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Summary

  1. RBS to charge for holding cash
  2. easyJet shares up 2% on bid rumours
  3. FTSE 100 ends lower
  4. Brent crude just under $51 a barrel
  5. UK's £1bn budget surplus down on last year

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

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Good night - and good luck...

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

That's all we have time for today - and indeed this week - on Business Live. Thanks indeed for reading.

As always we are back bright and early on Monday at 06:00, so do join us then.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, UK consumers are saying "keep calm and carry on shopping", says Andy Verity
What is the state of the UK economy in the wake of the country's vote to leave the EU? And what have we learnt from the past week's clutch of numbers?

Wall Street falls

Markets in New York have closed slightly lower, led by declines in shares of utilities as investors weighed prospects for an interest rate increase in the coming months. 

The Dow Jones fell 0.25% to 18,552 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.15% to 2,183 points and the Nasdaq was almost flat at 5,238 points.  

Lyft 'failed to find a buyer'

Lyft logo
Getty Images

Back to ride sharing for a moment. The New York Times is reporting that Lyft, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing firm, has tried to sell itself to companies including General Motors, Apple, Google, Amazon, arch rival Uber and China's Didi Chuxing, according to several people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Times says Lyft’s discussions were most serious with GM - one of its largest investors. Still, GM did not made a bid and Lyft has so far failed to find a buyer.

RBS makes news

The weekend edition of the Financial Times leads with the RBS story we mentioned earlier - in the UK at least. 

The international version of the paper opts for the basement story on fresh turmoil in Donald Trump's campaign.  

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Deere shares soar

Tractors
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Shares in Deere & Co have jumped almost 14% on Friday after the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer posted a much smaller-than-expected fall in quarterly profit and highlighted its cost-cutting measures.

The company also raised its outlook by $150m to $1.35bn as cost controls helped it weather a global agricultural recession and difficult market for its construction machinery. 

Net profit fell 4.5% to $488.8m in the three months to 31 July, while revenue was down 11% to $6.72bn.

S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Jim Corridore said: "Revenues were worse than we expected, but Deere is doing a great job cutting costs."

Time for a takeover?

We mentioned earlier that easyJet shares have risen on vague rumours of a takeover bid by founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou. 

Travel agent Ashley Quint has this to say:

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Mediaset vs Vivendi

Silvio Berlusconi
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More from the wonderful world of broadcasting - this time from Italy. 

Mediaset - the broadcasting company controlled by the family of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi (pictured) - has asked a Milan court to enforce the agreed sale of its pay-TV arm to French media group Vivendi. 

Last month Vivendi rejected the terms for its purchase of the unit, called Premium, saying its analysis of financial forecasts differed from those provided by Mediaset.   

Mediaset said that it risked losing €1.5bn if Vivendi did not honour the deal struck in April. 

The Italian company also estimates damages of €50m for every month of delay, starting from July 25.

Vivendi declined to comment. 

Often licked...

Massachusetts ride-hailing levy

Uber app
Getty Images

Interesting move by the state of Massachusetts, which is going to impose a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft to subsidise the traditional taxi industry. The move appears to be the first of its kind in the US.

Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry. Unsurprisingly, ride services are not enthusiastic. 

The law levies a 20-cent fee in all, with 5 cents for taxis, 10 cents going to cities and towns and the final 5 cents designated for a state transportation fund. It could raise millions a year because Lyft and Uber alone have a combined 2.5 million rides per month in Massachusetts. 

However, some taxi owners think the law should have gone further. "They've been breaking the laws that are on the books, that we've been following for many years," said Larry Meister, manager of the Boston area's Independent Taxi Operator's Association. 

New BHS blow

Frank Field, chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions select committee, tweets:

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Vevo seeks cash

Vevo
Vevo

Vevo - the online music video site - has hired Goldman Sachs to raise up to $500m, the Financial Times reports

Founded in 2009 by the major labels Universal Music and Sony Music, it aims to raise between $300m and $500m for international expansion, potential acquisitions and the development of new mobile and television services.

Vevo, which is YouTube's top partner, is now working on a paid subscription service.

Rig and roll

Dearbail Jordan

Business reporter

oil rig
Getty Images

More good news on the black stuff. US oil drillers added 10 new rigs this week - the eighth consecutive week of increases.

That means America now has 406 oil rigs in operation – still somewhat lower than the 674 in use this time last year, according to Baker Hughes, but at least numbers are going in the right direction.

