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Summary

  1. Amazon launches review site on new and used cars
  2. FTSE finishes lower, pulled down by pharma stocks
  3. Entertainment One shares tumble after ITV abandons £1bn bid
  4. UK car production 'booming': SMMT
  5. WhatsApp to let companies message users

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all for another day of Business Live - thanks for reading. We are back as ever at 06:00 tomorrow - do join us then.

US stocks in muted finish

US shares finished slightly down on the day after having briefly pushed into positive territory. The main stock indexes were weighed down by healthcare shares as accusations of price-gouging by pharmaceutical firms continued to feature in the presidential election.

Traders were also holding back ahead of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's speech tomorrow, when they'll be looking for clues on a September rate rise.

The Dow Jones fell 0.2% to 18,448, the S&P 500 dipped 0.1% to 2,172 and the Nasdaq also slid 0.1% to 5,212. 

Wooden wonder

Business Insider reports on the Toyota Setsuna - built from Japanese woodworking techniques and designed to age over the next 100 years. 

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The Amazon effect

TrueCar sign
Getty Images

Often when Amazon parks its tanks in a new market, investors sell off shares in its soon-to-be rivals. It happened to Ocado when Amazon announced it would deliver groceries in the UK. 

Now it's happening to TrueCar - a US price comparison website for used cars. Shares are down nearly 10% since Amazon launched its car review website.

The drop is a direct reaction to Amazon Vehicles, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney. However, he notes the Amazon site is unlikely to materially affect TrueCar's business anytime soon.

Meet the octobot

The octobot has the potential for complex function.

For the first time, a soft robot has been built that moves on its own with no batteries or cables. 

The "octopod" can't walk or swim, but it raises alternating sets of legs in a very slow, eight-legged can-can.

It's built by Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Federer and Nadal team up

Rafael Nadal, Rod Laver and Roger Federer
Getty Images

Roger Federer's management company is promoting a new tournament, billed as tennis' version of the Ryder Cup. It'll see teams from US and Europe competing against each other.

But what's got tennis fans particularly excited is that Federer will team up with Rafael Nadal. Two of the greatest rivals in the game (with Nadal holding a 23-11 advantage), the Swiss and the Spaniard are set to play doubles together in the inaugural Laver Cup. 

Tomorrow's FT today

UberEats couriers plan pay protest

London couriers for UberEats, the food delivery service launched by the taxi-hailing app company, are pushing ahead with a protest on Friday. They plan to demonstrate outside Uber's office for the London living wage of £9.40 an hour.

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Running of the balls

Business Insider reporter Christopher Woody tweets...

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The Amazon Garage

Amazon explains that its new car review website is an extension of the Amazon Automative store and Amazon Garage features on the US website. 

More than 35 million people have uploaded details about their car to Amazon Garage, which enables users to view and find parts for their specific vehicle.

Explaining the company's latest land grab, Adam Goetsch, director of automotive at Amazon.com, said: “Our goal is to support customers during one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in their lives by helping them make informed decisions every step of the way."

Amazon fires up car review website

Amazon Vehicles
Amazon

Amazon famously started in Jeff Bezos' garage. More than 20 years later, the world's biggest online retailer is turning again to garages, but this time to the cars that its millions of users own. 

The company has launched a car review site called Amazon Vehicles, offering research, reviews and other information on new and used cars on its US website. 

It won't sell cars. But it does have car specifications, images, videos and customer reviews, as well as enabling customers to ask each other questions about cars. 

The reviews also fit in with its Amazon Automotive store which sells car parts and accessories. 

It's the economy, stupid

BBC World tweets...

'Central banks own $25 tr assets'

As bankers meet at Jackson Hole, Zero Hedge tweets...

The Rock grabs a major piece of the action

Dwane Johnson
Getty Images

Former pro-wrestler and action movie star Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson has been named highest-paid actor by Forbes magazine.

The publication said he had to grapple with an income of $64.5m between June 2015 and June 2016.

