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Summary

  1. Pound gains ground after Bank sees "no clear evidence" of slowdown
  2. FTSE 100 rises 0.5% to 6,728.99
  3. HSBC senior manager arrested in forex probe
  4. Microsoft leads US stocks higher
  5. Volkswagen announces strong first half profits
  6. UK employment tribunal considers status of Uber drivers
  7. Nintendo shares fall 4% after recent surge

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

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Good night

That's all from Business Live for another day - thanks for reading. Join us again tomorrow morning from 06:00 when we'll have coverage of company results, including Easyjet and SAB Miller, as well as June retail figures.

Malaysian fund 'hasn't benefited'

1MDB logo
Reuters

Malaysian state fund 1MDB has responded to a US investigation which claims people "misappropriated" more than $1bn of its assets. 

"1MDB highlights that it is not a party to the civil suit, does not have any assets in the United States of America, nor has it benefited from the various transactions described in the civil suit," it said in a statement.

US goes after funds in Wolf of Wall Street case

Wolf of Wall Street movie still
Getty Images

The US is looking to recover $1bn in assets it says were stolen from a Malaysian wealth fund, including money for the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Justice Department alleges the "misappropriated" funds from state fund 1MDB financed lavish lifestyles of "multiple individuals including public officials".

A producer of Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street is among those named in the case.

According to the complaint, wire transfers totaling $64m were used to fund a film studio's operations, including the production of the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  

S&P and Dow Jones set fresh records

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones have hit new record highs, finishing at 2,173 and 18,595 respectively.

Microsoft was among the biggest winners as it gained 5.3%. 

On the tech-heavy Nasdaq - which rose 1% to 5,090 - renewable energy company Ocean Power Technologies topped the leader board. 

Ocean Power was up 76% after heavy falls earlier in the week.

Lufthansa issues profit warning

Lufthansa planes
AFP/Getty Images

Lufthansa has cut its full-year profit target after a sharp decline in advance bookings to Europe.

Germany's largest airline blamed "terrorist attacks in Europe and greater political and economic uncertainty".

It comes after British Airways owner IAG and Easyjet also warned on profits as a result of political and economic uncertainty dampening travel demand.

Bank of England exec hints at rate cut delay

Kristin Forbes
Bank of England

A member of the Bank's rate-setting committee has hinted it should wait for more data before cutting interest rates.

Kristin Forbes writes in The Telegraph that the Bank can wait until it better understands the effects of the referendum before acting.

"There may be a case to adjust monetary policy soon. But until more hard data is available, I believe this is a good time to 'keep calm and carry on,'" she concludes.

At last week's meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, most members said they expected the Bank would take some action next month.

Turkish lira drops to new record low

Turkish soldiers detained following thwarted coup attempt
AFP

The Turkish lira has dropped to its lowest ever level against the dollar after its credit rating was cut following the weekend's attempted coup.

Ratings agency S&P downgraded Turkey's rating deeper into "junk status". It said "the polarisation of Turkey's political landscape has further eroded its institutional checks and balances". 

More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended in Turkey.

However, Korosh Farazad, chairman of Turkish investment bank Farazad Investments, told the BBC that investors weren't pulling funds out of the country.

He said the negative reaction is "mostly market jitters at the moment".

AB InBev's beer takeover approved by US regulator

Coors beers in fridge
Getty Images

Brewing giant AB InBev's blockbuster takeover of rival SAB Miller has taken another step closer after it was approved by the US Department of Justice.

The company agreed to sell SAB Miller's interest in brewer MillersCoors, which makes Coors beer, as part of the deal.

AB InBev said the agreement cleared the way for US approval, and was a "significant step" towards creating the world's largest beer company.

The £70bn acquisition received crucial approval from South Africa's competition authorities last month. 

May 'to appoint new business tsar'

Theresa May leaves Downing Street
AP

Theresa May wants to appoint a new business tsar to help form a “comprehensive industrial strategy”, according to the Financial Times

The business leader, who has yet to be chosen, would be the new prime minister’s “eyes and ears on the business scene”, the paper quoted people close to No 10 as saying.

