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Summary

  1. Netflix and Goldman Sachs drag Wall Street lower
  2. FTSE 100 ends flat at 6,697 points
  3. MPs threaten to break up BT over broadband
  4. UK inflation rate rises to 0.5% in June
  5. Nintendo's market value overtakes Sony on Pokemon Go success

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all from Business Live for another day - thanks for reading. Join us again from 06:00 tomorrow for all the day's business news and views.

Cloud boosts Microsoft

Microsoft reported substantial growth in its cloud computing unit, which helped to boost profits to $3.1bn( £2.4bn) in the three months to June - far better than the $3.2bn loss reported for the same period last year. 

Messy business

There are people making millions from your pet's poo, reports BBC Capital.

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BreakingHundreds of jobs at risk at fashion retailer

Store Twenty One home page
Storetwentyone.com

More than 500 jobs are at risk after fashion chain Store Twenty One agreed to close 77 stores as part of a rescue deal with landlords.

The retailer, which traces its roots back to 1932, said the shops were "not viable" even if they could have negotiated heavily reduced rents. 

Store Twenty One secured a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), a form of insolvency, with its landlords to change its rent on more than 100 of its remaining stores. 

The deal, agreed last week, will save about 1,200 full-time jobs, according to the company.

Pravin Soni, director of Store Twenty One, said it had been a "very difficult time" for staff, but that the firm looked forward to making the "business a success for many years to come".

James Keates, restructuring partner at Shoosmiths law firm, said the "complex arrangement" would make the business healthier.

The group’s Bewise and QS businesses have already called in administrators.  

Switching off Netflix...

Netflix
Getty Images

Peter White from Broadcast Now tells Susannah Streeter on World Business Report why some Netflix subscribers have decided to cancel their subscriptions.

Listen here.  

Panama Papers taskforce still waiting

Mossack Fonseca office sign
AFP/Getty Images

A £10m taskforce set up by David Cameron to investigate allegations of tax dodging in the Panama Papers scandal is still waiting for the documents, according to an MP.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq said she was "astonished" the taskforce "still doesn't actually have the Panama Papers in its possession".

Ministers admitted the taskforce, led by HMRC and the National Crime Agency, has faced "logistical barriers" in acquiring the relevant documents. 

Earlier this year, the huge leak of confidential documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca revealed details of hundreds of clients' tax affairs, including those of Mr Cameron's late father.

Making music

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Moby
Getty Images

Did you know The Economist also makes films? No, neither did I, but it does. It's taken a look at whether musicians still need a record deal to become stars given the rise of "artist services" companies such as Kobalt, which has the likes of Moby (pictured) - who is interviewed in the film - and Pet Shop Boys on its roster of artists.

Watch the film here.

Trump to 'nominate ex-Goldman banker as Treasury sec'

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Steve Mnuchin
Getty Images

US presidential candidate Donald Trump said he plans to nominate ex-Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin, as his Treasury Secretary if elected president, according to a report in Fortune magazine.

Mr Mnuchin is serving as Mr Trump's campaign finance manager.

If appointed he would follow a decades long list of US Treasury secretaries that came from Wall Street. 

BlackBerry deals fail to impress

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

BlackBerry logo
Reuters

Troubled BlackBerry said it had signed a five-year, multimillion-dollar deal to run emergency notifications for the US Senate and expanded a deal with the US Coast Guard to cover staff in Washington, DC. 

The Canadian company also said that the US Department of Defense - one of its largest customers - had approved its mobile management system and phone software, giving it an advantage as a preferred vendor. 

Still, investors were not impressed, sending BlackBerry shares down 1.6% in New York to $6.62 - valuing the company at a mere $3.5bn. 

Nick McQuire of CCS Insight said: "If you are going to be a security company, you have to be known for that neutrality in the market. From my conversations with many of its customers, there's still a tremendous amount of confusion out there around BlackBerry because of the handset business." 

No pills?

Financial Times political hack Jim Pickard tweets:

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'Velvet divorce'

Prime Minister Theresa May has been speaking with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, about the UK's withdrawal from the EU. He tweeted...

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He strikes a softer note than Jean Claude-Juncker, another senior EU official, who said after the Brexit vote that it wouldn't be an "amicable divorce". 

Mr Tusk's comment may also be a nod to the Velvet Revolution - a largely non-violent transition of power away from Communist rule in what was then Czechoslovakia.