He elbowed out Jackie Chan, who was in second place with $61m, and Matt Damon, who earned $55m.

The rest of the top five on the list included Tom Cruise with $53m, and Johnny Depp with $48m.

'End of an era'

BHS store
PA

Collapsed department store BHS is now into its final few days. Some shops may still be trading come Sunday, but in most cases the closing down sales will be coming to an end and the doors shutting for the final time.

Shopworker union Usdaw said "this weekend marks the end of an era, but the saga at BHS continues". The trade union called on Sir Philip Green to offer jobs to BHS staff elsewhere in his Arcadia retail empire and to "sort out" the BHS pension scheme.  

Peppa Pig owner stuffed

Peppa Pig
PA

Peppa Pig owner Entertainment One finished as the biggest faller on London's FTSE 250 after ITV called off its £1bn takeover bid.

Shares fell more than 14% to 215.10p - well below the 236p a share ITV had been willing to pay. 

"ITV just wasn’t prepared to fatten up its bid for Entertainment One," said ETX Capital's Neil Wilson. EOne's investors may be hoping for another suitor, but any bidders will likely need to pay a hefty premium, he said.

French wine doesn't weather the storm

French vineyard
AFP

Frosty weather in spring and a summer heatwave is likely to result in French wine production being down 10% this year, officials say.

In the Champagne region, the harvest is expected to be down by about a third. Prices will rise, although one French wine trader said the Brexit effect would be a greater inflationary pressure for UK buyers.

Grapes growing in Roussillon vineyard, file pic

Bad weather takes toll on French wine

French wine production is likely to be 10% lower this year than in 2015 because of a spring frost and a heatwave now.

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Tim Bell resigns as PR firm chair

Lord Tim Bell
BBC

Lord Tim Bell - a former spin chief for Margaret Thatcher - has stepped down as chairman of PR firm Bell Pottinger. 

Lord Bell, who has called himself an unreconstituted Thatcherite and advised controversial figures such as former Chilean dictator General Pinochet, has stepped down from the business he started nearly 30 years ago with immediate effect.  

"Lord Bell has decided he would like to step back from the day-to-day running of the business, but not to retire and from next year he will continue to provide his personal advice to clients through a new business, which he will be forming," Bell Pottinger said.

Clinton keeps up pressure on Epipen maker

Hillary Clinton
AP

Speaking of the Epipen row in the US, the embattled manufacturer Mylan has come under renewed pressure from Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

She criticised a move by Mylan earlier today to expand discount programmes for its Epipen allergy treatment. The discounts were welcome but "insufficient", because it won't lower the overall price of the Epipens, Clinton's spokesperson said. 

It's been reported the price of a two-dose package increased to $600 from about $100 nine years ago.

BreakingPharma firms drag down FTSE

Shire tablets
Reuters

The FTSE 100 finished 19 points lower at 6,816.90 points, with healthcare firms among the biggest fallers. Hikma Pharmaceuticals took the heaviest hit on the blue chip index, falling 3.8%, while drug maker Shire fell 2.5%.

The roots of the sell-off are on the other side of the Atlantic, where a controversy about price hikes on Epipens has hit US pharmaceutical shares.  

"European healthcare stocks have been caught in the storm of a US biotech sell-off," said Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets. "Another attack on price gauging in the industry from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton puts pricing power in the industry at risk."

Henderson keeps fund suspension in place

Amazon distribution centre
Getty Images

Henderson Global Investors has kept the gates shut on its £3.9bn property fund. It was one of several funds to stop investors pulling any more cash out of the property trust following the Brexit vote.

In an update Henderson said it still doesn't have enough liquidity in the fund to allow customers to start withdrawals again, despite selling off several properties. One was this Amazon distribution centre in Peterborough, sold for more than £40m.

Somalia hunts for fake-cash bank teller

Dollar bills
Getty Images

A cashier has gone missing along with more than $500,000 in cash, the governor of Somalia's Central Bank has said. Bashir Issa Ali said the cashier had been for some time exchanging real dollar notes for fake ones. 