Lord Alan Sugar was appointed enterprise tsar by David Cameron. The former PM also had Easyjet boss Carolyn McCall, outgoing Asda chief executive Andy Clarke, and Compass Group chairman Paul Walsh on his business advisory group.

Airbnb hires former US Attorney General

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Airbnb homepage
Getty Images

Accommodation-listing service Airbnb has hired former US Attorney General Eric Holder to help the company tackle discrimination. 

Airbnb has been criticised for not having safeguards in place to prevent hosts from discriminating against renters based on race. 

The hashtag #AirBnBWhileBlack began trending earlier this year as African Americans voiced their frustration over being turned down for certain listings. Many claimed when they inquired about renting a flat through Airbnb the host would say it was suddenly unavailable. 

In June the company announced it would review every aspect of its platform to help fight bias. 

Mr Holder has been brought on board to help Airbnb "craft a world-class anti-discrimination policy", the company said in a blog post

Snapchat boss engaged to model Miranda Kerr

Supermodel announces engagement to messaging app boss Evan Spiegel

Miranda Kerr announces engagement on Instagram
Instagram

Analysis: HSBC forex trader case

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

A senior British executive at HSBC and a former colleague have been accused of involvement in a scheme designed to generate profits at the expense of a major client.

It is claimed that the two executives bought sterling themselves before handling a foreign exchange conversion of $3.5bn, because they knew that such a large transaction would push up the value of the currency, and allow them to make money. 

They also timed the purchase in order to maximise its effect on the value of the British currency. As a result it's alleged they were able to generate significant profits. They are also accused of concealing their actions from the client. HSBC has refused to comment.

Shatter proof

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Pubs 'miss out on Euro 2016 boost'

England players react after defeat to Iceland
All sport/Getty Images

The Euro 2016 football championships failed to give pubs and restaurants a boost in June, according to pub chain Greene King.

British households spent £208 on drinking out and other leisure activities, a decrease of 3% on the same month last year, the Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker found. 

Greene King pointed to Euro 2016, which saw England dumped out in the second round by Iceland, as well as uncertainty from the EU referendum for consumers watching their spending. 

May: 'We are not walking away from European friends'

May meets Merkel

Theresa May and Angela Merkel
AFP/Getty Images

Theresa May is in Germany on her first foreign trip as Prime Minister and is speaking alongside Angela Merkel.

Mrs May reiterates that she will not trigger Article 50 this year - the clause which formally starts negotiations for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

This will disappoint some people, the PM acknowledges, but she feels it's better to be upfront about it now. 

Uber driver: 'I don't have a free choice'

John Moylan reports from the Uber tribunal in London...

Uber London t-shirt
PA

This test cases involves two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam.

On the first day of the tribunal case David Reade QC, acting for Uber, sought to demonstrate that Mr Farrar was self-employed as he can choose when he works.

"I don't believe I have a free choice" Mr Farrar said. "I consider Uber work as my job."

Mr Farrar also insisted that his pay was often lower than the national minimum wage.

In a witness statement he said that Uber claimed it paid him £13.77 on an average hourly basis, based upon the hours he was logged on to its driver's app.

But Mr Farrar insisted that his net earnings in August 2015 after expenses amounted to just £5.03 an hour.

David Reade QC suggested that during that period Mr Farrar had cancelled a high number of jobs sent by Uber.

But Mr Farrar denied this, claiming that the number of jobs he did per hour had been in line with Uber's recommendation.

"I don't see that I lost any money," he said. "I worked as hard as I could".

HSBC forex case - pair accused of 'front running'

The two traders are accused of misusing confidential information provided by an HSBC client, who planned to convert $3.5bn into pounds sterling.     

Mark Johnson, HSBC's global head of foreign exchange trading, was arrested at JFK airport in New York last night. He is facing charges, along with a former colleague, Stuart Scott. 

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) accuses the pair of "front-running". That means they are accused of using confidential information from the currency conversion to profit themselves.  

Financial stocks push FTSE higher

Meanwhile, on the markets, the FTSE 100 finished the day strongly to rise 0.5% to 6,728.99, having earlier dipped briefly into negative territory.

