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Summary

  1. Sterling dips under €1.15 and $1.29
  2. Sports Direct workers win £1m in backpay
  3. FTSE 100 edges higher to 6,941.19
  4. Tim Cook: running Apple is a 'lonely job'
  5. William Hill rejects higher takeover bid

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all from Business Live today - thanks very much for reading. Join us tomorrow when we'll have July inflation figures as well as the June House Price Index at the start of a crucial few days of economic data.

Record breakers

The three main US stock indexes all made modest gains, pushing them to new all-time highs. The oil price rally, in particular, buoyed the markets and led to gains for energy stocks.

The Dow Jones finished 59 points higher at 18,636.05, the S&P 500 edged up 6 points at 2,190.15, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 29 points higher to 5,262.02.

Twitter and Apple TV?

Twitter
AFP

Shares in Twitter jumped nearly 7% on Wall Street after a report suggested it could partner with Apple TV.

The New York Times said Twitter was in talks to bring the Twitter app to Apple TV, which would potentially let millions of Apple TV users watch the site's streaming of American football games.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey considers streaming a critical component of the company’s focus on “live” experiences, the NYT reported.

Where is innovation highest?

China's 'rebalancing' act

Chinese bullet trains
Reuters

On the face of it China hasn't made much progress in its "rebalancing", namely the shift from an export-led to a consumer-driven economy.

But dig a bit deeper and it's "slowly but surely shifting", according to Goldman Sachs analysts. For example, passenger traffic on trains now outpaces freight rail, while household electricity is rising faster than heavy industries.

Also, they say China is exporting more valuable products. In 1995, footwear, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, articles of apparel, and toys were the top five categories of Chinese exports. By contrast, in 2014, telecom equipment, automatic data processing machines, cathode valves, furniture, and jewelry became the top five Chinese exports.

The Pink 'Un arrives

First look at tomorrow's Financial Times...

View more on twitter

Low Cost Holidays limbo

Low Cost Holidays email
BBC

Holiday makers who booked their holidays with Low Cost Holidays, which went into administration in July, are in some cases still waiting for refunds.

The company has very little money to repay customers, but some banks are returning credit card and even debit card payments, according to travel consultant Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies.

"This is what is clouding the issue in terms of some people who very early on made a claim seem to have had some success, and others who are now just waiting and it's a limbo zone," she told the BBC. 

'Take the money and run'

Usain Bolt
All Sport

Sportswear brand Puma pays Usain Bolt a reported $10m a year in sponsorship. If you look very closely at Bolt storming to a record third 100m gold medal last night, you can see the Puma logo on his shorts and top.

However, Matt Powell, sports industry analyst at NPD Group, said the company has made a mistake by not trumpeting its tie-up during these Olympics with the world's fastest man.

"I think Puma has really under-utilised Bolt," he told the BBC's World Business Report. "He is one of the greatest athletes that's ever lived."

Even the Puma logo on his clothes isn't enough of a return, he said. 

So what sponsorship advice does he have for Bolt, who plans to retire next year? 

"Take the money and run!"

Oil surges past $48 a barrel

Oil pump
Getty Images

Brent crude, the international benchmark, is up more than 2% as it pushes above $48 a barrel, amid further speculation that producers may look at ways to boost prices.

The oil price was languishing near $45 a barrel last week before it shot up on hints that Saudi Arabia could take some action in the oversupplied oil market.

US crude is also up, rising 2.5% to $45.62.

Sports Direct 'still under the spotlight'

Mike Ashley
PA

Iain Wright, chairman of the parliamentary committee which investigated Sports Direct, said the retailer was "unacceptable" in not paying some staff the minimum wage

The £1m of backpayments that Mike Ashley's Sports Direct is now paying those workers was money they "should have received in the first place", Mr Wright said. 

While this is good news, working practices continue to be under the spotlight at Sports Direct. Mike Ashley will be updating us in the autumn on the steps he has taken to address the appalling practices that have been identified and we will be checking that he is as good as his word."

Iain Wright MPChairman of Business, Innovation and Skills Committee

Building up confidence

The Wall Street Journal tweets...

Delta outage 'could cost airline $120m'

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Delta plane
Getty Images

Delta's systems outage earlier this month could cost the company $120m (£93m), according to one report. 