Oil prices are bounced higher in recent days, buoyed by hopes that Saudi Arabia and other members of the Opec cartel may agree to freeze output in conjunction with the likes of Russia.

Oil still higher

Oil pump
Getty Images

Brent crude is still above $50 at $50.67 - but down from an earlier high of $51.22 - the best it has been for almost two months. 

US crude is flat at $48.22 a barrel after hitting $48.75 - its highest since July 5. 

But will the black stuff be able to remain at these levels?

Jim Ritterbusch, of oil markets consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates, is not certain: "We feel that this month's approximate $9 crude advance could easily be followed by an equivalent sized price decline next month. The US production factor has taken on a more bearish appearance as the oil rig counts have increased appreciably."

RBS's negative futures

Howard Mustoe

Today business producer

RBS logo
Getty Images

More on Royal Bank of Scotland's decision to charge some large corporate customers to hold cash on deposit, as reported by the Financial Times. 

RBS says the move will only affect very big customers that deal in futures - agreements to buy and sell assets at set prices at given times, in, as the name suggests, the future. Until now, the bank had a limit of 0% for deposits for such deals.

When the deals are done, a clearing house, which sits between the buyer and seller, will require collateral – high quality assets such as cash or bonds – to be handed over as a guarantee. 

If, say, these bonds already yield a negative rate, there is a cost to the clearing house and it is passed on to the customer. RBS says it will now pass on these costs itself. 

The move could erode this collateral and behave like a negative rate. However, RBS says it is not the same as a negative rate on deposits.

A spokesperson said: “Until recently RBS has applied a 0% floor to the overnight rate charged for deposits required by clearing houses for futures trades. However, due to the sustained low interest rate environment, RBS will now be passing the cost of holding such deposits onto a limited number of our institutional clients. Futures are entered into by sophisticated financial investors looking to hedge risk.”

Jessops clicks on Leicester

Peter Jones
Getty Images

Camera retailer Jessops has returned to Leicester - where it first began trading in 1935.

The company was set up by Frank Jessop and eventually expanded to 187 stores - but all closed when it fell into administration in January 2013. 

Dragons' Den star Peter Jones bought the brand and has since reopened 52 stores - with another in Highcross opening today - which is also World Photo Day. 

Mr Jones, Jessops chairman, said: "In just three years since I acquired the business we have doubled our number of stores proving there is still plenty of potential for growth and job creation on the high street. The next 12 months will continue to be an exciting time for Jessops as we plan to open new stores in key locations."

Viacom boss 'to depart'

Philippe Duman
Getty Images
Philippe Duman with his wife Deborah at the 2016 Academy Awards in Los Angeles

More on Viacom: Bloomberg reports that chief executive Philippe Duman will leave the company on 13 September with a $72m payoff.

That would amount to a victory for Shari Redstone, the daughter of Sumner Redstone. She had opposed Mr Dauman's elevation to executive chairman of Viacom earlier this year when her father gave up that role. 

Since he started running Viacom in 2006, Mr Dauman has been one of the best-paid chief executives in the United States, earning more than $400m in that time, according to Equilar. 

He has worked with Mr Redstone for more than three decades.

Viacom deal mooted

Sumner Redstone
Getty Images

The Viacom saga could be reaching some kind of conclusion - sort of. 

The US media giant, which owns the CBS network and Paramount Pictures, has been plagued by a long-running feud between 93-year-old founder Sumner Redstone (pictured) and chief executive Philippe Duman.

It's being reported that Mr Duman has agreed to leave the company with a payout north of $70m - although there's nothing official as yet.

Viacom shares are about 2% higher in afternoon trading in New York. 

FTSE ends lower

London's FTSE 100 has ended the week 10 points lower at 6,858.9 points despite a 2.5% rise for easyJet following bid rumours that do not seem terribly concrete.

Miners Glencore and BHP Billiton were among the biggest fallers in fairly lacklustre trading. 

"In light of an almost empty economic calendar today more of the same trading pattern appears likely... with the occasional round of profit-taking," said City of London Markets trader Markus Huber.

On the continent Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.5% and the CAC 40 in Paris pared earlier losses to end 0.75% lower. 

RBS 'negative rates move'

RBS logo
Getty Images

The Financial Times reports that Royal Bank of Scotland will impose negative interest rates on some institutional customers for holding their cash from Monday. 

They appear to be those using RBS for investment banking services - and there is no suggestion that negative rates are on the cards for personal customers.

RBS has not responded to a request for comment.

