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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 falls below 6,900 points
  2. Virgin Trains east coast strike suspended
  3. CPI inflation jumps 0.6% in July
  4. Rail fares rise 'twice as fast as wages'
  5. BT accuses internet rivals of 'Orwellian tactics'

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

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Good night!

That's all from Business Live for today - thanks for reading. We'll be back at 06:00 on Wednesday - hope you can join us then.

Urban Outfitters's sales swagger

Urban Outfitters sign
Reuters

Fashion retailer Urban Outfitters posted record sales of $891m in the second quarter - a 3% increase on a year ago and better than analysts had expected. Profits were also helped by fewer markdowns in its eponymous stores.

Shares in Urban Outfitters have shot up 9% in after-hours trading.

Wall Street dips from record highs

Wall Street sign
AFP

At the closing bell, all three US stock indexes were down on Tuesday, pulled lower by telecoms and utilities shares. Analysts pointed to comments from New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley that a US interest rate hike was possible as early as next month.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 84 points to 18,552.02, the S&P 500 lost 12 points to 2,178.15 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 35 points to 5,227.11. 

Tomorrow's FT today

Digging deep

Australian mine
Reuters

Despite today's record loss for BHP Billiton, there's a quiet recovery underway for UK-listed mining giants, according to analysts. 

Rival mining firm Anglo American was on the verge of dropping out of the FTSE 100 last year, as shares in commodity giants took a hit over concerns on the Chinese slowdown.  

"There has been a dramatic turnaround in the industry since 2015," says Jeremy Wrathall, mining team leader at Investec. "It's now in relatively good shape whereas before we were seeing the likes of Anglo close to relegation."

The recent fall in sterling has also boosted the FTSE's mining houses. "The sector is performing very well this year, they have 100% of revenues in US dollars so the weak pound has helped," says Tyler Broda, director of global mining research at RBC Capital Markets.

The dividends they pay out also make them more attractive as interest rates remain at historic lows. "This is a notoriously volatile sector so it is high risk, but when the options are as dire as they are, mining comes into the view finder for those looking for a return," says Wrathall.

Oil rallies above $49 a barrel

Oil pump
Reuters

The oil price rally shows no signs of abating, rising 2% today to take Brent crude above $49 a barrel for the first time in more than a month. It's up by more than $5 since Thursday, as reports have swirled of a cap on output to ease the supply glut.

The latest catalyst was a meeting between Russia and Opec nations, along with sources at the oil cartel speaking of Saudi Arabia's apparent desire for higher crude prices. US crude is also up 2% to $46.60 a barrel.

Former Fox News chief 'advising Trump'

Roger Ailes
Getty Images

Roger Ailes, the long-time boss of Fox News who resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment, is now advising Donald Trump, according to CNN.

The two are old friends and Mr Ailes is helping the Republican nominee with the upcoming presidential debates, although not in a formal role, CNN reports. 

Mr Ailes stepped down from Fox News last month, saying he had become a "distraction" for the network.

Superstar DJ, here we go

Calvin Harris
PA

For the fourth year in a row, Calvin Harris is the highest earning DJ in the world. The Scottish-born DJ made $63m last year, according to Forbes.

It helps that he's paid a reported $400,000 per gig in Las Vegas, and that he's forged a reputation as a super-producer. His latest song with Rihanna, This is what you came for, has an unbelievable 466 million views on Youtube in the last two months. 

Ex-Goldman Sachs trader settles fraud case

A former head mortgage trader for Goldman Sachs has been barred from the industry and agreed to pay $400,000 to settle charges that he repeatedly misled customers. 

Edwin Chin generated extra revenue for the US bank by concealing the prices at which it had bought certain mortgages, the Securities and Exchange Commission said

Mr Chin then resold the mortgages at higher prices to customers while Goldman pocketed the difference. He neither admitted to nor denied the findings, the SEC said. 

