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  1. Lowcost Travelgroup goes into administration
  2. Pound falls against the dollar and the euro
  3. FTSE rises 0.2%; Wall Street flat
  4. Shares in IAG, Easyjet, Flybe and Thomas Cook all finish lower

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all from me. Join us on Monday for live news and analysis as we'll get a snapshot of the UK economy from retail figures, house prices and confidence among finance directors.

Pound down 1.2% against the dollar

It looks like the pound is going to miss out on achieving the biggest weekly gains against the dollar since 2009.

Sterling has surged this week following the swift installation of Theresa May as Prime Minister and the Bank of England's decision to keep rates unchanged.

However, it dropped sharply this afternoon and was down more than a cent and a half against the dollar a short while ago at $1.3182. It needed to stay above $1.3290 to match the weekly gains last seen seven years ago.

Against the euro, the pound was 0.5% lower at €1.1939.

Wall Street finishes flat after week of record highs

US stock markets were mostly unchanged at the closing bell as strong economic data was offset by global fears over the terror attack in Nice.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher to a fresh record, but the S&P 500 dipped slightly after its own record-setting week. 

"We've had an incredible run," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Things don't continue to go straight up."

The Dow Jones rose 10 points to 18,516.55. 

The S&P 500 ended a week of record highs by slipping 2 points to 2161.74.

The Nasdaq dipped by about 4 points to 5,023.57. 

Pensions Minister Ros Altmann also out

David Cameron and Ros Altmann
Getty Images

In another part of Theresa May's reshuffle, pensions minister Ros Altmann is also no longer in the government. 

In a letter to the new Prime Minister, Dr Altmann urged Mrs May to pursue:

- Long overdue reform of pensions tax relief

- A major review of Defined Benefit pension scheme funding

- Fair treatment of women

Major gas storage site shuts for winter

Gas ring

Wholesale gas prices have jumped after British Gas owner Centrica said it had been forced to shut a major gas storage facility for the winter.

The store accounts for 64% of all UK gas storage, according to price reporting agency ICIS.

Tom Marzec-Manser, a gas analyst at ICIS, said the gas price "rocketed" to 12-month highs after Centrica's announcement.

He said: "To ensure security of supply is maintained, gas companies are going to have to pay a premium and will be reliant on storage on the European mainland. 

"Technical problems have been ongoing at Rough for a while, but the market clearly did not anticipate this.”

A Centrica spokesman said it is working to return a third of the capacity to operation by November, in time for colder months when gas demand by energy companies climbs. 

Why King wants youngsters to bank on cricket

Mervyn King ran the Bank of England for ten years and was in charge during the financial crisis of the late 2000s.

His new project is encouraging state schools to get their school children playing cricket.

He puts the case in a Daily Politics film, and reveals he would rather have captained Worcestershire Cricket Club than have run the UK's finances.  

A former Bank of England governor wants young people to learn how to win and lose.

BHS store closures

BBC business presenter Adam Parsons tweets...

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What has Brexit meant for the economy?

Business editor Simon Jack talks about where the economic pain might be felt following the EU referendum result.

What has Brexit meant for the economy?

Lowcost Holidays refund options: Insurance, credit card, regulator

Personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz tweets...

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Lowcost Holidays: Your rights

Consumer advice website Money Saving Expert tweets...

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Civil Aviation Authority responds to Lowcost demise

A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said:

“We understand the Spanish travel company Lowcostholidays has ceased trading. The company was based in Mallorca and was registered with the Balearic Islands authorities.

“The company was therefore not part of the UK’s ATOL scheme and the Balearic Islands authorities are responsible for the holiday protection arrangements for the company’s customers.

“We believe the company may have had a large number of British customers and many of these are likely to be overseas. Our understanding is these customers should have valid flight tickets to use to return home to the UK. We advise customers to check the status of their bookings with their airline and accommodation provider."

'Margins are negligible'

Joe Lynam

Business correspondent

The mass holidays business and especially selling hotels beds all over the world is a tough one. The margins are negligible. Often - as appears to be the case with LowCostHolidays - the cash earned for future holidays was used to pay for people that were already away. 

So if there's a relatively sudden dip in confidence leading up to the Brexit referendum and then the pound plunges against the euro after the vote, that can be enough to tip the financial house of cards that some holiday companies have erected. 

Tighter EU rules mean that airlines have responsibility for their customers and must get them home. Also many credit card providers include free travel insurance cover. 

But the longed for trip away will not now be happening for thousands of LowCostHolidays customers.

