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Summary

  1. Mastercard agrees £700m deal for Vocalink
  2. FTSE 100 falls 0.4% to 6,699.89
  3. Easyjet warns over pound and consumer confidence
  4. ECB holds main interest rate at 0%
  5. William Hill chief executive ousted
  6. Singaporean authorities target banks in 1 MDB scandal
  7. UK retail sales fell 0.9% in June

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

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Good night!

That's all from Business Live for Thursday - thanks for reading. We're back bright and early at 06:00 tomorrow. Join us then.  

Visa and Paypal agree US tie-up

Visa card
PA

Visa and Paypal have signed a partnership to work more closely together in the US.

The deal will enable Paypal users to pay in retail stores and withdraw funds from a bank account via a Visa debit card.

In turn Paypal will make it easier for its customers to use Visa accounts.

Separately, Visa reported a steep fall in profits in the second quarter due to costs from the acquisition of its European sister company. 

The credit card firm also announced it would buy back $5bn of company shares. 

Fox News boss resigns

Roger Ailes
Getty Images

Fox News Channel boss Roger Ailes has resigned, 21st Century Fox has confirmed.

It comes two weeks after former presenter Gretchen Carlson sued Mr Ailes for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, claims he denies.  

Rupert Murdoch will take over as chairman and acting chief executive of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. 

Wall Street cools off

US stock markets have finished lower after days of rising to new record highs.

The Dow Jones ended its longest winning streak since 2013 as it fell 0.4% to 18,517.23.

The S&P 500 also dropped 0.4% to 2,165.17, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.3% to 5,073.90.

Analysts pointed to disappointing results from Intel - whose shares lost 4% - for the change in mood.

Stellar line-up

Strong speakers on tomorrow's Wake Up to Money - starting at 05:15...

Amazon gets into student loan business

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Amazon packages
Getty Images

Internet retail giant Amazon is entering the student loan business. 

The e-commerce firm is teaming up with US bank Wells Fargo to cut 0.5% from the interest rate of borrowers who sign up for Amazon's "Prime Student" service. 

Wells Fargo's head of personal lending said the partnership would help the bank get exposure for its products and allow Amazon to build membership for "Prime Student". 

Babcock suffers shareholder revolt

Babcock crane
Getty Images

Engineering services group Babcock has suffered a backlash from shareholders over bonuses for two departing executives.

The FTSE 100 firm's remuneration report was passed at its annual meeting earlier, but 42% of votes cast opposed it.

Investors were protesting at two senior executives, who are retiring this year, being included in incentive schemes despite leaving the business, The Telegraph reported.

Babcock is involved in building and training projects across a range of sectors. Its clients include Royal Navy, Network Rail and London Fire Brigade. 

'Sooner the better' for Brexit talks, says French President

Theresa May and Francois Hollande
PA

Theresa May is in Paris for talks with French President Francois Hollande.

Mr Hollande says for France it's "the sooner the better" that the UK starts negotiations with the EU about its withdrawal.

However, he also understands Mr May's new government "needs time".

The French President goes on to say that the UK needs to choose between allowing free movement of Europeans into Britain and restricted trade with the EU. 

Ich bin ein trolley wash

British-built Facebook drone flies for 90 minutes

BBC World Service

Facebook's Aquila drone takes to the air

Facebook says it's taken a big step forward with a plan to provide an internet connection to remote villages in under-served parts of the world, especially Africa and India, reports BBC World Service.

A full-sized solar-powered drone that it's hoped will one day beam internet signals from the sky has had its first flight in the US. 

Facebook's UK-built unmanned aircraft flew for 90 minutes but the social media giant said big advances in technology were needed before it could deploy them for weeks at a time to several billion potential customers.

Brexit: Key quotes from non-UK figures

BBC Monitoring

Boris Johnson and John Kerry
Getty Images

Read key quotes from high-profile international figures on Britain's vote to leave the EU, as compiled by BBC Monitoring between 14 and 21 July.  

US housing market 'very close' to full potential

Sold sign
Getty Images

Sales of existing homes in the US rose for the fourth straight month in June to an annual pace of 5.57 million. 

Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial Corporation, said he expects the market to be at full speed in the next few months.   

The growth is seen as a sign that the housing market is finally shaking off the slack caused by the recession. But a lack of housing inventory could become a problem as demand increases from first-time buyers.

I was hoping for [the June figures] to be a bit higher, but it look it as if the market is very very close to reaching its full potential at this points

Mark FlemingChief economist, First American Financial Corporation

How do I avoid being ripped off by a scam?

BBC iWonder

Cyber hack
Reuters

Almost six million frauds and cyber crimes were committed last year in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

It's the first time the ONS has included questions about fraud in the official Crime Survey. 