London Uber drivers take a trip to the tribunal

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Uber
Getty Images

Two London drivers are taking Uber to an employment tribunal, arguing that the ride service is acting unlawfully by not offering rights such as holiday and sick pay, in a test case that could force the app to change its business model. 

Uber says its 30,000 London drivers can work when they choose and receive on average more than the minimum wage. 

A ruling in favour of the two drivers bringing this test case could lead to many more coming forward. 

Annie Powell, employment lawyer at firm Leigh Day, says: "This claim is vital for the thousands of Uber drivers who work in England and Wales and has implications even wider than that. We are seeing a creeping erosion of employment rights as companies misclassify their workers as self-employed so as to avoid paying them holiday pay and the national minimum wage."

The tribunal is expected to last until the start of next week but a decision is not expected for several weeks after that. 

WhatsApp: please try again later

WhatsApp app
Getty Images

More on the news that Brazil has blocked WhatsApp for the third time after it failed to cooperate in a criminal investigation.

The Facebook-owned messaging platform says that encrypted messages sent through its app are not stored on its servers - an argument that has won on appeal, quickly reversing recent blockages that still show the vast discretionary power of Brazil's lower courts. 

"As we've said in the past, we cannot share information we don't have access to. We hope to see this block lifted as soon as possible," a WhatsApp spokesperson said.

The office of Brazil's attorney-general reiterated its position that judges who suspend WhatsApp are incorrectly interpreting a 2014 law meant to provide a legal framework for the internet. 

US market update

A quick look at trading on Wall Street, where US stock markets have headed slightly lower after a three-week rally lost momentum. Goldman Sachs and Netflix are among those dragging the stocks down after their results disappointed the markets.

The S&P 500 is down 7 points at 2,159.90.

The Dow Jones is down 10 points at 18,523.66.

Nasdaq is 20 points lower at 4,599.49. 

Bayer 'disappointed' at Monsanto rejection

Monsanto logo
Getty Images

German chemicals firm Bayer said it would continue talking to genetically-modified crops specialist Monsanto, despite having a second takeover bid turned down.

Bayer said it was "disappointed" the firm rejected the improved offer, estimated to be worth around $65bn.

Bayer shares dropped 1.2% in Frankfurt, while Monsanto is flat after initially rising 1%.

Dunne Group workers 'sent home'

Before it was confirmed that Scottish contractor Dunne Group had gone into administration, various reports suggested workers had been sent home from some construction sites.

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BreakingScottish construction firm collapses

The Dunne Group, a Scottish construction firm whose projects included three skyscrapers in London, has gone into administration.

The collapse of The Dunne Group led to the immediate loss of almost all its 540 staff.

Administrators said the business faced "substantial trading losses" on some contracts, leading to "severe cash flow pressures".

The Dunne Group specialises in building the concrete structures for buildings. Its projects included museums, hospitals and three high-profile sites in London - Newington Butts, 100 Bishopsgate and One Blackfriars. 

Turnover last year was £74m and forecast this year at £96m, administrators said. 

WhatsApp blocked in Brazil

Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp has been suspended in Brazil for the third time. BBC South America business correspondent Daniel Gallas explains...

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BreakingAngela Eagle pulls out of Labour leadership race

The former shadow business secretary has ended her Labour leadership bid, leaving Owen Smith as the sole challenger to party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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UK at risk of 'housebuilding slowdown'

Builder constructing a roof
PA

Social housing groups have warned that the UK is heading towards a damaging slowdown in housebuilding.

Steep falls in house builder shares suggest there's been a loss of confidence in UK construction, the National Housing Federation said. 

The body warned that the uncertainty following the Brexit vote could lead to a drop-off in new houses similar to the 2008 recession.

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation said: “The warning signs are flashing amber - housebuilding may be set for a slowdown - but housing associations have a track record of building through tough times. Demand for good quality rented homes remains high."

The federation said the government should allow more flexibility in existing funding so that housing associations can step in and build 300,000 extra homes. 

Coca-Cola bottling business tops FTSE

Coca-Cola delivery truck in Red Square, Moscow
Coca-Cola HBC

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, which sells Coca-Cola drinks in Europe and Russia, topped the leader board on the FTSE 100 after its shares rose more than 3%.

It surged after analysts at JP Morgan said it stood to gain from the economic uncertainty in Europe. 

"The soft drinks category is very resilient to macroeconomic volatility, which bodes well for CCH given current uncertainty in Europe," JP Morgan said in a note. 

