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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Sterling rises above $1.30
  3. Retail sales jump 2.3% in April
  4. Weak US demand hits Burberry profits
  5. Royal Mail profits up despite lower letters volumes
  6. Brazilian stocks dive on Temer scandal

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

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Would you carry something abroad for a stranger?

Man pulling a suitcase on wheels
Getty Images

The next time you take an international flight, how about transporting something in your suitcase for a complete stranger?

Your answer to that question may be a resounding "no way", and the very thought conjures up terrifying images of unwitting drug mules and long prison sentences, you might need to think again.

"I always take things back from my travels for family and friends," says 45-year-old French airline worker Olivier Kaba. "Now not only am I able to bring things for others, but I get rewarded financially for doing it."

Olivier is a regular user of Worldcraze, one of three similar firms that have launched in recent years to help connect people who would like to buy something from a different country, with travellers who have spare space in their suitcase and want to make a bit of money by being informal couriers.

Read more

Facebook gets into live sports broadcasting

A US baseball game
Getty Images

Facebook has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 of the league's games live this season.

Facebook said it would stream one game a week beginning on Friday, and the broadcasts would be available to everyone on Facebook in the US.

The move, which expands the social media network's reach into the world of live broadcasting, follows similar efforts by other platforms.

Twitter announced an agreement this month with the WNBA to show professional women's basketball, and last month Amazon said it would stream men's American football in a deal with the NFL.

Wall Street ends higher

US traders
Getty Images

US stocks regained ground on Thursday after posting some of their sharpest falls in months a day earlier.

The S&P 500 index ended the day up 8.7 points at 2,366, the Dow Jones gained 55 points to 20,662 and the Nasdaq rose by 44 points to 6,055.

Investors were still said to be nervous about the political controversy surrounding Donald Trump, but several pieces of upbeat economic data lifted confidence.

Commenting on the rebound, Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, told Reuters: "This whole bull market is all about panic attacks followed by relief rallies, and this was another one.

"My hunch is that the Trump impeachment panic attack was a one-day wonder and we’ll move on from there.”

Aston Martin 'eyeing an initial public offering'

An Aston Martin concept car
Getty Images

Aston Martin is eyeing an initial public offering as early as next year, Bloomberg reports, quoting sources.

The century-old carmaker, whose cars have famously appeared in the James Bond film franchise, could list in London, the sources said.

The company is waiting to report its 2017 financial results before choosing advisers, one source told Bloomberg, although no final decisions have been made.

A spokesman for Aston Martin said: "Any matters pertaining to the future structure or ownership of the company are a matter for our shareholders.”

Investindustrial, which owns a controlling stake in the firm, meanwhile denied it was "working on an IPO".

'I will not resign'

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Brazilian President Michel Temer said in a brief TV statement he will not resign. He has been accused of condoning a bribe paid to allegedly silence a witness on corruption.

"I never authorised any payments for someone to be silent. I did not buy anyone's silence. I fear no accusations”, he said, in an irritated tone of voice.

"I have nothing to hide. I never authorised anyone to use my name"

“We cannot throw so much hard work (on reforms) done for our country in the rubbish bin.”

“I will not resign. I will not resign. I know what I have done."

US launches anti-dumping probe into Bombardier

Bombardier
Getty Images

The US Commerce Department has opened an anti-dumping investigation into Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier, after complaints about pricing by its rival Boeing.

Boeing says its smaller competitor receives government subsidies that give it an unfair foothold in the international market for small body passenger planes.

Bombardier rejects these claims, pointing to Boeing's large order book.

If US trade officials find Bombardier is at fault, they could impose new hefty tariffs on its imports.

US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said: "The US market is the most open in the world, but we must take action if our rules are being broken.

"While assuring the case is decided strictly on a full and fair assessment of the facts, we will do everything in our power to stand up for American companies and their workers."

Pound falls below $1.30

Pound vs dollar
BBC

The pound has fallen below the $1.30 mark it breached earlier as the dollar regains strength.

Sterling is trading at $1.29310 - down 0.31% against the dollar - although it is up 0.33% against the euro at 1.16570 euros.