Strong gains for financial stocks, in particular, helped to offset falls among miners. Wealth manager St James' Place was the biggest winner - rising more than 4%. Financial services firm Legal & General and property investment group Land Securities also rose by around 3% each.

The FTSE 250 surged 0.7% to 17,018.89 - its highest level since the Brexit result. However, it's still 1.8% lower than before the referendum.

BreakingHSBC senior manager charged in forex probe

HSBC logo
AFP/Getty Images

A senior HSBC executive will be charged in the US for his role in a conspiracy to rig international currency markets, according to court documents seen by the BBC.

Mark Johnson, HSBC's global head of foreign exchange, is accused of using inside information to make money from a $3.5bn currency deal.

He is named in the court papers along with Stuart Scott, who also worked at HSBC on that deal.

HSBC has so far declined to comment.

BT broadband outage

Early retirement 'could be non-existent by 2029'

Payslip
Getty Images

By 2029 there could be no people taking early retirement, as older people are increasingly choosing to stay in work longer, insurance firm Aviva has predicted.

Workers aged 50+ are at the highest recorded level and accounted for almost a third of the UK's workforce, according to today's employment figures.

"Over 50s will become the leading group of workers within the decade, and the idea of 'early retirement' could be relegated to the dustbin of history if recent trends continue," said Alistair McQueen of Aviva.

The population of “early retirees” peaked at 1.6m in 2011, but has since declined to less than 1.2m. At that rate of decline, there would be no-one aged 16-64 who would be defined as retired by 2029, Aviva said.     

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Brexit 'could help smaller banks'

Metro Bank cash machines
Getty Images

A group of "challenger" banks trying to chip away at the dominance of the big high street players has highlighted the opportunities for the sector after Brexit.

In a letter to the Treasury Committee, seven banks say that leaving the EU "should allow HM Government to determine its own strategy for the regulation of banks" to help create a more level playing field.

Commenting on the letter, whose signatories include Metro Bank and Aldermore, committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, says: "Current EU legislation could be placing smaller banks at a disadvantage. This is because it risks imposing a ‘one size fits all’ approach to banking regulation.

"The Bank of England and the government both now need to consider whether the opportunity afforded by Brexit could enable the development of a regulatory regime less prejudicial to small and challenger banks."

'Racy Mayfair hedge fund scene'

Dominic O'Connell

Business Presenter, BBC Radio 4 Today programme

Pimco sign
Getty Images

When one of the pillars of the American money markets goes looking for a chief executive to rescue it from a tight spot, you might think a French-born and educated fixture of the racy Mayfair hedge fund scene would be last on its list.

But that's exactly where Pimco, a giant West Coast investment firm that has nearly $2 trillion (£1.5 trillion) under management, has ended up.

Read more from Dominic's blog here.

Wall Street open - S&P 500 hits new high

The S&P 500 headed to a fresh record high in early trading, as Microsoft led the way and pushed US stocks higher. 

Microsoft was the biggest riser - its shares gaining more than 5% - and nudged other tech stocks into positive territory, after it reported a boost in quarterly profits.

The S&P rose 0.2% to 2,168.92, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.6% to 5,068.45 and the Dow Jones edged up less than 0.1% to 18,571.07.

Italy eyes private deal to bail out bank

Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Reuters

Italy is eyeing a “private sector” solution to rescue Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, in an attempt to sidestep tough EU rules on bailouts, the Financial Times reports. 

However, Rome’s main options to prop up the heavily indebted bank involve using funds from a state-backed Italian bank. 

That raises the risk of running foul of EU curbs on state bailouts.

On Tuesday the European Court of Justice backed EU guidelines designed to prevent taxpayers from footing the bill for bailing out stricken lenders.

Banks 'reassure staff' after referendum

BBC business journalist Ramzan Karmali is reporting comments from the head of the Financial Conduct Authority...

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Chinese firms surge in Fortune 500

Shanghai roads lit up by electricity from China State Grid
Getty Images

Three Chinese firms have made it into the top five biggest companies in the world, as measured by the Fortune 500.

China's State Grid, the world's biggest power company, has risen to 2nd place, behind US supermarket group Walmart. Oil and gas firms, China National Petroleum and Sinopec Group, were third and fourth respectively in this year's rankings.