Pressures on Lowcost Holidays

Lowcost Holidays, which made about £500m in turnover last year, was already under pressure before the Brexit vote, according to administrators called in after the company's demise.

Increased competition and negative effects on travel from the threat of terror contributed to the group's demise, administrators Smith and Williamson said.  

The EU referendum had a twofold impact, they said.

1) Uncertainty prior to the referendum caused some customers to delay holiday decisions; and 

2) A more expensive euro since the outcome of the vote has dissuaded the British public, which represents 60% of the group’s customers, from booking holidays.

'No Atol protection'

Atol logo
Air Travel Organistion

Lowcost Holidays did not have Atol protection - the UK scheme that protects holidaymakers if a travel company ceases trading, a company spokesperson told the BBC.

The hotel and flight booking firm, which has thousands of UK customers, was registered in the UK but regulated in the Balearic Islands.

Of the 110,000 customers yet to travel, all of them have paid, and 99% will have valid flights, the spokesperson said. 

Lowcost Holiday staff

Hollie-Rae Merrick, deputy news editor at Travel Weekly, tweets...

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Lowcost Holiday customers

Lowcost Holidays has some advice for customers - 60% of which typically are from the UK - following the firm's collapse into administration.

The company runs the website as well as and 

Details of what to do for the 27,000 customers currently on holiday through the company, and for the 110,000 customers who have booked with the firm, can be found here:

Brexit vote 'compounded' travel group's difficulties

Administrators appointed to handle Low Cost Travel Group said difficult trading conditions in the run-up to the EU referendum and after the UK's vote to leave contributed to the firm's collapse.

The group experienced significant market headwinds in the run up to the EU referendum as holidaymakers delayed decisions. This was compounded by the Leave vote itself and the subsequent fall in value of the pound. Regrettably, in these extraordinary conditions, the directors had no option but to place Lowcosttravelgroup Limited into administration."

Finbarr O’ConnellAdministrators Smith & Williamson

120 UK job losses at Lowcost Travelgroup

Lowcost Travelgroup, which said it has ceased trading today, announced there have been 120 redundancies at its Gatwick office.

There have also been 264 job losses in Krakow, 60 in Majorca and 7 in Switzerland, the company said.

"The majority of staff in the group have been made redundant with some remaining to assist the administrators in the potential sale of any parts of the group’s business," the company said.

BreakingBudget holiday firm goes into administration

Budget travel company, Lowcost Travelgroup, has gone into administration, leaving thousands of customers at risk of their holidays being disrupted.

The UK firm said it has about 27,000 customers currently in resorts and 110,000 customers who have booked travel or holidays through the group who have not travelled yet.

"Unfortunately, as regards customers who have not travelled as yet a small number will have problems as regards their flights not having been paid for and many will have problems as regards their hotel rooms not having been paid for," the company said.

Dollar delights

Dollar and pound notes

Laith Khalaf, of stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, puts the sharp fall in sterling against the dollar this afternoon down to a combination of strong retail sales in the US and weak UK construction data.

"If the US economy continues to thrive it will probably spell another rate rise, and that would be good for the dollar, particularly while monetary policy appears to be going in the opposite direction in Europe, Japan and now the UK," he said.

Pound weakens at prospect of 'muscular' Bank plans

Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS, reflects on Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane's strong hints of a rate cut...

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Travel stocks finish lower

Airlines and travel agents were among the biggest fallers in London. 

Shares in Easyjet, Flybe and Thomas Cook all finished more than 3% lower. 

Cruise ship operator Carnival fell 2% on the FTSE 100 and British Airways owner IAG dropped 1%.

BreakingFTSE sprints to late gain

The FTSE 100 - which has been in the red most of the day - had a late spurt to finish 0.2% higher at 6,669.24.

That's not far off the 11-month high it finished at on Monday of 6,682.86, as the blue-chip index continued to rally following the Brexit vote.

The FTSE 250, which is a better indication of UK businesses than the more global 100, finished 0.4% lower at 16,727.27.

Just the tonic..

Friday afternoon and some minds might be turning to a gin and tonic (not mine, though).

The Grocer has this tweet about competition fizzing up in the tonic market...

Britvic squares up to Fever-Tree with brand new tonic water range (£)

Britvic squares up to Fever-Tree with brand new tonic water range (£)

More stimulus on the way?

This morning's speech from Andy Haldane, a member of the Bank of England's rate-setting committee, could be one of the reasons for the sharp fall in the pound after he hinted at interest rate cuts next month.

Robert Peston, ITV political editor, tweets...

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Commentators curse

I may have spoken too soon. The pound is falling sharply against the dollar and is now 0.8% lower at $1.3232. Against the euro it's lost 0.3% to €1.1961.

