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  1. FTSE 100 at highest level since July 2015
  2. US jobs figures better than expected
  3. Royal Bank of Scotland reports £2bn first-half loss
  4. Nissan chief 'reasonably optimistic' on Brexit
  5. Recruitment fell in July in wake of EU vote

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

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Good night

That is all from us this week at Business Live. Have a good weekend and see you again on Monday. 

Nasdaq and S&P at record highs

US shares closed sharply higher on Friday, with the S&P and the Nasdaq beating their all-time closing highs.

It came after a better than expected jobs report.

The Nasdaq was up 1.1% to 5221.12, topping its record close set in July 2015.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 closed 0.9% higher to 2182.87, above its closing high of 2175.03 from this July. 

Oil prices drop slightly

Oil prices dipped slightly on Friday. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate benchmark crude for September delivery fell 13 cents to close at $41.80.

Meanwhile in London, North Sea Brent for October delivery fell 2 cents to $44.27 a barrel.

Panama Papers 'transparency duo quit'

Reuters reports that economist Joseph Stiglitz and Swiss lawyer Mark Pieth are resigning from a committee set up by the Panamanian government to look into improving transparency.

The probe was set up following the Panama Papers data leak, which showed how wealthy individuals and public officials were able to keep personal financial information private.

Netflix to make more original dramas ...

BBC World Service

Netflix is determined to make more of its own dramas, to repeat the success of House of Cards. The company's chief executive, Reed Hastings, believes it will gain new customers.  

"We're always seeking to improve," he tells World Business Report.    

Netflix is determined to invest more in making its own programmes.

Pokemon Go banned in Iran

BBC World Service

Pokemon Go game on smartphone
AFP/Getty Images

It's been confirmed that the Iranian authorities have banned the smartphone reality game, Pokemon Go, reports BBC World Service. 

The secretary of a committee which oversees Internet activity in Iran said the decision had been taken on account of "security concerns", but he didn't say exactly what these were. 

The game encourages players to go hunting virtual creatures in real-world locations. 

It has prompted some security worries in places like Indonesia and Israel, where there's been concern that sensitive images might be leaked if Pokemon Go was played around military bases.   

Brexit latest: How is the UK economy doing?

EU and Union flags
Getty Images

The UK may have decided to leave the European Union on 23 June, but what this will actually mean for the country's economy, housing and jobs markets will only become clear in the ensuing months.  

The BBC Business website's Tim Bowler investigates

US consumer advocates push for higher VW payout

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Volkswagen logo
Getty Images

Consumer Reports, a leading US consumer advocate, has called on the Department of Justice to increase the compensation Volkswagen must pay vehicle owners affected by the emissions scandal. 

In a comment letter, Consumer Reports said the payouts should be "at least several hundred dollars higher" per car,  to reflect true market value. 

It also advocated that car owners who opt to allow VW to fix the problem be given a chance to change their minds and take a "buy-back" because the cars may not operate the same after the changes are made.

The DoJ and the VW announced a $10bn (£7.6bn) deal last month that is scheduled to receive final approval in October. 

Is Rio 2016 money well spent?

Or should it have gone on police, fire and health services?

S&P hits record high

dollar bills
Getty Images

The S&P 500 has touched another record intraday high after a second month running of strong labour market data.

The S&P 500 touched 2,180.78, its ninth record intraday high since July.  

Premier Oil reports 'significant' North Sea find

Oil worker
Premier Oil

Premier Oil has announced a "significant" oil find in the Outer Moray Firth, following a drilling operation.

The company said there were indications that the discovery, in a subsea prospect named Bagpuss, was "heavy oil".

Heavy oil is more viscous than other oil, and more difficult to extract from rock.

The well has been plugged and abandoned while further analysis is carried out.

Premier Oil's director of exploration and North Sea, Robin Allan, said: "The Bagpuss well has proven a significant volume of oil in place.

"We will now work with our partners to carry out a full analysis of the hydrocarbons and reservoir encountered to ascertain whether commerciality can be established."

Too many waiter and bartender jobs in US?

Zerohedge tweets...

AC Milan sale to Chinese finalised

AC Milan fan
Getty Images

Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to sell more than 99% of AC Milan to a group of Chinese investors, announced Fininvest, the holding company of the Berlusconi family. 

After months of negotiations the value of the Italian giants - who have won the Champions League seven times - has been set at €740m. 

The deal was signed by Danilo Pellegrino, the Fininvest CEO, and Han Li, a representative of the Chinese investors. 

Southern rail strike to go ahead

Talks break down

Southern Rail train

A five-day strike on Southern trains is to go ahead from next Monday.

The RMT union said talks with Southern's operator Govia Thameslink (GTR) broke up after the company rejected an offer to suspend the action.

The union had wanted GTR to put forward a similar offer to one given by ScotRail in a separate dispute.

However, GTR said the RMT rejected an eight-point compromise to settle the dispute.

Southern is planning an emergency timetable with nearly 60% of services running.

FTSE closes ahead again


UK shares continued to rise following Thursday's interest rate cut, with the FTSE 100 reaching its highest level since July 2015, but RBS shares fell after it reported worse-than-expected losses. 