An estimated two million computer misuse offences took place and 3.8 million fraud offences in the 12 months.

Most were related to bank and credit card frauds.

Click here for BBC iWonder's guide on how to avoid falling victim to scams.

Watchdog fines Fitch Ratings €1.4m

Spot the difference

The new Chancellor of the Exchequer's comments on the Vocalink takeover bear some resemblance to his reaction to UK chip designer ARM passing into Japanese ownership. 

On the Softbank-ARM deal, Philip Hammond said:

"Just three weeks after the referendum decision, it shows that Britain has lost none of its allure to international investors.

"Britain is open for business - and open to foreign investment. Softbank's decision confirms that Britain remains one of the most attractive destinations globally for investors to create jobs and wealth."

Chancellor Hammond welcomes Vocalink takeover

Chancellor Philip Hammond said Mastercard's takeover of Vocalink showed confidence in the UK economy. 

His comments echo those he used to greet the takeover of the UK's biggest listed tech company, ARM Holdings, on Monday.

"Mastercard's decision to buy Vocalink shows that Britain remains an attractive destination for international investors. Britain is and continues to be an open and globally facing country in which to do business," he said. 

Mastercard eyes 'bigger role in UK' through Vocalink takeover

Cashpoint
PA

The US credit card company has agreed to buy 92.4% of UK payments clearing business Vocalink.

Mastercard chief executive Ajay Banga said the £700m deal would enable it to "play a bigger role in payments in the UK, a very strategic market for us".

Last year Vocalink reported £182m revenue as it processed more than 11 billion transactions.  

As well as the UK, its technology is also used in Sweden, Singapore, Thailand and the US.

The 18 banks that currently own Vocalink will retain a 7.6% share for three years and could receive an extra £169m depending on future targets. 

Who is Vocalink?

Vocalink isn't a household name, but its technology is used by nearly every business and person in the UK. 

Owned by 18 banks, including HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS, it runs the systems for crucial payments like salaries, household bills and direct debits. 

Vocalink also runs 70,000 UK cashpoints.  

The takeover by Mastercard comes after the UK Payment Systems Regulator called in February for banks to sell their stake in Vocalink to "open the market". 

BreakingMastercard to buy UK payments firm for £700m

Mastercard credit card
PA

Mastercard will buy UK payments company Vocalink for about £700m ($920m).

VocaLink processes 90% of UK salaries and a high proportion of household bills and state benefits.

It is the second major acquisition of a UK company following the Brexit vote, after chip designer ARM agreed to a £24bn takeover by Japanese tech firm Softbank on Monday.

Minister pledges clarity for farmers

Silhouette of a tractor collecting silage bails
Getty Images

Environment Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble reminds peers that "until we leave [the EU] it's business as usual" and farmers must continue to comply with EU regulations. 

He says on questions over financial support: "We fully recognise the need to give clarity to farmers and other land managers".

He adds that the government is going to dedicate itself to an "exciting new vision of British agriculture".

BreakingFTSE hits turbulence as airline stocks fall

Easyjet plane comes in to land
Reuters

The FTSE 100 finished 0.4% lower at 6,699.89 after spending most of the day in negative territory.

The blue-chip index was dragged down by airline shares after Easyjet warned of the costs of the pound's post-referendum slump. 

Easyjet fell more than 5% and British Airways owner IAG dropped nearly 4%.

The FTSE 250 of mid-sized UK firms rose 0.2% to 17,047.42.

William Hill was one of the biggest winners - rising more than 10% - after it ousted its chief executive James Henderson. 

Newspaper sales surge following Brexit

Newspaper headlines after Brexit
Getty Images

The UK's vote to leave the European Union gave readers a renewed appetite for newspapers last month.

Almost 3 million extra national newspapers were sold in June compared with the month before, according to circulation figures. 

Newspaper sales of The Guardian, The Times and The Sun all rose by more than 2%, while Sunday newspapers also performed strongly.

The Brexit vote also helped drive record traffic to news sites. 

The Independent, which went online-only in March, saw the biggest boost with a 44% rise. Mail Online and the Guardian website also recorded their highest daily unique browsers.

Markets 'shrug' after ECB rate decision

Markets shrugged after the ECB left interest rates and other policies unchanged. There was no real expectation of the ECB adding to measures only recently implemented, so there was little in the way of market disappointment when indeed nothing new was announced. Stocks proved fairly resilient while the euro only rose modestly during the ECB press conference before falling back."

