and June industry figures for the UK services sector.

Standard Life fund closure

BBC business presenter Victoria Fritz tweets about Standard Life suspending trading in its UK real estate fund.

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Osborne to meet bank chiefs on Tuesday

Canary Wharf at night
AP

Chancellor George Osborne will meet the heads of major banks tomorrow to discuss how the country should respond to the Brexit vote.

Mr Osborne told MPs he's spoken to various business leaders since the referendum, adding: "Tomorrow I am meeting the heads of some of the major banks as well to discuss how we proceed." 

The chancellor said the Bank of England - due to give a report on the UK's financial stability tomorrow - had the tools it needed to act against the economic cycle and boost lending.  

Standard Life - Effect on investors

Standard Life suspends trading in property fund

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Investment firm Standard Life has released this statement:

"Due to exceptional market circumstances, Standard Life Investments has taken the decision to suspend all trading in the Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund (and its associated Feeder Funds) from 12:00 noon on 4 July 2016.  

“The decision was taken following an increase in redemption requests as a result of uncertainty for the UK commercial real estate market following the EU referendum result. The suspension was requested to protect the interests of all investors in the fund and to avoid compromising investment returns from the range, mix and quality of assets within the portfolio."  

BreakingFTSE 100 finishes lower

The FTSE 100 has closed nearly 56 points, or 0.8%, lower at 6,522 points. It comes after an industry survey showed construction activity at a seven-year-low, raising concerns about the UK economy and hitting shares in property firms.

British Land fell 7%, while house builders Persimmon, Barratt and Taylor Wimpey all dropped by more than 6%.

Gold miner Fresnillo was the biggest winner, ahead of fellow commodity stocks Randgold and Glencore.

Ask.fm sold by Tinder owners

Ask.fm mobile app screenshots
Ask.fm

The Q&A-based social network Ask.fm is under new ownership, less than two years after it last changed hands. 

IAC - the owner of the dating app Tinder - has sold the business to Silicon Valley-based asset fund Noosphere. 

Ask.fm hit the news in 2013, when it was linked to the suicides of several teenagers.

The social network says it has 150 million members who asked 18 billion questions over the past year.

For the full story click here.

Moneysupermarket shares plunge

Moneysupermarket.com advert with "strutting man"
Moneysupermarket.com

Shares in price comparison website Moneysupermarket - known for its "strutting man" adverts (pictured) - are among the biggest losers on London markets as we head towards the closing bell.

The FTSE 250 mid-cap firm is down 11% at around 244p - its lowest level in more than a year - after its shares were downgraded by analysts at Barclays.

Barclays says the Brexit vote and possible recession will hurt the UK company. Moneysupermarket's shares are down by a third so far in 2016.

Sucking robot arm wins Amazon challenge

Team Delft's sucking robot arm
Amazon

A robotic arm that combines a suction cup, a "two-fingered" gripper and a 3D depth-sensing camera has won Amazon's latest warehouse bot competition. 

Team Delft's machine triumphed over its rivals at both of the two tasks. 

One involved selecting products from a container, picking them up and putting them on a shelf. The other was doing the actions in reverse. 

"Our vision is humans and robots working shoulder to shoulder," said Tye Brady, chief technologist at Amazon Robotics.  

For the full story click here.

UK tax cuts 'not the first Brexit issue'

France's economy minister has said that corporation tax isn't the issue he thinks the UK should work on first as part of Brexit.

"What is really expected from the British government is announcements on the consequences they expect to draw from the vote of the British people," Emmanuel Macron said. "Personally, I don't get the impression that the first consequence is cutting taxes." 

It follows Chancellor George Osborne's comments that he plans to lower the tax to below 15% to help prop up investment in the UK.

Resignations

BBC Scotland business editor Douglas Fraser quips after the resignations of Chris Evans from Top Gear and Nigel Farage as Ukip leader...

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Football an economic activity?

Gareth Bale scores for Real Madrid
Reuters

We reported earlier that seven leading football clubs in Spain - including Gareth Bale's Real Madrid - have been ordered to repay millions of dollars of state aid or assistance. 