A power outage at the airlines headquarters in Atlanta caused the company's website, mobile app, check-in systems and passenger advisory screens to shut down, leading to global delays and flight cancellations. 

As a result, analysts at Cowen & Co said the company would likely suffer $50m in lost revenue and have $70m in costs. Delta offered thousands of passengers on delayed and cancelled flight $200 vouchers and new flights. 

Chucklevision

UK energy firms look to win back trust

Trade body Energy UK says firms are working "issue by issue" to win back customers' trust after it was revealed some households have overpaid for their gas due to mistaken meter readings.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said the number of affected customers was in the "low thousands" and they will be compensated. The error was caused by mixing up measurements from older imperial meters with modern metric ones.

Energy UK: 'We are working to improve customer trust'

War crimes law firm closes

British soldier in Basra
AFP/Getty Images

A UK law firm that brought claims alleging misconduct by British troops during the Iraq war is to close. Earlier this month the company, Public Interest Lawyers, was stripped of access to state legal funding for its cases. 

An investigation by regulators had been extremely critical of war crimes claims submitted by the law firm. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the firm's closure was the "right outcome for our armed forces".  

Dropbox 'considers stock listing'

Zoe Thomas

US business reporter

Dropbox boss Drew Houston
Getty Images

Online storage firm, Dropbox, is considering selling shares on the public stock market, according to a report by Bloomberg

Dropbox - run by founder Drew Houston, a friend of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg - has in the past resisted raising funds through an initial public offering. 

Bloomberg's report indicated the meeting was exploratory to discuss potential valuations. Dropbox was valued at $10bn (£7.8m) in a fundraising round in 2014. 

The company told the BBC it would not comment on the report. 

Indyref: The sequel

From one independence push to another...

Douglas Fraser

Scotland business & economy editor

Nicola Sturgeon
WPA

The Scottish independence debate is back. For some, it never went away.

The economic questions are familiar - around the currency of choice, and linked to that, around central banking, government debt and banking. 

The economics of oil have changed, with big implications for the affordability of Scots' public spending ambitions. 

Having put independence back on the table, it is an invitation to debate what the answers will be. Yet nearly two years after the No result, that debate has barely begun.

Read more from Douglas here.

Blackpool rock businessman Ian Atkinson is optimistic for his company post Brexit
Ian Atkinson, the managing director of Coronation Rock, speaks to Jonny Dymond about what Brexit means for his business.

BreakingFTSE 100 finishes higher

Peppa Pig
PA

London's blue-chip index closed 25 points higher at 6,941.19 - inching ever closer to the psychological barrier of 7,000 points.

Analysts said the FTSE 100 was given a boost by the weak pound, as many of its members make sales in other currencies. 

The FTSE 250, which is seen as a better reflection of UK businesses, was flat at 17,929.27 points. Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One topped the leader board, rising nearly 7% on reports of a bidding war between ITV and a private equity firm.

Squeeze on sterling

Pound and dollar notes
Getty Images

The pound continues to fall - it's now dropped below €1.15 and $1.29. Investors are jittery ahead of a slew of UK data this week which should offer a much clearer picture of how the economy has been affected by the Brexit vote, says Neil Wilson at ETX Capital.

The limited evidence so far has been pretty downbeat and point to a marked reversal of fortunes for an economy that enjoyed a very healthy first half of the year. A report from Rightmove showing house prices fell by 1.2% in July has added to concerns about the property market amid signs of a significant slowdown. It’s just the latest in a string of reports but each new piece of weak data fuels speculation the Bank of England will roll out additional sterling-negative stimulus. This week’s data will be vital as it’s the first glimpse of official figures for retail sales, inflation and employment for July.

Neil WilsonETX Capital

The Whopperito?

In case you ever wondered what a cross between a Whopper burger and a burrito looks like, wonder no more... 

Burger King has just launched its "Whopperito" in the US, which combines a beef patty, lettuce, queso sauce, tomatoes and pickles in a tortilla wrap. 

Not so sure about it myself, but the health conscious can take comfort from the fact that it has about 570 calories, roughly 100 fewer than a normal Whopper.