All about Brexit

Pollsters Ipsos MORI find Brexit is at the forefront of people's minds

Ride-sharing autonomous cars

Ford's autonomous car will be used in ride-share service. Planning a future where it doesn't sell cars to the regular public?

Ford's autonomous future

BBC's Dave Lee reporting from Palo Alto on Ford's $150m investment (along with Baidu) in autonomous driving technology   

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Look - no wheel!

Ford says it can go driverless by 2021

Microsoft to use holograms in Windows update

Microsoft has said it will be incorporating hologram into next year's update of Windows 10 meaning even fairly low-powered PCs will be able to use 2D and 3D apps on those things that look like big strap-on binoculars, and geeks call head-mounted displays.

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Running out of steam

Press Association has put together this graphic of just how far you could get from London to Edinburgh for the price of a train ticket in 2006. Regulated rail fares will rise by a further 1.9% next year across the UK, meaning the same money will get you as far as Doncaster. How long before you'll have to get off at Peterborough....Stevenage...Finsbury Park? 

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Hef's $1m rent for Playboy Mansion

Jump in rent for Playboy founder

Hugh Hefner never personally owned the Playboy Mansion, but rented it off Playboy Enterprises, reportedly for just $100 a year. After today's $100m sale of the 20,000 square foot mansion, Business Insider claims his rent will jump to $1m a year. He should be able to find the cash. The 90 year old is said to be worth around $50m.

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(Not) out of office

Wake Up to Money presenter Adam Parsons braces himself for the 5:15am start when he returns tomorrow... 

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EU mulls WhatsApp and Skype rule change

WhatsApp
Getty Images

The European Union is looking to subject internet services like WhatsApp and Skype to similar rules as traditional telecoms companies, a spokesman said.

Next month EU regulators are set to recommend tighter privacy and security for the services. 

European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said: "The commission is analysing to what extent so-called over-the-top service providers (OTT) like WhatsApp and Skype are providing services that are equivalent to those provided by traditional telecoms operators."

RMT: 'Significant progress' with Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains
PA

The RMT trade union has confirmed it's suspended the strike on Virgin Trains' east coast line, saying the two sides have made "significant progress". 

"Please note that this does not mean the dispute has been completely resolved," RMT said in a note to members. "It has allowed your union representatives to go back into talks with management and to extend the deadline for taking industrial action to a further 28 days."

The 24-hour walk-outs had been planned for 19, 26 and 29 August.

BreakingVirgin Trains strike 'suspended'

A strike by Virgin Trains staff, due to start on Friday, has been postponed, the train company said.

The RMT trade union had called three days of strikes on the east coast route, with the other two dates falling on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The union suspended the walk-outs after Virgin Trains gave assurances, including no compulsory redundancies, the company said.

FTSE drops below 6,900 points

The FTSE 100 has finished 0.7% lower at 6,893.92 points, ending a winning streak that had taken it to 14-month highs. 

Marks & Spencer was the biggest faller - down 3% - while airlines Easyjet and British Airways owner IAG also dropped.

Mining stocks Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American made up four of the top five biggest winners.

The FTSE 250 of mid-cap UK firms also dropped 0.7% to 17,808.50.

Playboy Mansion goes for half price

Hugh Hefner
Getty Images
Sitting tenant Hugh Hefner will stay in the Playboy Mansion after its $100m sale

A private equity mogul has paid $100m - half the going price - for the Playboy Mansion, which comes complete with a sitting tenant - Hef himself.

Under the deal the 90 year-old Hugh Hefner is allowed to stay for as long as he desires.

Playboy Enterprises owns the LA mansion and is selling it to Daren Metropoulos, a principal of the private-equity firm Metropoulos & Co.

The original asking price was $200m. Playboy Enterprises bought the 20,000 square foot ersatz stately home for just over $1m 45 years ago.

World's worst performing currency

Mongolian yurts
AP

So what's been the world's worst performing currency in August? The pound? Argentine peso? Neither, it was the Mongolian tugrik.