The European Commission determined the clubs had breached European laws by benefiting from government help through preferential loans and deals on tax and property. 

Ricardo Cardoso, a spokesman for the EU Commission, had this to say:

The important point I should highlight is that professional sport is an economic activity, I mean football clubs carry out lots of activities, namely marketing, merchandising, TV broadcasting, we're all watching football games for the past few days, transfers of players, and like any other economic activity, EU stated rules apply and ensure that public funding doesn't distort competition between the clubs and protects the level playing field for the majority of clubs which are not benefiting from subsidies

Ricardo CardosoEuropean Commission

'Clear benefits' to LSE merger

Earlier shareholders in the London Stock Exchange approved its merger with Germany's Deutsche Boerse. 

Professor John Colley, of Warwick Business School, gave this reaction to the PA news agency: "Brexit has undoubtedly clouded the future for the stock exchange link-up and raised concerns for employees, regulatory authorities, politicians and LSE shareholders. For shareholders, though, there are still clear benefits. 

They "retain a strong position in the EU territories, while Deutsche Boerse shareholders benefit from a greater global presence. Deutsche Boerse would also be well positioned to provide the various markets that the EU may require to be operated within the eurozone such as Euro trading. Their link with the LSE will be invaluable in facilitating this transfer of skills, expertise and people."

FTSE extends losses

The FTSE 100 is extending losses this afternoon - dragged down by housebuilders.

At around 1500 BST it was down 0.73% at 6529.51.

Shares in British Land were down more than 7% while Land Securities was down 6.5%.

"Investors appear to have shunned UK growth and property funds in the run up to the referendum, and indeed beyond," says Laith Khalef from Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Property funds in particular could be in for a bumpy ride, given the price adjustments we have already seen as a result of the difficulty in valuing properties since the Brexit vote."

Line share sale

Line messaging app logo
Getty

Line - that's the messaging system that's very popular in Asia - is preparing for a share sale. It could be the biggest in the tech sector this year.

The Wall Street Journal says it will be a litmus test of investor appetite for tech stocks.

Flybe tax cut call

The boss of the airline Flybe has called for the government to cut flight taxes by half, in the wake of the "serious and lasting damage" caused by Brexit.

In a letter to George Osborne, chief executive Saad Hammad has said Air Passenger Duty (APD) should be slashed by 50% and funded by a tax hike at the UK's major international airports. 

Mr Hammad said the turmoil in the financial markets and the threat of an economic slowdown meant the cost of the levy was now a "critical issue". He said the APD was stymieing growth and had a "stranglehold" on regional economies. 

RBS boss: Brexit a 'real hit'

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan
Getty Images

Ross McEwan, the chief executive of RBS, has said the Brexit vote has “been a real hit to the bank” and will affect the government's sale of its remaining shares in the bank.

“This will be a setback, let’s be honest. I think at least a couple of years it will be pushed back,” he told LBC radio.

“We have been knocked around by interest rates being lower for longer. Therefore investors are saying your returns are not going to be good.”

He predicted that UK economic growth would decline to 1.6% in 2016 & 0.8% in 2017.  

“Unfortunately the consequences are that people stop making investments when there is uncertainty.”

US markets closed

A reminder that there's no trading on US stock markets today while the country celebrates Independence Day.

Five now convicted of Libor rigging

Tom Hayes
Reuters

Today's jury verdict takes the total convictions from the Serious Fraud Office's Libor investigations to five. 

Tom Hayes (pictured) was convicted in August 2015 and is serving an 11 year prison sentence. In May 2016 it was revealed former Barclays employee Peter Johnson had pleaded guilty.

Six other defendants were acquitted in January of helping Mr Hayes rig the key financial rate. 

A total of 19 individuals have been charged so far.

Meanwhile, the SFO’s Libor investigation continues - six individuals await trial for the alleged manipulation of Euribor, the European version of Libor, on 4 September 2017.

Libor trial verdict - SFO comments

Barclays Canary Wharf office
Getty Images

The Serious Fraud Office says it has two weeks to decide whether to seek a re-trial of two former Barclays employees accused of rigging the Libor interest rate.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court couldn't reach verdicts on Stylianos Contogoulas, 44, and Ryan Michael Reich, 34. 