Laith Khalaf of Hargreaves Lansdown says:

The move by RBS reported today would appear to only affect a relatively limited number of investment banking clients. We are still a long way from banks imposing negative interest rates on personal customers, which would be a deeply unpopular move, though clearly the direction of travel is concerning for savers. Banks now have access to a line of cheap funding from the Bank of England, which means they are less reliant on deposits from customers. We have already seen a spate of interest rate cuts for savers, most notably from Santander, and there are no doubt more in store."

VW spat cuts production

VW factory
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Two Volkswagen suppliers have accused the German carmaker of cancelling contracts without explanation or offering compensation, prompting them to stop deliveries. 

Seat maker CarTrim and ES Automobilguss, which makes parts for gearboxes, are seeking compensation after saying they faced lost revenues running into tens of millions of euros.

"Because Volkswagen declined to offer compensation, CarTrim and ES Automobilguss were forced to stop deliveries," the two companies said.   

As a result Volkswagen is set to cut working hours at its Wolfsburg headquarters and reduce output at two other factories because of supply problems. 

VW has asked a German court to force Car Trim to resume deliveries or have its executives risk being jailed.

Tech fund raises £75m

A Cambridge-based technology fund has raised £75 million ahead of a mooted stock market listing. 

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) provides growth capital to promising businesses arising from the University of Cambridge and the wider technology cluster around the city. 

Chief executive Victor Christou said: "This additional capital will enable CIC to continue to support exciting IP-rich companies and we look forward to continuing to work very closely with the University of Cambridge and our network within the Cambridge area." 

'The euthanasia of the rentier'

Fancy a bit of light reading this afternoon? Resolution Group's Duncan Weldon is your man:

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Downing Street denies early Brexit trigger

EU flag
PA

Theresa May will not begin formal Brexit talks before the end of 2017, Downing Street says. 

Bloomberg reported unidentified officials as saying that the PM is sympathetic to the case for acting by April at the latest. 

"We don't recognise this briefing," a spokeswoman said. 

The report was enough to send sterling down almost 1% to $1.3059.

Neil Wilson of ETX Capital adds: "Sterling is still on course to end the week higher, having enjoyed solid gains on much stronger-than-expected retail sales yesterday, which suggests consumers at least are not downcast.”

'Path to extinction'

Post Office sign
PA

The Communication Workers Union claims the Post Office is "on the path to extinction", which is why 83% of workers voted in favour of industrial action. 

Dave Ward, CWU general secretary, says: "Staff in the Post Office face 2,000 job losses this year, the closure of their pension scheme and a strategy of slash and burn from the board of the company. The Post Office is at crisis point and the Government has to step in."

About 3,500 union members in Crown post offices, supply chain depots and administration sites were balloted on strike action. It was said to be the first time workers from different parts of the business were jointly balloted. 

Wall Street starts lower

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Markets in New York have opened lower after a week of choppy trading as the corporate results season winds down and investors again focus on the timing of the Federal Reserve's next interest rate hike. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.15% at 18,569 points, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% at 2,182 points and the Nasdaq was also 0.2 lower at 5,229 points. 

easyTakeover?

easyJet tail fin
Getty Images

The market chatter about a possible bid for easyJet seems to be linked to the idea that Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, along with other investors, might make a move.

Shares in the airline were hammered after the Brexit vote and have fallen by more than a third since the start of the year. After peaking above £19 apiece, the stock is now just over £11.

That makes the company worth about £4.4bn - still quite a lot to digest considering the premium a takeover would require.  

Strong backing for strike

More from John Moylan on the Post Office strike ballot:

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Estee Lauder sales sag

Kendall Jenner
Getty Images
Kendall Jenner at an Estee Lauder launch in New York City in March.

Cosmetics maker Estee Lauder reported a smaller-than-expected rise in quarterly sales, hurt by a slowdown in sales in the Americas as fewer customers visited department stores and tourist spending declined. 

Sales in the Americas - its biggest market - rose 1.4% to $1.1bn - its slowest growth in four quarters. Lower retail traffic mainly affected the company's "heritage" brands Estee Lauder and Clinique, and a few MAC freestanding stores. 

The Estee Lauder brand and Clinique also reported lower sales in some Asia-Pacific countries, mainly Hong Kong. Net sales rose $10m to to $2.65bn. 

Net profit fell to $93.5m, down from $153m for the same period last year as restructuring and other charges took their toll. 

Post Office strike is on

Industry correspondent John Moylan tweets:

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It's Friday afternoon!