However, a slowdown in China's economy is cited by Fortune as one of the reasons for cumulative sales of the world's 500 largest companies dropping to $27.6 trillion - the first fall since 2010.

The Top 10 companies by revenue (in millions of $) were: 

1 Walmart $482,130 

2 State Grid $329,601 

3 China National Petroleum $299,271 

4 Sinopec Group $294,344 

5 Royal Dutch Shell $272,156 

6 Exxon Mobil $246,204 

7 Volkswagen $236,600 

8 Toyota Motor $236,592 

9 Apple $233,715 

10 BP $225,982 

BreakingHSBC executive arrested at New York airport - report

A senior executive at HSBC was arrested at JFK International Airport in New York as part of an investigation into foreign-exchange rigging, Bloomberg reports.

Mark Johnson, HSBC's global head of foreign exchange cash trading in London, is scheduled to appear before a judge in New York later today, Bloomberg reported, citing two anonymous sources.

If confirmed, he would be the first person to be charged in the US Justice Department's three-year investigation into rigging of key currency rates.

HSBC declined to comment.

'Brexit Blues'

Sir James Goldsmith
PA

The EU referendum result is a classic example of the "Overton window" - where ideas that start outside the political mainstream later become acceptable, writes John Lanchester, author of the novel Capital. 

When that happens, "the window has moved, and rough beasts come slouching through it to be born", he writes in the London Review of Books.

In 1994, billionaire James Goldsmith (pictured) set up the Referendum Party to deliver a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. At the time, it was "a long, long way outside the political mainstream".

"The story of how that idea, self-evidently ridiculous in 1997, came to be a reality in 2016 is going to be often retold as we live through its consequences over the next few decades," Lanchester writes.

Now that it has happened, and the UK voted to exit the EU, the main outcome is that many of the Leave voters will be betrayed, Lanchester argues. 

Many working-class voters chose Leave to control immigration, he says, but anything other than access to the EU single market - and with it free movement of labour - will be "inflicting severe economic damage on ourselves", he concludes.

Beware 'Brexitosis'

We have a new Brexit coinage for you. George Trefgarne, founder of communications firm Boscobel & Partners, warns of "Brexitosis" - it's "a malady brought on by the psychological trauma of the recent vote to leave the European Union". 

The term was coined by Nigel Lanning, a former fund manager, and its symptoms apparently include proclamations of: imminent recession; flight of global investors; and a collapse of the pound.

"The feverish hallucinations of Brexitosis are, thankfully, beginning to recede, cured by reality," Mr Trefgarne writes in The Times.

Investors are not fleeing, the ARM-Softbank deal shows international confidence in UK businesses, and the UK can use the EU's free-trade deal with Canada as a basis for its own agreement, he writes. 

"There is scope for disappointment, argumentation and delay ahead but we must hope nonetheless that the victims of Brexitosis recover during the summer holiday."

FTSE 100 heads lower

FTSE 100
BBC

The FTSE 100 has fallen into negative territory. At one stage this morning it was trading at 6,736 but has now retreated to 6,695.

Mining shares are weighing heavily, with Anglo American tumbling by 9%.

However the FTSE 250 is pushing higher, up by 0.7%.

Electrocomponents is the leading stock on that index with a near 10% gain, following an upbeat trading statement.

Saudi Arabian clerics renew Pokemon fatwa

Pokemon t-shirt
EPA

Saudi Arabia's top clerics have renewed a fatwa, originally issued in 2001, against Pokemon, according to Reuters.

The edict says Pokemon contains elements probited by Islamic law including, what the clerics consider, to be the use of multiple deities, gambling and the promotion of evolution.

The edict does not specifically mention the Pokemon Go mobile game that has recently taken off.

Insurance claims and lies

BBC personal finance correspondent Brian Milligan tweets:

Will Article 50 be triggered at all?

According to bookmakers Sky Bet there's only a 50/50 chance that Article 50 will be triggered by the UK government.

Article 50 will start a two-year negotiation period that will end with the UK leaving the European Union.

But the UK has to inform the EU that it wishes to invoke it - until then the UK remains a member of the EU.

First impressions