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Summary

  1. EDF boss 'knew about Hinkley delay'
  2. Fed fines Goldman Sachs $36m
  3. Indian parliament backs key GST bill
  4. UK poised for potential rate cut
  5. Head of World Bank defends globalisation
  6. Ofgem to cap cost of pre-payment meters

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

 That is all from the Business live page for today. We'll be back from 6am tomorrow. Have a good night.   

Tesla losses widen

More on those Tesla results....

The company, run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, said its net loss widened to $293.2m in Q2, from $184.2m a year earlier. 

Wall Street ends the day ahead

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 41.23 points, or 0.23%, to 18, 355, the S&P 500 was up 6.76 points, or 0.31% to 2163.79, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 22 points, or 0.43 %, to 5,179.74.

Shares rose after solid jobs data and a rise in oil prices that lifted petroleum-linked equities.

BreakingTesla delivers 14,000 cars in Q2

Electric car manufacturer Tesla says in delivered 14,000 vehicles in Q2, and that production is on track to deliver 50,000 cars in the second half of the year. 

Women small business owners 'more upbeat than men'

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Fireworks
Getty Images

Women small business owners in the US are more optimistic about their company's prospects in 2016 compared with their male counterparts, according to a new study by Bank of America. 

Some 54% of female owners said they expected to see a growth in revenue in 2016, against just 48% of male owners. Also 60% of women felt they would see overall business growth compared with just 52% of men. 

While both men and women were concerned about consumer spending and interest rates, women were more likely to also be concerned about the strength of the US dollar and corporate tax rates. 

Fed also bringing action against ex-employee

The Federal Reserve tweets...

Fed fines Goldman Sachs $36m

The Federal Reserve is fining Goldman Sachs $36.3m after accusing it of improperly obtaining and distributing confidential regulatory information.

The Fed ordered the big Wall Street bank on Wednesday to put in place a programme to ensure the alleged violation doesn't happen again.  

Goldman Sachs had in October 2015 already paid a $50m fine to New York state regulators in the case.

Tech-savvy 'targeted by fraudsters'

BBC Business tweets...

Moon-age daydream?

The moon circa 1969
PA

Moon Express has become the first private firm to win US approval for an unmanned mission to the moon.

The two-week mission was given the go-ahead by the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

The plan is to send a suitcase-sized lander to the moon in late 2017.

The lander, which is not yet completed, will be carried on a rocket made by Rocket Lab, a start-up firm which has not launched any commercial missions.

Science experiments and some commercial cargo will be carried on the one-way trip to the lunar surface.

'Zika-protection' firms get legal warnings

Mosquito
AP

New York state's top prosecutor has sent cease-and-desist letters to seven firms alleged to be deceptively marketing ineffective "Zika-protective" products.

It comes amid growing concern parts of the US over the mosquito-carried virus. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also issued a consumer alert warning against the companies' advertisements - which focus mainly for ultrasonic and botanical oil-based mosquito repellants. 

Mr Schneiderman told journalists that these products do not work. 

Train drivers balloted on strike action

Southern train
PA

Talks started today over the continuing dispute between guards and Southern Railway. RMT members have scheduled a five-day strike starting from next Monday. 

Talks have been taking place at the conciliation service ACAS to try and break the impasse. 

But now train drivers employed by Southern Railway and Gatwick Express are also to be balloted for strikes over a "breakdown in industrial relations", says the union Aslef.

Indian businesses react to GST

And it is not just Indian handset makers that expect a GST boost.

Other Indian business chiefs were quick to share their excitement over the passing of the bill.

Bhaskar Pramanik, chairman of Microsoft India said: "I hope the Government will implement this long pending reform by April 1, 2017. The Government’s idea of a single tax regime is crucial to improve ease of doing business in India and address the ambiguities of the current indirect tax landscape, proving beneficial for the economy, at large.”

Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group a family run food and real estate firm said in an interview with CNBC: "There will be a tremendous benefit [from the GST]. Consumption will go up, production will go up, investment into production will go up, so this is a great development. To my mind it is the biggest economic reform after the liberalisation of 1991.” 

Rajan S Mathews, director general of the Cellular Operators Association of India said: "The industry welcomes and celebrates this iconic reform, while urging the government to ensure that the rate applied for the telecom services should be no more than the existing 15% to meet the government’s vision of a connected digital India and ensuring affordable services."  

Phone handset makers 'expect GST benefits'

The Economic Times, of India, tweets...