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Thanks to my esteemed colleagues Karen and Dan for keeping us up to date this morning in what has been something of a news desert (it is the middle of August after all). 

I'm here with the rest of the day's business news and views. 

If you have any thoughts do get in touch - bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet me: @cajuk

May backs Northern Powerhouse

Theresa May
PA

Prime Minister Theresa May vows to press ahead with George Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse" despite having fired him as chancellor.

Theresa May

May backs Osborne's Northern Powerhouse

Theresa May vows to press ahead with George Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse" despite having fired him as chancellor.

Read more

Estee Lauder problems only skin deep

Kendall Jenner
Getty Images

Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder - which has a tie-up with US model Kendall Jenner - says net profit fell 38% in the three months to the end of June to $95m. However, it said the fall was due to restructuring costs and the strong dollar.

The US firm's makeup bag includes the likes of MAC and Creme de la Mer, as well as Clinique, Tom Ford and Jo Malone.   

Total sales, including fragrances and skincare, rose 5% to $2.6bn worldwide. That was helped by higher makeup sales to British shoppers, along with strong growth in Asian markets, the company said. 

Do the sums

Newswire Snap.Pa has done the sums and compared Uber fares at the standard rate with a similar journey on London's incoming night tube. 

The Victoria and Central lines will be the first ones to introduce the night service, so it's compared the routes from one end of each line to the other, as well as some other common journeys. 

So for example, if you wanted to travel from Oxford Circus to Bethnal Green it would apparently cost you £15.50 with Uber and £2.40 on the night tube.

Ealing Broadway to Loughton would come in at £55 with Uber and £3.10 on the tube.

And Brixton to Walthamstow Central would be £40 compared with £2.80.

Of course, at 3am there may still be times when the underground's lower price may not be enough to persuade tired revellers to take the tube...  

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Hong Kong or Shanghai?

BBC World Service

Hong Kong skyline
GEtty Images

A poster promoting a Hollywood film has caused outrage among social media users in Hong Kong for super-imposing a famous Shanghai landmark onto the city's iconic skyline, reports BBC World Service.

The poster, for the upcoming science fiction drama "Arrival", shows a spaceship hovering over the semi-autonomous territory - next to the Oriental Pearl Tower, one of the most famous buildings in mainland China. 

The image was removed from the film's official Facebook page on Friday and replaced with an apology after a torrent of complaints using the hashtag Hong-Kong-is-not-China.

Meet Marcus

US banking giant Goldman Sachs, known for catering to multi-millionaires and corporate titans, has settled on a name for its new lender, according to various reports.

The bank, which will target High Street customers, is set to be called... Marcus. Reportedly the result of extensive market research, the name is a reference to Marcus Goldman, the founder of the near 150-year-old Wall Street powerhouse. 

Financial Times' deputy news editor Tony Tassell can't quite believe it either...

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The quest to end Sierra Leone's 'hunger season'

All quiet on the FTSE

London Stock Exchange sign
Associated Press

Let's get a quick update on what's happening on the FTSE 100

Actually, to be more accurate, that should read what's not happening on the FTSE. The index is down 0.21% at 6,854.29.

For those of you who can remember all the way back to 08:21 this morning, we reported then that it was down 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading - so not much change there then.  

The biggest riser so far is EasyJet - shares are up by 2.04% on speculation that it's a potential takeover target. 

TechTent tease

BBC Technology correspondent tweets

BBC World Service

From Uber to economics via Korea's gaming scene - what's coming up on this afternoon's TechTent on BBC World Service at 16:00 BST.

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'Higher self-employment at expense of lower earnings'

Following Wednesday's ONS figures which showed another rise in self-employment, senior TUC economist Geoff Tily has been analysing the trend for the labour organisation's policy blog.

He points out that as a share of total employment, self-employment is now at an all-time high - 15.1% in the three months to the end of June.

Earnings are however a different matter, writes Mr Tily.  

Using figures published in June by the ONS in its Family Resources Survey Mr Tily says self-employment earnings in real terms grew by an "apparently vigorous" 11.8% into 2014/15. 

However, he goes on "self-employed real earnings were still 24.7% below the pre-crisis peak in 2006/07.

Employees real earnings, on the other hand, "were down 9.5% on their pre-crisis peak (which comes a year later in 2007/08).

"To characterise crudely: just like the labour market as a whole, higher self-employment is seemingly at the expense of lower earnings – severely lower earnings," concludes Mr Tily.