View more on twitter

Deliveroo boss defends pay scheme

Takeaway delivery firm Deliveroo has softened its stance on a controversial new pay scheme which saw it face a backlash from drivers and government. 

Deliveroo boss William Shu defends the new scheme and addresses accusations of excessive pressure put upon the company's delivery drivers.

Chief executive of Deliveroo addresses criticism of company's controversial new pay scheme

Sage shares shrug off data breach

Password screen
Reuters

British software giant Sage Group was one of the biggest losers on the FTSE 100 this morning after it reported a possible security breach. 

However, its shares have since recovered most of the losses. It's currently on course to finish the day flat at 739.5p, valuing the firm at about £8bn.

Police are investigating the breach at Sage, which may have compromised personal information for employees at 280 UK businesses.

"The TalkTalk data breach, which turned out to be far less damaging than initially feared, may have been a lesson to investors not to over-react," said Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets.

Costly measurement mix-ups

measuring tape
Thinkstock

Energy firm E.On's measurement error over some of its customers' gas payments is just the latest costly metric-imperial mix-up.

measuring tape

Costly measurement mix-ups

Energy firm E.On's measurement error over some of its customers' gas payments is just the latest costly metric-imperial mix-up.

Read more

H&M struts to 10% sales growth

H&M catwalk
Getty Images

Fast fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz had a strong July as sales figures rose 10% from a year ago. H&M also had nearly 500 more stores compared with July 2015, rising from 3,649 to 4,105.

It has set up the world's second largest fashion retailer for an improved end to the year (you can see some of its autumn/winter line above). Chief executive Karl-Johan Persson predicted in June that H&M would have conditions for better results in the second half of 2016.

H&M has seen profits shrink for three consecutive quarters, squeezed not only by the usual big markdowns, but also by major investments in online technology and new brands.

Brexit visa tips

Pro-EU protester with "I'm not leaving" sign
Getty Images

BBC Capital has advice for foreign workers in the UK and British workers abroad about how to deal with visa uncertainty following the Brexit vote. 

While those in the UK are feeling it the most acutely – what if their companies move to an offshore location or close altogether? – workers elsewhere are also worried about the effects of Brexit on their residency status. If they lose their jobs, will they have to move country?

Read the full story here.

Wall Street adds to record highs

Wall Street sign
AFP/Getty Images

US stocks have edged higher at the start of the week, building on the record highs that Wall Street hit last week.

The Dow Jones has gained 73 points to 18,649.85, the S&P 500 is up 6 points at 2190.12, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 23 points higher at 5256.16.

All three indexes hit all-time highs on the same day last week for the first time since 1999 as investors continue to seek out higher returns from blue-chip US stocks.

Long slog

Spare a thought for Germany's workers. As reported earlier, the country's central bank has suggested raising the retirement age to 69 by 2060, from around 65 currently. 

The reason? Germany could struggle to honour its pension commitments, as baby-boomers retire and there are fewer younger workers to replace them, the Bundesbank said in a report. 

Post-Brexit snapshot

It's going to be a busy week for UK economic data, much of which will show how parts of the economy fared in the first month after the referendum. Here's a quick run-through of the official stats that will be coming out...

Tuesday 16 AugustInflation figures (for July); House Price Index (for June)

Wednesday 17 AugustEmployment stats (August); Update to GDP figures for second quarter (April to June)

Thursday 18 AugustRetail sales (July); National balance sheet 2016 estimates

Friday 19 AugustPublic sector finances (July); Tourism figures (June); Turnover and orders in UK production and services industries (June)

Pound hits three-year low against euro

Pound and euro coins
Reuters

It's not just against the dollar that sterling is struggling. The pound is trading at €1.152 - the lowest level it's been against the euro since 2013, according to Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Chris Saint.

It means sterling is heading for a lower level than it reached in the weeks immediately following the Brexit vote, when the pound finished at €1.165 on 6 July amid political uncertainty and expectations of an interest rate cut (which, as it turned out, came at the beginning of August instead). 

Good afternoon!

Dan Macadam

BBC business reporter

Cabbage patch kids
BBC

Thanks Karen and Chris for taking us through this morning's stories. I'll be following all the action this afternoon.

Sterling is back near the 31-year lows against the dollar that it was hitting a month ago. It's currently trading below $1.29.