After rising 1.6% on Thursday, the FTSE 100 climbed another 53 points, or 0.79%, to 6793.47. 

However, Royal Bank of Scotland shares dived 7% after it reported a £2bn loss for the first half of the year, which it blamed on "legacy issues". RBS also said it would not separate and list its Williams & Glyn business. 

Shares in housebuilders rose as updates from two firms in the sector helped to ease fears of a Brexit-induced downturn in the sector. Bellway rose 5% after the housebuilder said customer confidence and trading conditions have "remained strong throughout the year", while bricks and concrete products maker Ibstock jumped 7.6% after it said trading was continuing at normal seasonal levels. 

Air Berlin adds business class to short and medium haul

Air Berlin plane
Getty Images

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, is to introduce business-class travel on all its German and European flights.

"We're at the beginning of a far-reaching process of change, at the end of which will stand a new, strengthened Air Berlin," chief executive Stefan Pichler said in a statement. 

Air Berlin has long offered business-class seating on its long-haul flights.

But now it will also offer the service, which also includes priority at airport security and when boarding, access to first-class lounges and a-la-carte dining, on short and medium haul services. 

'The challenge for the challenger banks'

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

RBS bank

Royal Bank of Scotland's decision to shelve the spin-off of 300 branches and two million customers under the old Williams & Glyn brand is much more than a tale of expensive IT headaches.

Having spent a billion pounds trying to carve out an independent bank for sale, RBS has decided that this new-born foal of a bank would not be steady enough on its feet to survive in this harsh banking environment.

With interest rates at record lows, banks are finding it harder than ever to make money as profit margins are squeezed. Smaller players like Shawbrook and Aldermore, with exposure to UK SMEs, are thought to be more affected by the weakening UK economy that the Bank of England and others expect to see.

That's exactly the niche in which Williams and Glyn was going to sit, and despite the efforts of Mark Carney to throw down some cushions in the form of cheap money to lend on to customers, it still looks a very uncomfortable place to be.

Read more from Simon here. 

The US jobs report in numbers

The Wall Street Journal tweets...

Wall Street ahead on strong jobs figures

Dow Jones

Wall Street opened higher on Friday as strong jobs figures boosted optimism about the strength of the US economy. 

Figures showed the economy created a stronger-than-expected 255,000 jobs last month. The figures for May and June were also revised upwards, and the data adds to speculation that the Fed will raise interest rates by the end of the year. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (see chart above) rose 122.96 points, or 0.7%, to 18,475.01. The wider S&P 500 index climbed 10.34 points to 2,174.59, while the Nasdaq was 25.46 points higher at 5,191.71.

When is the RBS rate cut coming?

BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey tweets...

BreakingNatWest passes on base rate cut to SVR customers

NatWest has announced its standard variable rate (SVR) for mortgages will be reducing by 0.25% in line with the Bank of England base rate reduction, bringing the rate for customers from 4% down to 3.75%.  

It says Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank Northern Ireland will drop their standard variable rate as well as NatWest.

US Treasury yields jump on jobs data

The FT tweets...

UK house growth shows signs of slowing

BBC Scotland business editor Douglas Fraser tweets...

BreakingHinkley Point injunction rejected

A French judge has refused to grant an injunction to unions who wanted to block EDF's go-ahead on Hinckley Point

US jobs data point to economic pick up

Now hiring sign

US employment rose by more than expected last month and wages picked up, 

The strength of of the market is likely to fuel expectations that economic growth is gong to pick up and increase the probability of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve this year. 

Non-farm payrolls increased by 255,000 jobs last month as hiring rose broadly after an upwardly revised 292,000 surge in June, the Labor Department said on Friday. 

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9% as more people entered the labour market. 

Average hourly wages increased by eight cents pointing to labour market strength. . 

Kiwi clamp down

BBC World Service

Kiwi Fruits
Getty Images

New Zealand has suspended its lucrative exports of kiwifruit to China after the Chinese authorities said they'd detected a fungal contamination in some shipments, reports BBC World Service. 

Exporters hope to resume trade within days, after new protocols are put in place. Last month New Zealand's Trade Minister said he had received assurances from Beijing that China would not take retaliatory action if Wellington investigated accusations that cheap Chinese steel was being dumped on the New Zealand market. 

New Zealand's rapidly increasing global kiwifruit exports are worth more than $1bn (£760m), partly offsetting lower receipts from traditional dairy exports. 

Rand ramps it up?

BBC business presenter tweets

Up the junction?

BBC transport correspondent tweets

Variable variables

Personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey tweets:

View more on twitter

Turn the page

i newspaper
Getty Images

Idle chatter at BBC Business HQ about the £183m of writedowns booked by Johnston Press (no relation) yesterday on its newspaper assets prompts me to have a look at the company's share price. 

The shares are trading at 11.25p today, down about 3%. But a quick look at the slide since January reveals they are down a mere 77%, bringing the i newsaper owner's market cap to £12.31m. Discuss...

FTSE flat

The FTSE 100 has erased earlier gains to be flat at 6,741 - not helped by a 6% slide in RBS shares. Rolls-Royce and Standard Chartered are both down just over 2%.