The east Asian country, which borders China and Russia and is known for its yurts and horses, came bottom of 154 currencies tracked by Bloomberg

The tugrik has fallen by 7.8% against the dollar since the beginning of August, making it by far the worst performer. 

By comparison, the pound is only down about 3% on the dollar since 2 August. Most of sterling's recent fall came in the days following the 23 June referendum, a slump that it's yet to recover from.

Morrisons sells US online stake

Morrisons
PA

Morrisons has completed the sale of its stake in US online grocer Fresh Direct for £45m, a gain of £13m from what it paid in 2011.

At the time, the supermarket chain said the 10% stake in Fresh Direct would play a key role in developing its own online business.

However, in 2014 Morrisons announced plans to offload the holding. Earlier this month, the UK's third largest supermarket struck a new deal with UK online grocer Ocado to expand its home delivery service. 

US market update

Wall Street has pulled back from the latest record highs set on Monday. All three major stock indexes are down, as investors pause ahead of the release of Federal Reserve minutes on Wednesday, said CMC Markets's Jasper Lawler.

Shares in Alphabet, which owns Google, dipped nearly 1% as investors were lukewarm about a new video calling app called Duo, designed to compete with Facebook's WhatsApp and Apple's FaceTime, he said.

The Dow Jones is 0.3% lower at 18,590.34.

The S&P 500 is down 0.4% to 2,182.07.

The Nasdaq is also 0.4% lower at 5,239.29.

Driverless Fords?

Financial Times journalist Peter Campbell tweets...

US inflation stays steady

US petrol pump
AP

Consumer prices in the US were unchanged in July compared to June, as inflation data came in slightly weaker than markets were expecting. 

Petrol prices fell for the first time in five months, keeping prices flat overall. The data pushed the dollar to its lowest in more than seven weeks against the yen and Swiss franc investors reined in expectations of a rate rise from the Federal Reserve. 

Elsewhere in the US, low interest rates are boosting the housing market. The Commerce Department said housing starts increased 2.1% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.2m units, the highest level since February.

'Another nail' in Hinkley's coffin?

Wind turbine
Getty Images

Greenpeace says the approval of the world's biggest offshore wind farm in the North Sea is putting Britain on the track for where the future of energy should be. 

"It certainly isn’t with propping up 20th century technologies like oil, gas and nuclear," says Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK chief scientist. "This is yet another nail in the coffin for the rationale for Hinkley power station."

Bank's Brexit bond-buying back on track

Bank of England
Getty Images

You might remember that the Bank of England's plans to stimulate the economy hit a snag last week. It had hoped to buy up government bonds to pump millions of pounds into the economy following the Brexit vote, but couldn't find enough sellers.

The Bank had another go today and was much more successful. This time the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street received far more offers to sell the bonds than it needed. So a sigh of relief for the Bank.

'Should've gone to...'

Glasses
Getty Images

It's not surprising that opticians Specsavers have registered "should've" as a trade mark, according to Sally Britton, an intellectual property lawyer at Mishcon de Reya. 

"The Specsavers brand, like others, is recognised by a combination of features, including its 'should've gone to Specsavers' strapline," she said. 

"The term 'should've' will clearly work well from a domain name and social media perspective and therefore why would they not seek to protect it to make it easier to deal with infringements?”

Other companies which have secured trademarks on phrases include McDonald's with "i'm lovin' it" and Nestle with "Have a Break" for Kit Kats.  

Special status?

Senior economics producer Mark Broad tweets

Bank of Japan snaps up Nikkei stocks

The Bank of Japan is on an unprecedented drive to buy up Japanese assets in a bid to stimulate the economy. That's put the bank on course for an eye-catching stat - it'll become the top shareholder of 55 blue-chip companies in the Nikkei 225 by the end of next year, according to analysis by Bloomberg.

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Fix Britain's Internet: The claims

Fix Britain's Internet website
Fix Britain's Internet

Vodafone, Sky and TalkTalk launched the Fix Britain's Internet campaign earlier this month to tap into frustration at broadband speeds.