The central bank has faced numerous challenges in recent years. One governor resigned after weeks in the job saying the institution was too corrupt for her to manage. United Nations appointed experts have described the Somalia bank as a "slush fund" for political leaders.

Investors 'sought safety after Brexit'

Personal investors took a safety-first approach with their portfolios after the UK's vote to leave the EU, new figures show.

Investors withdrew £1bn from investment funds in July, with some moving their money into fixed-income products, the Investment Association said.

This withdrawal was not as dramatic as the amounts taken out in June, when the vote was taken. However, it was in marked contrast to July last year when investors added £3.7bn to their portfolios.

Briefcase and cash

Investors 'sought safety after Brexit'

Personal investors took a safety-first approach with their portfolios after the UK's vote to leave the EU, new figures show.

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Meet Mr Ashley

Mike Ashley
PA

The BBC has heard back from a spokesman for Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley about a group of influential investors urging a review of the company. The spokesman sent a brief email which did not directly address that, but did talk about next month's Sports Direct open day...

Mike Ashley acknowledges the appreciation of his efforts in terms of hosting an open day. He looks forward to meeting everyone and answering all your questions

Mike Ashley's spokesman

Bumper bank holiday ahoy

Oxford St
Getty Images

Sticking with Britain's High Street, the number of shoppers out over the Bank Holiday weekend is expected to be 6.5% higher than last year. Sunny, dry weather and the weak pound could mean a bonanza for retailers, according to analysts at Springboard. 

Saturday is expected to be particularly busy, with a predicted 7.2% increase in footfall compared with this time last year. The summer sunshine and an increase in both overseas and domestic tourists is behind the boost to shopper numbers.  

Tiffany profits sparkle

A visitor takes a photograph of the 'Tiffany Diamond' on display at the Tiffany and Co jewellery store on on the Champs Elysees
Getty Images

Luxury jeweller Tiffany has reported a boost to second quarter profits after price hikes and a drop in the cost of precious metals. 

Tiffany's net income rose to $105.7m in the quarter to July 31 from $104.9m a year earlier.

It's also just told investors of a boost to UK sales following the Brexit vote, suggesting that the fall in sterling has made London a more attractive shopping destination.  

Tiffany shares are among the biggest risers on Wall Street - up more than 6% in early trading, valuing the company at $9.2bn.

All eyes on Jackson Hole

Grand Teton National Park
Getty Images

The great and the good from the world of central banking are starting to convene in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for the annual economic symposium.

The event kicks off today, with Hillary Clinton among the speakers. The main event, though,  is tomorrow when markets will be reading between the lines of US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's speech.  

"Investors will hang on every word uttered by Janet Yellen," said Neil Wilson of ETX Capital. "The big question on the table is whether the Fed is ready to raise rates in September."

BreakingUS stocks edge down

US stocks drifted down in the opening few minutes as traders remained cautious ahead of US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's speech at a central banking summit tomorrow. 

The Dow Jones was down 0.1% at 18,462. The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 2,173, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 0.1% at 5,210. 

WhatsApp shake-up: Part 2

A bit more on the biggest privacy shake-up from WhatsApp since it was acquired by Facebook for $19bn in 2014. 

WhatsApp says it's going to start sharing users' phone numbers with the social network. That's going to help tackle spam and abuse, as well as offer people "better friend suggestions and more relevant ads" on Facebook, the company says.

But Pamela Clark-Dickson, principal analyst at Ovum, says: "When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook it was able to reassure users that it would remain independent.

"Now it's giving Facebook phone numbers - some might say that's a betrayal of trust. In a small way, it has gone back on what it said it wouldn't do."

Read the full story here.

WhatsApp to allow company messages

WhatsApp and Facebook apps
AP

WhatsApp, the hugely popular messaging app owned by Facebook, is going to allow companies to contact users directly, but promises it won't lead to a barrage of spam.

The sort of messages it's envisioning are alerts about flight delays or bank balance updates. It will also allow appointment information, delivery notifications and some "marketing" messages.