Sterling, however, is still up about 0.5% at $1.3168.

Hung up

MTN kiosk
Getty Images

That massive fine imposed earlier this year by the Nigerian telecoms regulator on MTN has had a bit of an effect on the bottom line of Africa's biggest mobile phone operator, as you might expect.

Although the company managed to pay just 330bn naira ($1.05bn, £797m) - a third of the original proposed penalty for failing to cut off millions of unregistered SIM cards from its network - it still helped drag MTN to a loss of 4.9bn for the first six months of the year. That compares with a profit of almost 12bn rand last year.

One MTN shareholder said: "What you have here is a company that was gung-ho about Africa, where the operating environment has become difficult, but they have shot themselves in both feet by losing control of the key markets and not paying attention to regulators." Ouch.

Savings slaughtered

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Getty Images

In some punchy analysis following yesterday’s Bank rate cut, financial information service Moneyfacts says that it is "easy to see that decent savings deals are facing slaughter”.

It says that many savings providers don’t want to find themselves top of the best-buy tables, fearing they could not cope with the demand. So, instead of keeping on cutting savings rates, they are simply pulling the best deals entirely.

Read more here.

US jobs figures due

Dearbail Jordan

Business reporter

American companies are expected to lift employment in July
Getty Images

To raise or not to raise: that is the question for the US Federal Reserve. Job numbers out at 13:30 will give America's central bank a steer on whether or not to raise interest rates.

Companies are expected to have added 175,000 jobs in July, down from 287,000 in June but far above May's 38,000. The unemployment rate is also expected to have edged down from 4.9% to 4.8%.

The Fed had indicated that it would raise rates this year after "near-term risks" such as slowing unemployment had diminished, but recent slowing of economic growth has dampened speculation the Fed will act that soon. It next meets in September.

The Fed announced the first US interest rate rise in seven years in December.  

Field meets SFO chief

Philip Green and Frank Field

The work and pensions select committee says its chairman, Frank Field MP (pictured right), has met with Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director David Green to discuss the sale of BHS and Sir Philip Green (left).

Mr Field said the discussion with the SFO arose out of concerns over the assurances made about Retail Acquisitions (RAL) - Dominic Chappell's vehicle that bought BHS last year: "To what extent were the boards of both companies and the pension trustees actually aware that Chappell and RAL brought nothing but £1 to the deal? And of the extent to which Green was facilitating the financial and property deals himself?"  

The MP - who has publicly clashed with Sir Philip in recent weeks - said the meeting with Mr Green was constructive. "They of course operate independently and we assured them again of our absolute non-interference: we will simply send them all the evidence we have not published to consider and use as they will,” Mr Field said.

The committee will tomorrow announce a major new inquiry into the regulation of defined benefit pension schemes.

RMT strike offer

The RMT union has offered to suspend next week's strikes on Southern Railway if the company makes a similar offer to one put forward by ScotRail in a separate dispute. 

Southern owner Govia Thameslink and the RMT are due to continue a third day of talks at the conciliation service Acas from midday.

BreakingHSBC to pass on rate cut

Getty Images

HSBC said it would pass on the full cut in the Bank of England base rate to its tracker mortgage borrowers from today and extend savings to standard variable rate mortgage borrowers from 1 September.

"We have passed on the full reduction to customers with tracker mortgages today," said Europe's largest bank a day after the Bank halved the main borrowing rate to a record low of 0.25%.

"We will also be passing on the reduction to mortgage customers on our Standard Variable Rate, which is already one of the lowest in the market and will reduce from 3.94% to 3.69% with effect from 1 September." 

Apple shines

Solar power
Getty Images

Speaking of Apple, Bloomberg reports that the iPhone maker can now start selling electricity to wholesale markets in the United States after being granted permission by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Apple spent $850m last year buying a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco.

Apple also owns 20 megawatts of generation in Nevada and 50 megawatts in Arizona, according to the regulatory order, Bloomberg reports. All of Apple’s US data centres are now powered by renewables.

The company also has solar power projects in Sichuan province in China (pictured) that generates enough to power the equivalent of 61,000 Chinese homes - just a touch more than is needed to power Apple's offices and retail stores in the country. 

One must shop around...

Business producer Mark Broad tweets:

View more on twitter

Boss looks sharp

Nico Rosberg and Mats Hummels
Getty Images
Formula 1 drivers Nico Rosberg and Mats Hummels at a Hugo Boss store event in Duesseldorf

It's not that often these days that investors welcome bad news. However, shares in Hugo Boss are up close to 6% in Frankfurt despite the German fashion house reporting a 13% fall in operating profit to €108m (£91m) in the second quarter on a 4% slide in sales to €622m - better than analysts had expected.

It also cut the full-year sales outlook, but new chief executive Mark Langer said he would close about 20 more stores as a cost-cutting drive appears to be bearing fruit. 

"To return to profitable growth again in the medium term, we have made decisions that are painful to begin with," he said. "The market environment will remain difficult for the foreseeable future."

Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet said the results were "surprisingly above expectations" and he rated the shares as a buy.