It comes as investors continue to digest the Bank of England's decision to keep interest rates at 0.5% while also leaving the door open for a rate cut in three weeks' time.  

The pound needs to climb back to $1.3290 against the dollar for it to record the best weekly gain since 2009. 

Pound gains set to be best since 2009

Pound coins and notes

Sterling is on course for its best week against the US dollar in seven years.

The pound has jumped more than 2.6% - the biggest weekly gain since 2009 - against the dollar after UK markets were settled by Theresa May's swift coronation as Prime Minister and the Bank of England's delay in cutting interest rates.

"The UK had some certainty this week with the new Prime Minister and new cabinet," said Adam Laird, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

The pound - which is 0.5% down against the dollar today - needs to finish above $1.329 to hit the weekly gains last seen in 2009, he said.

Of course, sterling is still some way off the $1.50 it was trading at when the markets were betting on the UK to vote to stay in the European Union.

UK and Canada 'on track for closer trading relationship'

Icahn increases stake in Herbalife

Carl Icahn
Getty Images

Investor Carl Icahn will increase his stake in dietary supplement firm Herbalife following the company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The company changed its internal governance to allow Mr Icahn to raise the amount of shares he owns to 35%.

Mr Icahn said he was pleased with the board’s decision and praised the deal with the FTC.

Simply stated, the shorts [investors betting against the company] have been completely wrong on Herbalife. Now that the company has reached a settlement with the FTC, it is time to consider a range of strategic opportunities.

Carl IcahnInvestor

When will UK trigger Article 50?

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon
AFP/Getty Images

New Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted she'll wait until an approach has been agreed with Scotland before invoking Article 50 - the formal process of starting the UK's exit from the EU.

After meeting with Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon, Mrs May said she wouldn't trigger the departure until a "UK approach" has been agreed.

It comes after the new minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis, called for the withdrawal to start "before or by the start" of 2017.

However, Ms Sturgeon isn't quite on the same page. She said the Scottish people have had their vote on Brexit already and said "no".

Herbalife reaches deal with US regulators

Herbalife building
Getty Images

US dietary supplement firm Herbalife has reached a deal with the Federal Trade Commission to avoid being labelled a pyramid scheme.

The company will pay more than $200m (£150m) in fines.

The deal is a blow to activist investor Bill Ackman who has been betting against the company.

Herbalife shares rose almost 20%.

US industrial growth hits 10-month high

US car factory
Getty Images

US industrial production grew 0.6% in June - the largest increase in 10 months - on the back of a strong rebound in motor vehicle production. 

It's the best showing since a similar gain last August, according to Federal Reserve data. Industrial production fell 0.3% in May.

Wall Street pushes higher

US stocks have got off to a brisk start after strong retail and industrial production figures for June. 

The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 - which are trading at record highs after a strong recovery following the Brexit vote - are each up 0.2%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is up by the same percentage at the opening bell.

Steady sterling

The pound is holding steady today having risen against virtually all of its key peers during the past week. Theresa May’s appointment as prime minister has eased investors’ concerns over persisting political uncertainties, whilst yesterday’s surprise decision from the Bank of England not to reduce interest rates has also given the pound a lift."

Chris SaintSenior currency analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown

Pokemon cave rescue

The Pokemon Go phenomenon - which has taken the US by storm and sent Nintendo shares up 50% this week - is unfolding in the UK.

The augmented reality game, which sees people catching Pokemon characters on their phone in real-world locations, was released in UK app stores on Thursday.

And already it's leading people to some dark places. Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service has this warning after Pokemon players had to be saved from a cave.

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Wish you were here?

big red bus
The Communications Union

Look out for this giant 20 foot postcard - travelling on the side of a bus next week around England, Scotland and Wales. 

But it's not your usual summer greeting.

The bus is part of a campaign by The Communications Union to publicise what it says is "the crisis" facing the Post Office.

“The post office as we know it is on the brink of extinction. We’re asking the government to act now to protect the heart of the High Street," says CWU general secretary Dave Ward.

US retail sales beat expectations in June

Shoppers in a California furniture store
Getty Images

US retail sales rose 0.6% in June as Americans bought more cars, furniture and sporting goods, the US Commerce Department said.

It was the third month of retail growth and was higher than analyst expectations of a 0.1% increase. 

US consumer prices rise 0.2% in June

US consumer prices increased for a fourth month in a row in June as people paid more for housing, petrol and healthcare, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Africa rising

BBC Africa presenter Lerato Mbele has been interviewing Goldman Sachs' African boss.

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