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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Trump administration seeks 15% corporate tax
  3. US stocks remain in positive territory
  4. FTSE 100 closes higher
  5. Metro Bank nears 1 million accounts
  6. profits and sales soar

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By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

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Thanks for reading Business Live. We'll be back at 6am tomorrow with more business news and analysis. 

PayPal profits jump 5.2%

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Payment processor PayPal has posted a 5.2% rise in quarterly profit helped by an increase in payment processing volumes and new customers.

The firm, which was spun off from e-commerce firm eBay in 2015, said its net income rose to $384m in the three months to 31 March, from $365m a year earlier. 

Revenue rose to $2.98bn from $2.54bn. 

The firm also announced a $5bn share buyback programme. 

Investment in UK fin tech falls by a third in 2016

Investment in British fin tech start ups fell by a third in 2016 as uncertainty about Brexit increased. 

According to data from industry body Innovate Finance and Pitchbook, the UK remained the third most attractive country in the world for venture capital investors in the sector.

However, at $783m, the amount of capital ploughed into fin tech firms was down 34%, while similar investment in the US fell just 13% to $6.2bn.

"We didn't have a great year," Innovate Finance boss Lawrence Wintermeyer told City AM.

"But we've been given rational explanation from the industry. There is global uncertainty, and there's more uncertainty around financial services in the UK."

Wall Street edges down after tax reform plan unveiled

US stocks edged down at the close after the Trump administration outlined its tax reform plan.

The promise of a massive tax cut has been at the core of the post-election rally, which has driven Wall Street's indexes to record highs.

However, the rally has stalled of late due to a lack of clarity on Trump's policies and the failure of his healthcare reform bill.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 20.68 points, or 0.10%, at 20,975.44, the S&P 500 shaved off 1.16 points, or 0.05%, to 2,387.45 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 6.52 0.27 points at 6,025.23.

Car hire firm Avis in island ad gaffe

Elisabeth Mahy

5 live business producer

La Coupee, Sark

Now for some lighter business news... 

One of the world's biggest car hire companies, Avis, made a blunder in a recent advertising campaign, which featured a backdrop of a British island where cars are actually banned.

Only tractors, horse-drawn vehicles and bicycles are allowed on Sark in the Channel Islands.

An Avis spokesperson said: "We'd like to thank the people of Sark for bringing this to our attention, and we hope we haven't disappointed too many of our customers with the fact that the island's spectacular roads are indeed off-limits to cars. 

"Our webpage has now been updated with an image of Big Creek Bridge in Oregon, which is a popular destination for car rentals over the summer months."

Trump pushes to open land for development

The US president Donald Trump has ordered a review of protected areas of wilderness - as part of a push to open up more land to development.

Mr Trump signed an executive order directing his interior secretary to identify areas whose "national monument" status could be rescinded, a move which would be a first in American history.

BBC North America correspondent James Cook says:

"President Trump says he wants to reverse a massive federal land grab. There is a particular focus on the western state of Utah - where Mr Trump's predecessor Barack Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument on rugged land which is sacred to Native Americans. Republicans say that move prevented legitimate development. This latest order is part of a wider push by the White House to prioritise economic growth over environmental protection. Opponents - like the Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank - say the president is walking into a legal, political and moral minefield."

Trump 'considering draft order to scrap Nafta'

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The Trump administration has drafted an executive order that would withdraw the US from the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), US media say.

It is unclear whether President Donald Trump will follow through and strike down the deal, which eliminated tariffs between the US, Mexico and Canada.

In the election he vowed to withdraw from the 23-year-old pact, calling it a US job killer.

He pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in January.

Read more here.

Businesses urge Trump to stay in Paris climate agreement

Thirteen big businesses, including Shell and Walmart, have urged Donald Trump to keep the US in the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

The deal, signed by more than 190 countries in 2015, called for lower emissions to ease the threat of global warming. 

In a letter the firms said: "As businesses concerned with the well-being of our customers, our investors, our communities, and our suppliers, we are strengthening our climate resilience, and we are investing in renewables, efficiency, nuclear, biofuels, carbon capture, sequestration, and other innovative technologies that can help achieve a clean energy transition," 

"For this transition to succeed, however, governments must lead as well."

The White House has said it will announce a decision on the deal next month. 

The plan...