GST will 'boost' Indian economy

The BBC's Shilpa Kannan explains why the country's economy is expected to receive a boost, on the World Service's World Business Report.

View more on twitter

'Historic achievement'

Respected economist Adam Posen tweets his congratulations to India's Ministry of Finance's chief economic adviser. 

View more on twitter

GST will create 'millions' of jobs

The article to which Shilpa refers is this one, by the chairman of e-commerce company Flipkart:

View more on twitter

'Reverse Brexit' moment

GST passes despite prolonged political wrangling

India's parliament has passed a historic tax reform bill that will streamline the country’s complicated taxation system.

The long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill will pave the way for the introduction of a new single rate national sales tax, and create a common market across the country for the first time.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, last year, but it had been stuck in the upper house of parliament, or the Rajya Sabha, due to political wrangling.

The opposition Congress party, which originally proposed the GST while in power, had opposed the bill. But the Rajya Sabha passed the bill unanimously after prime minister Narendra Modi's government reached a consensus with opposition parties over the new tax regime.

What is the GST?

India shop
AFP

If you're wondering what on earth the GST is, Delhi correspondent Soutik Biswas has all the answers:

The GST subsumes India's messy plethora of indirect taxes, duties, surcharges and cesses into a single tax.

It is expected to:

  • ease a cumbersome tax system
  • help goods move seamlessly across state borders
  • curb tax evasion
  • improve compliance
  • raise revenues
  • spur growth
  • stimulate investment
  • make investing and doing business in India easier

Breaking'Historic' tax reform in India

BBC World reporter tweets:

View more on twitter

FTSE closes down ahead of rate-rise decision

FTSE 100
BBC

The FTSE 100 has closed down 11 points, or 0.17%, at 6,634.40 points despite a 4.2% surge in Standard Chartered shares following the bank's return to profit.

HSBC shares were 4.5% higher after the bank surprised investors with a $2.5bn share buyback announcement.  

The mid-cap FTSE 250 was off almost 0.4%, not helped by a 13% slide in Aggreko shares.

It comes ahead of expectations that the Bank of England will cut UK interest rates on Thursday.

The pound was down 0.21% against the dollar, but up 0.23% against the euro. 

Ofgem shake-up 'doesn't go far enough'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Looking at one of the main stories of the day, Ofgem's proposals to shake up the energy market.

The plans put too much onus on the customer and "do not go far enough", says First Utility's managing director.

Ed Kamm told the Today programme's Mishal Husain the plans by the energy regulator were in danger of helping the wrong people.  

Ed Kamm said there needed to be protection for customers that don't shop around.

Some more thoughts on UK interest rates...

Anthony Reuben

Head of statistics

Interest rates have not moved since March 2009 – that’s 88 consecutive “no-change” decisions.

None of the current members of the MPC has ever been on the committee when rates have been changed.

Only three of them have ever even voted for a change in rates.

In fact, the only one with any experience in this area is Mark Carney, who cut rates when he was at the Bank of Canada.

What would a UK rate cut of 0.25% mean?

Rate cut card
BBC

Anyone for tennis?

Wimbledon live rights snapped up

Andy Murray and Wimbledon trophy
Getty Images

Discovery-owned sports channel Eurosport has expanded its deal with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to show all matches of the Wimbledon tennis tournament live in an additional 16 countries.  

Eurosport will show all matches from the 2017 to 2019 tournaments on its television channels and Eurosport Player live and on-demand digital service in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden.  

Wall Street opens slightly down

Wall Street markets opened slightly lower on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.12 points at 18311.65. 

The wider S&P 500 fell 0.27 points to 2156.76. However the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 5 points, to 5142.58. 

Shares in media company Time Warner went up 2.5%, after the firm announced it was taking a 10% stake in streaming site Hulu. The site is seen as a key competitor to Netflix and Amazon. 

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan were both up, by 1.3% and 0.5% respectively, after encouraging jobs data from the US. Shares in insurer AIG shot up by almost 7%, after reporting better-than-expected profits. Brent crude rose more than 1.3% to $42.36 a barrel, while US crude was 1.4% higher at $40.08. 

World Bank: Brexit one factor impacting on global economy

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Dr Jim Yong Kim, the head of the World Bank, has said Brexit was one factor among many, including the drop in commodity prices, which was contributing to slow growth, and prospects were "not nearly as bright as they were a few months ago".   

Head of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim says Brexit has led to slow growth

'Evidence of an economic slowdown is growing – over to you Mr Carney'

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Mark Carney
Getty Images

The lowest figure since February 2009; the biggest fall since the figures started to be collected in 1996.