"We believe CCH is well placed to take on additional bottling assets in key territories." 

Miners hold back FTSE

Rio Tinto underground mine in Mongolia
Rio Tinto

The FTSE 100 finished just 2 points higher at 6,697.37, as mining stocks held back gains.

Commodities giants Rio Tinto, Glencore, BHP Billiton and Antofagasta were the top four biggest fallers on the blue-chip index. They each dropped by around 3%.

The FTSE 250 of mid-cap UK businesses edged up 0.2% to 16,906.26.

Meanwhile, the pound is still down against the dollar, having fallen 0.9% so far today to $1.3135.

VW: US states' lawsuits 'not new'

Volkswagen has criticised the decision of three US states to file lawsuits on the emissions scandal. 

The allegations are "essentially not new" and VW has been addressing them in discussions with US federal and state authorities, the German carmaker said. 

"It is regrettable that some states have decided to sue for environmental claims now, notwithstanding their prior support of this ongoing federal-state collaborative process.” 

Volkswagen has agreed to buy back or repair the affected two-litre diesel vehicles, set up a $2.7bn environmental fund for US states, and invested $2bn to encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles, the company said. 

Three US states sue VW over emissions scandal

Volkswagen logo
Getty Images

New York, Massachusetts and Maryland have filed lawsuits against Volkswagen (VW), in relation to to the carmaker's emission-cheating scandal.

The lawsuits allege VW violated state environmental laws and defrauded regulators. 

The suits are separate from a $15.3bn settlement the company reached with federal regulators, several states and owners last month. 

How to pronounce BEIS: "bays" or "bees"?

Civil servants in the new-look Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department are getting their heads around how to pronounce the ministry's acronym - BEIS. 

The Telegraph's energy editor Emily Gosden explains the task facing the new Business Secretary, Greg Clark.

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Acronym explainer: BIS was the old Business, Industry and Skills department; DECC is the now defunct Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Hot weather: 'Ensure a sufficient resilience plan is in place'

Woman sunbathes in St James Park, London
PA

Struggling with the heatwave? Thankfully, the Federation of Small Businesses has come to the rescue with advice on how to handle the hot weather in the office.

Among the tips are "ensure a sufficient resilience plan is in place", and "where appropriate, provide air-cooling devices".

Other gems include:

  • Make sure shade is available to employees; this may require the use of blinds, reflective film or moving desks.
  • Allow additional breaks for employees to cool down.
  • Provide extra facilities, for example extra water coolers to ensure staff stay hydrated.
  • Where possible and health and safety dependent, employers could relax formal dress codes.
  • Identify employees particularly at risk from heat and ensure specific precautionary measures are in place for them.

If all those fail, the woman in St James' Park, London above has the right idea.

Britain 'still open for business'

The Treasury has responded to the International Monetary Fund cutting its growth forecast for the UK economy - from 2.2% to 1.3% next year - following the Brexit vote.

"The decision to leave the European Union marks a new phase for the British economy, but the message we take to the world is this: our country remains open for business," a Treasury spokesperson said. 

"We are the same outward-looking, globally-minded, big-thinking country we have always been. 

"We are stronger than we were in 2010 and well-placed to rise to the challenges ahead."

Brexit: Possible 'severe' scenarios

International Monetary Fund tweets after downgrading global growth forecasts

House of Cards producer 'shorts' Netflix

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright at House of Cards premiere
AP

House of Cards, the US political intrigue drama starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as the power hungry Underwoods, is one of Netflix's most successful shows.

But one of its main producers, Dana Brunetti, has revealed he would bet against - or "short" - Netflix's stock.

Brunetti, a former stockbroker, told CNBC that the video streaming space is "really going to get crowded". 

"There's still some room to make some money on that, but in the long run [Netflix is] getting a bit overvalued," he said.

Sensing that he might on slippery ground, he added: "And I'm also talking about people that I work with, so I got to be careful."  

BreakingWall Street opens lower

Netflix logo
Reuters

US stock markets have fallen in the opening minutes of trading, as Netflix's weak results dragged on tech stocks and Goldman Sachs pulled financial shares down.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 2,161 points and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell by a similar amount to 4,607. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down a fraction at 18,519 points. 

Shares in video streaming service Netflix plunged 13%, while Goldman Sachs shares were down 0.8% despite the bank reporting better-than-expected revenues in the second quarter. 