Jasper LawlerMarket analyst at CMC Markets

Draghi a 'reliable boyfriend'

Mario Draghi
AFP/Getty Images

ECB president Mario Draghi played the part of the reliable boyfriend just right, according to ETX Capital's Neil Wilson. 

Draghi delivered enough soothing tones to keep equities on an even keel and not rattle investors, he said.

The euro has dropped back slightly after initially rising during Draghi's press conference. It's currently 0.1% down against the dollar at $1.10.  

Bank of England governor Mark Carney was first dubbed an "unreliable boyfriend" by an MP. That nickname was resurrected by some investors last week after the Bank's unexpected decision to keep interest rates unchanged.

London mayor: Business leaders worried about losing access to single market
London mayor Sadiq Khan has said senior London business figures have expressed their concern about the affect losing access to the European single market could have on London.
Mayor of Frankfurt: If you want to become rich, come to Frankfurt
Frankfurt's mayor tells London businesses: "If you want to become rich, come to Frankfurt. If you want to become isolated... stay in London."

Death of the video

BBC presenter Adam Parsons tweets...

Energy drink ban urged for under-16s

Red Bull cans
Getty Images

Under 16s should be banned from buying energy drinks, according to a new report.

High levels of caffeine, sugar and calories in the drinks pose health risks to children, the report by academics for the Food Research Collaboration found. 

They said the ban is needed on top of the sugar tax already announced on soft drinks.

Former HSBC trader denies forex fraud

HSBC office in Canary Wharf
PA

Stuart Scott, a former HSBC employee charged with fraud in the US, has said he "strongly denies the allegations"

The 43-year-old was once the bank's head of foreign exchange cash trading for Europe. 

Mr Scott was accused of using inside information to profit from a $3.5bn (£2.6bn) currency deal, along with former HSBC colleague Mark Johnson. 

HSBC has not commented on the allegations, but has said it is co-operating with law enforcement officials.

US stocks retreat from record highs

Intel logo
Reuters

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 have slipped from record highs in the opening minutes of trading on Wall Street.

The Dow has fallen 0.2% to 18,555, while the S&P is down 0.1% to 2,171.

Intel was one of the biggest fallers, dropping 4% after reporting a sharp drop in earnings overnight.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 0.1% to 5,093.05.

Through the ages...

Peer into the shopping baskets which have been used to measure inflation

Bank shares rise after Draghi support

Unicredit Tower, Milan
EPA

European bank stocks have jumped following Mario Draghi's support for a "public backstop" of heavily failing banks.

The Euro Stoxx index of bank shares is now up 1.2% for the day. Shares in Italian bank UniCredit were among the biggest risers - it's now up 4% today.

UniCredit (whose Milan head office is pictured) is one of the Italian banks which is weighed down by bad loan books. 

Draghi rejects 'conflict of interest' claims over his son

Mario Draghi
Reuters

Mario Draghi's son works as a trader in London - a situation that the ECB president has been grilled about before. 

He is asked again if it's a problem, particularly as London's role in euro area banking is under scrutiny after the Brexit vote.

"It's not a conflict of interest," he says.

'Public backstop' needed for failing banks, Draghi says

Mario Draghi has backed the idea of a "public backstop" to support banks in exceptional circumstances.

Italian banks in particular are still weighed down by bad – or non-performing – loan books.  

However, EU rules have put curbs on governments from using public funds to bail the banks out. 

Some kind of backstop is "even more important given the existing rules", Mr Draghi says.

Another company to benefit from the weak pound...

watches
Getty Images

The Swiss watchmaker Swatch has had a rough six months. It has posted its lowest first-half profit for seven years, due to a slump in demand in Hong Kong, France and Switzerland.

In the UK, however, it said the weak pound had led to "a strong July start".

Draghi: Turkey's thwarted coup 'unlikely to affect eurozone'

Mario Draghi at ECB press conference
AP

The ECB president says it's "very difficult to see an impact on the eurozone economy ... in the immediate future" from the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

He does, however, say that geopolitical risks more generally could have an impact. 

ECB 'ready, willing and able' to act on Brexit

ECB tweets comments from Mario Draghi's press conference...

Draghi sanguine on Brexit growth risk

Forecasts of a growth hit to the euro area following the referendum result should be taken with a "grain of caution", ECB president Mario Draghi says. 

The ECB has made very early estimates of a 0.3-0.5 percentage point hit to eurozone growth over three years after Brexit.  

"All that can be said is that it's a risk that's materialised, and it's a downside risk."

Euro spikes during Draghi press conference

Euro dollar
Bloomberg

The euro has strengthened against the dollar while Mr Draghi has been speaking.

It peaked at $1.1057 and a short while ago was trading at $1.1044, about a third of a cent higher for the session.