WhatsApp is going to test the new messaging features in the coming months, but promised in a blog post to avoid a "spammy experience" where people are inundated with ads.

The Japanese firms hiring people to make staff cry

BBC World Service

Woman crying
BBC

Hopefully this is a good place to start in my quest to find entertaining business news. BBC World Service is reporting that Japanese companies are hiring people to help their staff bond through crying. 

The sessions involve employees watching sad films while a male model wipes away their tears, all with the aim of helping the employees feel closer. The job title of the professional tear-wipers is "ikemeso danshi", which translates as "handsome weeping boy". 

"Japanese are not used to crying in front of people. But once you cry in front of others, the environment will change, particularly in a business," one such weeping boy, Ryusei - who is in action above - tells the BBC.

The idea is to show off your vulnerability - when others see that, it's supposed to bring people together so they work better as a team.

You can read the full story here.

Good afternoon!

Dan Macadam

BBC business reporter

Thanks Chris and Tom for taking us through this morning. 

It's pretty quiet out there - let's be honest - as we move through the dog days of summer. But I won't let that stop me as I scour the globe for all that's informative or entertaining in the world of business. 

Any feedback or tip-offs, please get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk.

World's best burger?

We thought this would be a good post to put out at lunchtime...

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Lingerie launch

Peter Stringfellow
PA
Peter Stringfellow at the opening of a club in Dublin in 2006

We have the Evening Standard to thank for bringing us the news that strip joint, sorry, nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow has decided to launch a lingerie range, just in time for Christmas.

The range will be sold online - and the 75-year-old may even open a store in central London too to sell clothing from other designers as well.

Stringfellow tells the Standard: “People have seen the value of branding. Up until now, I haven’t really used Stringfellows as a brand name, so now I’m going to do that.”

He is also selling Angels, the "gentlemen's club" in Soho to focus on the venue that bears his name. 

H.Samuel owner sales slide

A shopper walks by a Zales Jewelers store at the Serramonte Mall in Daly City, California.
Getty Images

H.Samuel owner Signet Jewelers has reported an unexpected 2.3% drop in like-for-like sales for the second quarter after weaker demand for its Sterling and Zale lines of jewelry.

Analysts on average were expecting sales to increase 1%, according to research firm Consensus Metrix.

That miss has sent shares down more than 12% in pre-market trading in New York, where Signet is listed.

French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel dies

French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel
Getty Images

Tributes are pouring in for French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel, who has died aged 86 following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Rykiel launched her fashion house during the Swinging Sixties and became known for creating chic, body-hugging dresses that used classic stripes and bright colours.

Nicknamed the "Queen of Knitwear", her couture creations were worn by actresses including Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn.

"She invented not just a style but an attitude, a way of living and being, and offered a freedom of movement," said French President Francois Hollande.

FTSE update

The 14% slide in Entertainment One shares has dragged the FTSE 250 about 1% lower in afternoon trading to 17,840 points. The Peppa Pig owner is by far the biggest faller, while challenger banks Shawbrook and Aldermore are both up 9.6% and 5.6% respectively. 

On the FTSE 100, meanwhile, Irish buildings supplies company CRH is the biggest riser after reporting a 35% rise in sales to €12.7bn for the first half, while Hikma Pharmaceuticals is the biggest loser thus far, down 4.3%.

Britney and Robbie and Apple

Adam Sherwin, media correspondent at the i paper, tweets:

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Book an Uber

Uber will now allow customers in London to book journeys up to 30 days in advance.  

That should annoy both black cabbies and minicab operators too - result! 

Uber logo on a phone

Uber adds advance bookings in London

Transport app Uber allows customers in London to book journeys up to 30 days in advance.

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EOne shares sink

Peppa Pig
Getty Images

ITV had offered 236p a share for Entertainment One, but the Canadian company was thought to be looking for closer to 300p a share.

However, the stock is now trading at about 216p - 14% lower than yesterday's close - following ITV's decision to walk away.

Will investors now regret that decision?