'Vauxhall Zafira saga drags on'

Vauxhall logo
Getty Images

Vauxhall chiefs appeared this morning before MPs on the Transport Committee to answer questions about compensation for customers whose Zafira B cars have caught fire.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity RAC Foundation, said: "The Zafira saga drags on, yet the biggest question probably relates to the future, not the past. 

"Vauxhall announced in May that its latest recall will be staggered and won't start until next month [August]. How does that square with what appears to be an ongoing fire risk?" 

IMF, "positive signs" & UK downgrade

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Sometimes you need to look at the horizon to understand what is going on at your feet.

The Brexit debate can often appear a little parochial - a "looking at your feet" discussion about the UK economy, which seems to take little notice of the wider global economic context in which Britain sits.

But, looking at the horizon, a different picture can emerge.

And it is one where many more are now arguing that a better performing China, stronger economic data from the European continent and financial markets that have maintained relative resilience could wash away some of the ill-effects of the uncertainty coursing though the British economy.

A rising global tide lifts all boats.

Even if one might have a bit of hole in it.

For the rest of Kamal Ahmed's blog click here.

Brexit effects 'exceptionally uncertain'

The International Monetary Fund said it came up with two models for the economic impact of Brexit - moderately worse, and much worse.

How bad it is depends on: the UK’s ultimate trade relationship with the remainder of the EU and the wider world; the length of the negotiations; markets’ difficulty in working out the depressing effects on demand; and the possibility of widespread banking-sector stress in the euro area. 

At the moment the IMF is leaning towards the "moderately worse" scenario because markets have been resilient in the weeks following the referendum.

Still, the future effects of Brexit are "exceptionally uncertain", which makes it difficult to forecast precisely, said Maury Obstfeld, IMF economic counsellor.

BreakingBrexit 'spanner' in the IMF's economic forecast

The International Monetary Fund says the UK's decision to leave the European Union has "thrown a spanner in the works" of its global growth forecast.

In its just-published World Economic Outlook, the IMF cuts global growth this year from 3.2% to 3.1%. For 2017, growth is revised down from 3.5% to 3.4%.

The IMF warns that the UK will be the worst affected of all advanced economies, with growth this year cut from 1.7% to 1.5%. Next year's growth forecast is slashed from 2.2% to 1.3%. 

Brexit "implies a substantial increase in economic, political, and institutional uncertainty," the report said.

Maury Obstfeld, IMF Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department, adds: "The first half of 2016 revealed some promising signs, for example, stronger than expected growth in the euro area and Japan, as well as a partial recovery in commodity prices that helped several emerging and developing economies. 

"As of June 22, we were therefore prepared to upgrade our 2016-17 global growth projections slightly. But Brexit has thrown a spanner in the works."

Younger generation priced out of the housing market - IFS

BBC Radio 4

People in their 20s and 30s are being "priced out of the housing market in a way that they weren't in the 70s and 80s", according to Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The IFS released a report today which found the "new poor" are likely to be in work and younger than in the past.

"Inequality hasn't risen. It's essentially the same as it was 20 years ago," Mr Johnson told Radio 4's You and Yours programme.

However, what the IFS has seen is a "stagnation of living standards", particularly for younger people trying to get on the property ladder, he said.

Sterling slips

Pound coins and notes
PA

The pound is down 1% against the dollar at $1.3119 and is more than a cent lower against the euro after breaking above €1.20 yesterday.

"Today’s slightly higher than expected inflation reading did little to boost the pound’s attractions," said Chris Saint of Hargreaves Lansdown.

Video: BT split would 'derail' investment

BT's chairman has warned that splitting Openreach from BT would 'derail' the investments the firm is making in high-speed broadband.Sir Mike Rake was defending his company after MPs warned that BT would have to raise investment in broadband, or risk having Openreach split from BT.  

This content only works in the UK.

BT warns that splitting the firm would 'derail' investment

Monsanto rejects sweetened Bayer offer

Monsanto has rejected the latest takeover approach from Germany's Bayer.

Back in May Bayer made a $62bn offer for Monsanto, and in July raised its offer to more than $64bn.

Combined the companies would form the world's biggest agricultural supplier.

Monsanto Company today announced that its board of directors unanimously views Bayer AG’s revised proposal as financially inadequate and insufficient to ensure deal certainty. Monsanto remains open to continued and constructive conversations with Bayer and other parties to assess whether a transaction that the board believes is in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be realized.

Monsanto statement