You'd have to go back to 1985, when Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage, to find a time the pound went near that against the dollar.  

The latest fall in the pound comes ahead of a raft of data on the UK economy out later this week, which might give a clearer idea of the impact from the Brexit vote

'Poorer than their parents'

new report from the McKinsey Global Institute highlights the issue of flat or falling real incomes, which it says affected about two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies between 2005 and 2014. 

The report says: "These findings provide a new perspective on the growing debate in advanced economies about income inequality, which until now has largely focused on income and wealth gains going disproportionately to top earners ... The hardest hit are young, less-educated workers, raising the spectre of a generation growing up poorer than their parents."

The heat is on

Have we reached Peak Summer?

View more on twitter

Smartphones the 'greatest market on earth'

Tim Cook
Getty Images

More from that Washington Post interview with Apple chief Tim Cook. 

He's asked how Apple can keep growing when so much of its business depends on the iPhone and an industry that’s cooling off:

The global sales of PCs each year are about 275 million right now. That number’s been declining. The global market for smartphones is 1.4 billion. Over time, I’m convinced every person in the world will have a smartphone. That may take a while, and they won’t all have iPhones. But it is the greatest market on earth from a consumer electronics point of view. Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future - like Artificial Intelligence. AI will make this product even more essential to you. It will become even a better assistant than it is today. So where you probably aren’t leaving home without it today - you’re really going to be connected to it in the future".

'People live longer during recessions'

People live longer during economic recessions, but the incidence of suicides and mental health problems increase, according to research by IZA World of Labor.

The research, by Dr Nick Drydakis of Anglia Ruskin University, investigated stats from national and regional studies carried out across Europe, Asia and the United States between 1960 and 2010.

It discovered that for every 1% increase in the rate of unemployment, mortality rates fall on average by 0.5%. However, for every 1% rise in unemployment, suicides increase by an average of 1%.

BreakingFTSE update

The FTSE 100 is 0.3% higher at 6,937 points, with Capita and Anglo American the biggest risers - although they are only about 1.5% higher. Glencore and Royal Bank of Scotland are the biggest fallers, down 2.3% and 1.7% respectively.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 is becalmed at 17,918 points, with Clarkson jumping 8.3% and Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One up 5%. Another takeover target, William Hill, is down just over 3%. 

The age of retirement

Two elderly women from behind in Germany
Getty Images

Germany’s central bank says that raising the legal retirement age to 69 by 2060 could ease some of the pressure on the country’s state pension system as the population ages.  

In its monthly report (in German), the Bundesbank said government plans to raise the retirement age to 67 by 2030 do not go far enough, as the ratio of pensioners to those of working age increases. 

In the UK the state pension age is due to rise to 66 between November 2018 and October 2020, 67 between 2026 and 2028 and 68 between 2044 and 2046.

'Problems remain' at Sports Direct

Sports Direct sign
Getty Images

More on Sports Direct: workers directly employed by the retailer and through the employment agency the Best Connection are expected to start receiving the back pay in full towards the end of August, says Unite.

Assistant general secretary Steve Turner calls the move a "significant victory" in the union's campaign, but adds:

“Investors and customers alike should not be fooled into thinking that everything is now rosy at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse. Transline, one of the employment agencies involved, is disgracefully still trying to short-change workers by seeking to duck its responsibilities. Deep-seated problems still remain regarding the use of agency workers with the behaviour of both Transline and the Best Connection further jeopardising Sports Direct’s battered reputation.

“Sports Direct needs to make Transline face up to its responsibilities and seriously confront endemic abuses within its employment agencies.”

Shedding shares?

Today programme tweets

Sports Direct warehouse staff 'to receive back pay'

Sports Direct store
BBC

Thousands of Sports Direct warehouse workers are set to receive back pay totalling around £1m after the retailer admitted breaking the law by not paying the national minimum wage, reports The Guardian.

The move, which follows an undercover investigation by the newspaper last year which revealed how Sports Direct workers were being paid less than the legal minimum, is to include payments back-dated to May 2012 and could be worth up to £1,000 for some workers, according to trade union estimates.

The agreement includes workers directly employed by Sports Direct as well as staff hired through temporary employment agencies. 

Payments are expected to begin being made from the end of this month.