For those hunting for poor economic data since the referendum result, today's Purchasing Managers' Index for the crucial services sector certainly provides significant pickings.

And it builds on pretty poor figures from the construction and manufacturing sectors.

It is now clear from the data that has been published that economic activity slowed markedly in the weeks following the referendum.

Read more from Kamal here. 

UBS bailout 'gave me a heart attack'

Hans-Rudolf Merz
Getty Images

Switzerland's former finance minister has told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung that the stress of bailing out the country's biggest bank, UBS, gave him a heart attack.

Hans-Rudolf Merz, who served from 2003 to 2010, suffered the attack at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, as UBS was hit by massive US sub-prime mortgage losses.

On the day of the attack, news came that Swiss authorities might have to provide some $60bn in guarantees.

"I hadn't expected this immense sum," Mr Merz said: "That simply knocked me over.''

Hinkley Point 'autumn delay took EDF off guard'

BBC Business Editor Simon Jack tweets...

BreakingEDF boss 'knew about Hinkley delay'

Jean-Bernard Levy
Getty Images

The boss of EDF, Jean-Bernard Levy, knew the UK government wanted to delay the Hinkley Point project before the company's board voted to green-light the investment, Reuters reports.

The news agency has seen a letter in which Mr Levy wrote to top EDF executives that the British prime minister wanted "a bit more time, without calling into question the project, and without specifying the date when the contract could be signed".

He added that EDF had cancelled a contract signing ceremony planned for July 29. 

EDF has so far declined to comment on the letter.

Globalisation is great, says World Bank President

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

The head of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim, has defended globalisation, saying the answer to people's anger is not to close borders, or be more xenophobic.Dr Kim told the World at One that the only group to have done poorly from globalisation was the middle classes in high income countries, so was not surprising that these people "are not happy with globalisation".   

World Bank head says the answer to anger over globalisation is not to close borders

Global stocks subdued

The Wall Street Journal tweets...

Compare and contrast

Radio 4 Moneybox presenter Paul Lewis tweets:

View more on twitter

FTSE update

Aggreko generators
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 is down 0.25% at 6,627 points despite a 9% surge in Standard Chartered shares following the bank's return to profit.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 is off almost 0.5% at 16,988 points, not helped by a 12% slide in Aggreko shares.

Meanwhile, Colin Dewar, head of HL currency dealing, comments on sterling: 

The pound shrugged off more disappointed data this morning to trade back above €1.19 versus the euro and $1.33 against the US dollar. Performance within the UK’s dominant service sector was the latest economic indicator to fall short during July, suffering its sharpest fall in seven years and makes an interest rate cut from tomorrow’s Bank of England meeting all but certain.”

Coining it

We asked earlier for your experiences with pre-pay energy meters and quite a few readers have responded. 

Roger Kirkham in Bristol writes:

"I am trying to get my elderly father-in-law off a pre-payment meter, but he can’t move because of poor credit history. It is crazy that the people who can least afford high energy costs are the ones stuck with a pre-payment meter. Surely the energy costs associated with a pre-payment meter should automatically be the same as the lowest tariff that the energy supplier provides?"

Stuart Thomas writes: 

"Anything to offer a fairer deal for pre-payment energy consumers is a bonus. The energy companies claim that pre-paid tariffs are higher because of the addition administration and equipment needed for this option. But they have their money upfront. If  there genuinely is a higher cost administering prepaid, why can't the energy firms allow customers to choose any tariff they like and then add a separate charge for prepaid admin?"

However, Jack Matthews in Leicester takes a different view:

"Prepayment meters are a necessity. How are energy companies meant to recoup debts from people who do not pay their bills? If prepayment meters were banned what is to stop people from running up huge bills? A normal meter is basically an unlimited credit line in energy. Living in most other countries, if you cannot pay your bill you are simply cut off." 

Uber trouble

Uber protest
Reuters

Couple of bits of bad news for Uber. Hundreds of its drivers in Kenya have been on strike to protest against fare cuts. The US-based ride-hailing company, which started operations in Kenya in January 2015, is cutting total fares by up to 35% to boost demand for the service amid growing competition from local firms.

Uber dropped the price per kilometre from 60 shillings (44p) to 35 shillings last week, and cut the waiting rate per minute from 4 to 3 shillings. 

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Investment Commission could order Uber to leave the market because it claimed to be an IT platform rather than a transportation service. It will make a final decision by 11 August.