Bloomberg reporter tweets...

In case you missed it, here are the core principles of the Trump tax plan:

View more on twitter

Trump tax plan 'pure Reagan'

Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin
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Neil WIlson, an analyst at ETX Capital, says the Trump tax proposals lacked detail. 

Still, he says they are "by far" the most important changes to US taxes since 1986, when President Reagan cut the top rate for individual taxpayers to 28% from 50%. 

"It’s pure Reagan - slash taxes, boost defence spending," he says.

The real challenge now is implementation, he says.

"Can Trump push these through Congress? We have to factor in considerable risk that the president won’t get his way on tax and must be sceptical about whether the package will make it through the legislature in its current guise."

US stocks pare gains on tax plan

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US stocks dipped slightly after administration heavyweights Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn unveiled the Trump tax plan. 

However, all the main indexes remain in positive territory, with the Dow Jones up 0.23%, the Nasdaq up 0.15% and the S&P 500 up 0.25%.

Mnuchin: 3% growth is possible

Tax plan details 'yet to be confirmed'

US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin
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Mr Mnuchin offers no details about how his proposed tax cuts will be funded. 

He says he is only giving "core principles" of the plan today and that further details will be given as "fast as we can".

However, he says cuts will be offset by certain deductions being scrapped. 

And he says the aim of the plan is to create "massive growth" in the economy and more jobs.

Mnuchin also offers tax breaks for business

As previously announced, the administration wants to cut corporate tax from 35% to 15%.

It also wants - as was mentioned on the campaign trail - a one-off tax to encourage companies to repatriate cash that they are keeping offshore. 

The White House has not included a border adjustment tax on imports in its plan  - earlier the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the tax wasn't ready to be deployed. 

However, it does want to switch to territorial tax system that would exempt company earnings abroad from taxation but encourage firms to maintain their headquarters in the US.

Mnuchin promises reforms to individual tax rates

Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is unveiling the Trump tax plan.

He has said he wants to reduce the number of individual income tax brackets to three - 10%, 25% and 35%.

The administration also wants to double the standard deduction - making the first $24,000 of a couple’s earnings largely tax free.  

Vodafone to raise prices for out-of-contract customers

Vodafone logo
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Vodafone is to raise its prices for customers whose contracts have expired but who continue to use the network, the FT reports

It follows an inflation-linked rise to its monthly charges in March, and is expected to cost hundreds of thousands of UK consumers as much as £3.50 a month. 

Texts sent to customers warned them of the unexpected price "adjustment" alongside the firm's new roaming offers.

Austria investigating Airbus boss over fraud allegations

Thomas Enders, Airbus boss
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Austrian prosecutors are investigating Airbus boss Thomas Enders over a fraud alleged to have taken place over a decade ago, Reuters reports

Prosecutors said the case concerned a $2bn Eurofighter jet order placed by the Austrian government in 2003. 

They claim the Eurofighter consortium - which features Airbus and two other firms - misled decision-makers about the purchase price, deliverability and equipment of the order.

Mr Enders and Airbus - which was called European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company at the time - have previously denied any wrongdoing. 

So have the other members of the Eurofighter consortium.

Airbus declined to comment on Mr Enders's inclusion in the investigation. 

How common is pet travel?

World Business Report

As we reported earlier, a giant rabbit sadly died while being transported on a United Airlines flight, creating a fresh PR storm for the US carrier.

But how common is pet travel and how does it work? World Business Report investigates:  

More doubts about Trump tax cut

US president Donald Trump
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The Trump administration will unveil its tax plan in about an hour's time, but its centrepiece - an already announced corporate tax cut - has prompted mixed feelings among investors. 

Luke Bartholomew, a strategist at Aberdeen Asset Management, says the issue is that it looks more like a "plain old tax cut" than genuine tax reform. 

The move will probably be passed, he says, but is likely to raise the US deficit and won't lead to a simpler tax code that spurs investment.

"In the long term it looks like another scaling back in Trump administration ambition compared to the early rhetoric."

FTSE 100 closes higher

Share graph
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London's leading shares ticked up in Wednesday trading, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index up 13.08 points to 7,288.72.

Shares in Standard Chartered bank made the biggest gains after its profits nearly doubled.

Pharmaceutical stocks were the biggest drag on the FTSE, retreating from the previous session's gains. 