However, the court did convict three other former Barclays staff - Jay Merchant, 45, Jonathan Mathew, 35, and Alex Pabon, a 38 year-old American - of manipulating the crucial financial rate between 2005 and 2007.

The key issue in this case was dishonesty. By their verdicts the jury demonstrated they were sure that the conduct of three of the defendants, Jonathan Mathew, Jay Merchant and Alex Pabon was dishonest. Senior Libor submitter Peter Johnson accepted he had been dishonest when he pleaded guilty to the offence in October 2014. The trial in this country of American nationals also demonstrates the extent to which the response to Libor manipulation has been international and the subject of extensive cooperation between US and UK authorities.”

David GreenSFO director

BreakingLondon Stock Exchange/Deutsche merger - vote

LSE lobby
Reuters

99.89% of London Stock Exchange shareholders vote in favour of merger. 

"Whether the UK is just European or a member of the EU, the Merger will create a globally competitive, industry defining market infrastructure group at the service of European industry," the London Stock Exchange said. 

"It is clear that the agreed merger of Deutsche Börse and LSEG will deliver value to both shareholders and customers independently of the resolution of these uncertainties."

EU tells Spanish football giants to pay back 'illegal' loans

Footballers
Real Madrid

The European Commission has confirmed that it has ordered seven Spanish football clubs to pay back aid deemed to be in breach of EU state aid rules.

Seven clubs – FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Osasuna, Elche and Hercules – must now pay back the ‘illegal’ aid, the commission said in a statement that comes after three separate in-depth investigations.

“Using tax payers’ money to finance professional football clubs can create unfair competition. Professional football is a commercial activity with significant money involved and public money must comply with fair competition rules. The subsidies we investigated in these cases did not,” said European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Separately, the commission closed its investigation into five Dutch clubs without finding evidence of illegal state support.

Scottish fishing

Representatives of Scotland's fishing industry are meeting the government to discuss the best way forward for the sector. The industry has said for years that it has been treated unfairly by the EU - in terms of the number of fish it's allowed to land - and many fishermen have welcomed the Brexit vote. The Scottish Government though, says it's working to stay in Europe. 

Fish processing
BBC

EDF says 'full confidence in Hinkley Point'

Reuters reports: French power utility EDF on Monday said it still had confidence in its plans to build a nuclear reactor complex at Hinkley Point in southern England and that Britain's referendum vote last month to quit the European Union was not a barrier to it. The company made the statement at the end of a process of consultation with its works council of employee representatives, adding that the board could now proceed to make a Final Investment Decision (FID) which, if positive, could set the project in motion.    

Libor guilty - more

Reuters points out the verdicts come four years after Barclays became the first of 11 powerful banks and brokerages to be slapped with a hefty fine over rate fixing allegations, sparking a political and public backlash that forced out charismatic former CEO Bob Diamond, an overhaul of Libor rules and the criminal inquiry. Sentencing will be on Thursday.

London market update

The 100 index is now a touch lower, reversing a modest opening gain. It stands down 0.25% at 6,560.81 points. The winners and losers are pretty much as reported earlier - miners - little to do with the UK and possible beneficiaries of a weaker pound - are mobbing the top five slots. At the southern end of the table housebuilders - highly UK economy dependent - are down. Joined by Marks and Spencer, which has lost 4% after a broker downgrade. 

BreakingLibor rigging: Three convicted

From left to right: Jonathan Mathew, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon
AP/Getty Images/AP
From left to right: Jonathan Mathew, Jay Merchant, Alex Pabon

Three former Barclays employees have been found guilty of rigging the Libor interest rate between 2005 and 2007.

Jay Merchant, 45, was convicted unanimously at Southwark Crown Court of conspiring to defraud the US dollar Libor.

Jonathan Mathew, 35, and Alex Pabon, 38, were found guilty by majority verdict after a ten-week trial. The trio will be sentenced later this week.

The libor rate is used by banks to set prices of financial products.

It stands for the London inter-bank lending rate, and underpins trillions of pounds worth of loans and financial contracts for households and companies across the world.