They are three of the UK's biggest internet providers, but rely on BT's network of cables and wires.

The campaign claims BT "spends billions" on football rights rather than investing in broadband infrastructure; relies on copper rather than state-of-the-art pure fibre; and has left half of rural premises with speeds lower than 10Mbit/s.

But BT said the claims were misleading consumers and “talking down” Britain.

It comes after regulators decided against splitting BT's Openreach, which provides the UK's broadband infrastructure, off completely from the BT group. 

BT slams 'misleading' broadband claims

Fibre optic
BBC

A bit more on this letter from BT hitting back at rivals for launching a heavily-critical campaign called "Fix Britain's Internet". 

According to the Financial Times, the letter from BT boss Gavin Patterson argues that the campaign “paints an unfairly diminished view of connectivity across the UK and makes a number of misleading statements”.

The letter, addressed to the bosses of TalkTalk, Sky and Vodafone - the three companies behind the campaign - also accuses the firms of "Orwellian tactics".

Go-ahead for world's largest offshore windfarm

Offshore wind farm
AFP/Getty Images

The world's biggest offshore wind farm has been given the go-ahead to be built off the coast of Yorkshire. 

The Hornsea Project Two scheme, which at its peak will deliver enough to power almost two million UK homes, has been granted development consent from the UK government

The approval comes after Danish firm Dong Energy made the final investment decision earlier this year to construct the first phase of the Hornsea Project. 

This second phase will create up to 1,960 construction jobs as well as 580 operational and maintenance jobs, said Business Secretary Greg Clark. 

The project, to be built off the coast of Hull, could be worth up to £6bn. 

Musk keeps missing

Elon Musk
Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal has got the calculator out and determined that Elon Musk (pictured) has missed 10 of his stated goals for Tesla over the past five years

"Some analysts have begun to worry that his ambitious prognostications could haunt Tesla as the company tries to meet his goal of churning out a million cars a year by the end of 2020," writes the Journal's editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker. "Meanwhile, securities law gives executives leeway to prognosticate and issue targets, but a company could be held liable if its executives knew their projections had little or no chance of coming true." 

BT's broadband broadside

The Financial Times' new telecoms correspondent - former Times hack Nic Fildes - reports on BT's decision to attack its rivals’ "fix Britain’s internet" campaign.

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SSE: No need for Hinkley

Hinkey Point
Getty Images

The boss of SSE says Britain does not need EDF's £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear plant to keep the lights on, because alternative projects such as new gas plants will be able to fill the gap.

SSE, Britain's second-bigger energy supplier and a former investor in new nuclear plants, plans to build new gas-fired power plants and offshore wind farms that Alistair Phillips-Davies says can deliver the electricity needed as old plants close down. 

"If Hinkley doesn't progress, there is plenty to fill the gap," he says in an article on PoliticsHome.com.

"There is now nearly twice as much generating capacity from new gas-fired power stations and offshore wind potentially waiting to come on to the country’s electricity system by 2025 as there is old coal and nuclear coming off."  

Why so many empty seats?

BBC World Service

Spectators among empty seats at athletics event
Reuters
Empty seats during the men's high jump qualifying round on Sunday in Rio.

The official in charge of distributing tickets for the Rio Olympics has been justifying why so many seats at venues continue to be empty, reports BBC World Service. 

Donovan Ferreti told the BBC that Brazilians are not used to attending long, drawn-out sporting events such as fencing or tennis.

He says many ticket holders were not turning up for such fixtures and that under Brazilian law, a seat that has already been sold cannot be reallocated. 

Mr Ferreti said 100,000 tickets are being sold each day and demand from foreigners is still strong, despite fears about the Zika virus and political uncertainty. 

Property problem

The Resolution Foundation has produced an interesting graph that shows how large the divide between property prices in different regions over the past five years really is.

The think tank's remit is to improve the living standards of people on low to middle incomes.

Perhaps the starkest difference is the average price of a property in London at £472,000 compared with the average in the north east of England at £124,000.

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