GlaxoSmithKline fell 2.06%, while Shire dropped 0.6%.

Swinton job cuts to start in June

BBC personal finance correspondent tweets...

Job cuts 'vital to remain competitive' - Swinton boss

Gilles Normand, chief executive at Swinton, says the insurer must close physical branches to remain competitive. 

"This change is difficult for all colleagues, especially those who are directly impacted by the proposals, but is vital if we are to remain competitive in a challenging insurance market.

"Ever since Swinton started selling insurance door-to-door 60 years ago, this business has always evolved - first via branches, then contact centres and increasingly online. 

"Our approach today, which is based on a high contact strategy, no longer meets our customers’ needs.

“While branches continue to be an important part of our multi-channel business model, we need to ensure that we can interact with customers whenever, and however, they choose."

Swinton to cut 900 jobs

Swinton website

Insurer Swinton is to cut around 900 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.

It said it was reviewing the future of 84 branches as more of its customers bought insurance over the phone or online. A Norwich contact centre is also under review.

However, the firm said it would invest an additional £45m in its IT systems and contact centre in Manchester.

Netflix poised to raise €1bn through first euro bond

Netflix boss Reed Hastings at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas
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Netflix is poised to raise €1bn for a content production spree through its debut European bond.

The bond has been rated as sub-investment grade by the agencies Moody's and S&P because Netflix remains loss making. 

It burned through more than $1.8bn in the 12 month’s ending 31 March, according to the bond’s documentation. 

However, analysts expect investors to be reassured by Netflix's more than $65bn market capitalisation and fairly generous bond yields of 3.75% to 4%.

The US firm raised $1bn through a junk bond in the US last year

Investors 'wait-and-see' on Trump tax plan

Donald Trump, US president
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Markets haven't reacted wildly to news the Trump administration will seek a 15% corporate tax rate. 

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes are up between 0.08% and 0.2% as investors wait for more details about the plan. 

Connor Campbell, an analyst at SpreadEx, said: "The fact investors failed to react to the Treasury Secretary’s headline tax cut announcement suggests that they are looking for more detail, especially the red flags that may cause any proposed bill to go the same way as Trump’s healthcare reforms. 

"There is also every chance that the bulk of the tax plan’s market-boosting juice was used up yesterday, leaving little room for extra growth following the Mnuchin/Cohn press conference later this evening."

Hummus crisis? What hummus crisis?

Carrot sticks, hummus
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Hummus crisis? What hummus crisis?

Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer have been forced to withdraw parts of their ranges from stores due to a "production issue".

With Britain consuming around 12,000 tonnes of the stuff a year, the shortage has led to social media hysteria over the Middle Eastern dip.

But don't panic, it's all going to be ok. Here's everything you need to know about hummus, and what Twitter users are calling a national crisis.

Read more

Metro Bank not seeking consolidation, says boss

BBC Radio 4

As we reported earlier, Metro Bank has reported a big jump in deposits and a £2m first-quarter profit. 

However, it has ruled out acquiring the Co-Op Bank or other lenders in order to accelerate growth. 

Here, boss Craig Donaldson explains why: 

Google co-founder 'building massive airship'

Hindenburg (LZ-129) airship
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The German hydrogen filled airship Hindenburg (LZ-129), which ran scheduled services between Friedrichshafen, Germany and New Jersey, USA.

Uber plans to test flying cars, and Google's Larry Page is already trialing an airborne vehicle. 

However, Google's Sergey Brin may be exploring something altogether more ambitious: a giant airship.  

Sources told Bloomberg that the Google co-founder had secretly been building an airship at Nasa's Ames Research Centre in California.

It's unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Mr Brin hopes to turn into a business - and he isn't giving anything away. 

"Sorry, I don't have anything to say about this topic right now," he told Bloomberg.

Unite comments on Transline bankruptcy

Amazon warehouse worker
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Earlier we reported that Transline - one of the employment agencies caught up in the scandal surrounding working conditions at Sports Direct's Shirebrook warehouse - had filed for insolvency.

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary at the Unite union, said: “Transline must not be allowed to dodge its responsibilities or the back pay it owes for non-payment of the minimum wage at Sports Direct. 

"It must continue to pay the wages of the tens of thousands of low paid agency workers it currently employs across the UK." 