Extra Energy customers 'paying the price'

Citizens Advice, which worked with Ofgem on the Extra Energy investigation, has welcomed the Ofgem probe:  

“Customers have been paying the price for Extra Energy’s poor performance. The firm delivered a record low performance for its complaints handling in our latest supplier league table.

Gillian Guychief executive of Citizens Advice

BreakingOfgem investigates Extra Energy

Gas rings on a cooker
PA

Energy watchdog Ofgem has opened an investigation into small supplier Extra Energy.

It is looking into whether the Birmingham-based firm broke rules relating to billing, customer service and complaints handling. 

Extra Energy, which launched in 2014, topped the list of customer complaints for any supplier between January and March this year. 

It attracted 1,682 complaints per 100,000 customers - the highest ratio of complaints over the five years that data has been collected by Citizens Advice. 

Hotel California

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Formal talks for the UK to leave the European Union are yet to get underway after the 23 June vote.

The frontrunner to become the next Prime Minister, Theresa May, has said she will not trigger Article 50, the step that will officially begin the process, until next year.

Andrea Leadsom, who launched her own leadership campaign this morning, has hinted she would be quicker were she to take over from David Cameron.

Leadsom launches leadership bid

Andrea Leadsom, energy minister and prominent Leave campaigner, has launched her bid to become the leader of the Conservative party. 

The former Barclays director, who is currently second favourite with bookmakers behind Home Secretary Theresa May, has among other things pitched herself as a protector of workers' rights. 

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Osborne's corporation tax cut

BBC Business Live

BBC presenter Ben Thompson looks at George Osborne's plans to lower corporation tax to below 15%...

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Builder stocks crumble

For sale signs
PA

Shares in property developers have fallen further today following the publication of weak construction data. 

Property firm British Land, which initially opened higher, is now down 5.4%, while Land Securities Group has fallen 5.2%. 

The UK's biggest house builders, Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments, are down 4.7%, 4% and 3.8% respectively.

An influential survey found that in June the UK construction industry suffered its worst contraction for seven years (see earlier post).  

Builder stocks have been among the worst hit since the Brexit vote.

Local store difficulties

Retail pundit Steve Dresser draws comparisons between Netto and My Local, which entered administration last week.

My Local - formally known as Morrisons' M Local - struggled to compete in the cut-throat grocery sector, and its 125 stores could close if a buyer isn't found.

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Netto UK's 400 jobs 'at risk'

Emma Simpson

Business correspondent, BBC News

The 16 Netto stores employ around 400 people. Their jobs are now at risk. 

Sainsbury’s and Dansk supermarket group hope to redeploy workers where they can. Sainsbury’s says the stores were trading in line with expectations but the business really needed much greater scale to succeed longer term, and they needed to do this pretty quickly. 

Finding the right property wasn’t easy. This was only a trial. But clearly Sainsbury’s focus now is on Argos owner HRG and making this tie up work.

Spotlight on the dog

Netto dog in lego
BBC

Continuing our appreciation of charming logos, here is the Netto dog made out of lego on the occasion of Sainsbury's and its Danish partner DSG launching the trial stores in 2014.

The yellow Scottie dog toured the UK as the discount stores were opened. Per Bank, chief executive of Dansk Supermarked Group (DSG), is the man casually leaning against the two-metre tall mascot.  

The Netto mission statement is also cute: "We think everyone should be able to buy nice things from a nice shop at a nice price." But not - as of August - in the UK...

Sainsbury's abandons Netto partnership

Netto logo
Netto

Sainsbury’s is to end the joint venture of trial Netto UK stores with its Danish partner. 

The supermarket and Dansk Supermarked Group (DSG) announced that the 16 Netto stores will close during August. 

The Netto UK tie-up was launched in June 2014 to explore the fast-growing discount grocery retail segment in the UK, they said. 

Following the initial period of trial store openings, DSG and Sainsbury’s made their decision to end the venture after assessing trading data, customer and operational insights, expansion costs, the evolving food retail market and long-term strategies for each business. 

Ampelmännchen

Ampelmann
freeimages

Here he is. Not a million miles away from the illustration in the FT by Matt Kenyon. The traffic light man is a more confident walker.