Last month Amazon terminated its contract with Transline, which had supplied the US firm with warehouse workers.

Downing Street Twitter protest

Theresa May, prime minister
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Britain has protested to Twitter over restricting the government's access to data, a spokesman for Theresa May said. 

The Telegraph reported that Twitter had withdrawn access to information that helped the police and intelligence agencies identify plots as part of the social media firm's efforts to stop user data being used for surveillance. 

"We are protesting this decision. We are in talks with Twitter on getting access to this data," the prime minister's spokesman said.

He added that social media companies needed to play a role in the government's fight against terrorism. 

Trump tax pledge fails to impress markets

New York Stock Exchange
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News the Trump administration will seek to cut corporate tax to 15% has not impressed investors much. 

In the opening minutes of trade, the Dow Jones has inched up 0.08% to 21,013.42 while the S&P 500 has gained 0.06% to 2,390.03.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq - which breached the 6,000 mark on Tuesday - is up 0.09% at 6,030.91.

Doubts Trump tax plan will 'pay for itself'

Associate editor at the Atlantic tweets...

Hershey kisses higher sales

Hershey bar

Hershey quarterly revenues are up 2.8% to $1.88bn as the launch of new chocolates boosted US demand. 

However, net profit nearly halved to $125m in the quarter to 2 April following a $208m impairment charge on assets. 

'Trump will not attend tax plan launch'

Interestingly, President Trump will not attend the unveiling of his tax plan later, the Hill reports. 

Instead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Director Gary Cohn will do the honours at a briefing at 1:30 pm eastern time.    

View more on twitter

Mnuchin short on details about tax plan

Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary
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The US Treasury Secretary has not given many details about how a 15% corporate tax rate might work. 

The big question is how to offset such a big cut - US corporate tax is currently 35% - and Steven Mnuchin declined to give specifics.

Interestingly, he said one possible revenue-raising tool - the controversial border adjustment provision, designed to promote American manufacturing - was not ready to be deployed.

"We don't think it works in its current form and we're going to continue to have discussions... about revisions," he said at a conference organised by The Hill.

The administration's plan in full will be unveiled later today. 

Breaking'US corporate tax will be 15%'

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says US President Donald Trump will seek a corporate tax rate of 15% as part of a wider reform programme. 

Mr Mnuchin says Mr Trump will propose the "biggest tax cut" and "largest tax reform in US history".

Last week, Mr Trump promised to unveil his tax plan on Wednesday as he closes in on 100 days in office. 

To break or not to break the triple lock

Elderly care
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Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown says the Tories face a difficult balancing act over the pension triple lock which "is not sustainable in the long term".

He says: "The challenge has always been how and when to move away from the triple lock without upsetting a key constituency of voters. Older people vote more than younger people, and every year the population as a whole is getting older.

"The simplest position for the Tories would be to reiterate their most recent commitment to preserve the triple lock at least until 2020, thereby bridging across the snap election, showing good faith with voters and keeping open the door for a review during the next parliament." 

Bank complaints hit 3m

Banks received just over 3 million complaints in the second half of 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said.

The total was higher than the 2.05m complaints in the first six months of the year because of new FCA rules that give banks longer to resolve issues.

Payment protection insurance provoked the most ire, with 895,000 complaints, followed by current accounts at 514,000. 

Christopher Woolard of the FCA said: “Consumers want a simple way to complain that does not leave them out of pocket. And they want to be assured that their concerns will be dealt with fairly and quickly."

Football's stormy relationship with the taxman

Bill Wilson

BBC business reporter


Football and the UK taxman have had a troubled relationship in recent years, whether it is clubs being served winding up orders for non-payment of tax, or players being chased for the way they have structured their personal tax affairs.

A sport that generates millions in income for clubs and players has increasingly come into the spotlight, particularly in a time of belt-tightening in many other parts of society.

The sport generates and churns huge financial sums in transfer fees, sponsorship, television rights, image rights, and other areas where collecting tax may be a concern for HMRC.

Read more here.

Boeing beats forecasts

Donald Trump
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Boeing, maker of Air Force One, reported marginally better-than-expected profits for the first quarter.

Profits rose $300m to $1.5bn compared with the first three months of last year. However, revenue fell $1.7bn to $20.9bn.

The company said it expected to meet targets for the full year.