ASOS backlash for listing UK size 10 as 'large'

Asos website
BBC

ASOS and Pull & Bear have been criticised on social media for describing a pair of size 10 shorts as "large".

Twitter user Hollie posted a screenshot of the item.

Since then, many people have left comments including: "No wonder girls think they're fat when a large is a size 10."

ASOS has apologised for the listing of the item and has called it a "technical glitch".

Read more

Ten block cordon set up around Times Square

US police set up cordon around Times Square
BBC

As the BBC has been reporting, a woman is dead and 22 other people injured after a car sped on to a pavement in New York City's Times Square.

Richard Collings, a business journalist for the World Service, is in New York and says police have set up a 10-block cordon around the area.

So far there is no sign the incident was terror-related.

US stocks pick up again

US traders
Getty Images

US stocks are up after investors looked beyond the political controversy surrounding Donald Trump to several pieces of upbeat economic data.

On Wednesday, the major indexes posted their worst performance for months after news reports claimed the president tried to intervene in an FBI investigation - a potentially impeachable offence.

But today, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve said its business activity index unexpectedly rose in May after declining for the past two months. Weekly unemployment data also pointed to strength in the job market.

Currently the S&P 500 is up 0.66%, the Dow Jones is up 0.33%, and the Nasdaq has gained 0.87%.

Trump pulls trigger on NAFTA negotiations

US President Donald Trump
Getty Images

The US plans to start talks with Mexico and Canada over Nafta "as soon as practicable", the Trump administration said on Thursday.

The letter sent to congressional leaders provided formal notification of the administration's intent to redo the 1990s trade deal.

US President Donald Trump blasted Nafta during his campaign as a job "killer".

In the letter, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer wrote the deal needs "modernisation".

Read more.

Four carmakers agree to $553m Takata settlement

Crash test dummy
Getty Images

Four major car firms have agreed to pay $553m to compensate owners affected by the Takata airbag inflator recall.

Toyota Motor Corp will pay $278.5m, BMW, $131m, Mazda, $76m and Subaru, $68m. Lawsuits against Honda, Ford and Nissan have not been settled yet.

A fault in Takata's airbags meant some exploded when triggered, resulting in the deaths of at least 16 people worldwide.

The defect prompted recalls worldwide of about 100 million inflators by 19 major car firms.

The four car makers, who did not admit fault or liability, will provide compensation for losses resulting from the recall.

In January, Takata plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and paid $1bn to resolve a federal investigation into its inflators.

Alibaba revenues jump 60% as Chinese growth continues

Jack Ma, Alibaba founder
AFP
Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999

Revenue at e-commerce giant Alibaba jumped 60% in the first three months of the year, powered by a growing customer base in China.

More than 450 million Chinese shoppers used its sites during the quarter, with the average annual spending up by about a third, Alibaba said.

The growth pushed revenues for the period to $5.6bn (£4.3bn).

But investors weren't satisfied, sending shares down 3% on Thursday.

Read more.

What is going on in Brazil?

BBC World Service

Brazilian stocks have slumped almost 10% after the Brazilian media claimed President Michel Temer was involved in corruption.

The BBC's Daniel Gallas shares the latest details with World Business Report.

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Breaking up big banks would be 'a huge mistake' - Mnuchin

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Getty Images

Breaking up major banks would be a “huge mistake”, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said, allaying fears that Donald Trump is planning a major overhaul of Wall Street.

“We do not support a separation of banks and investment banks,” Mr Mnuchin said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. That is because it would have "a very significant” impact on US markets and the economy, he said.

Some administration officials have suggested they are in favour of Congress updating the Glass-Steagall act, which split commercial and investment banking between 1933 and 1999.

Advocates say the repeal of key parts of the law was an important cause of the 2008 financial crisis.

Never knowingly under-recruited...

John Lewis logo
Getty Images

Retailers and technology firms dominate a list of the companies people most want to work for, according to survey by LinkedIn.

The John Lewis Partnership, including Waitrose, was the most sought-after employer for the second consecutive year.

Online fashion retailer Asos was second, followed by Topshop owner the Arcadia Group, Harrods, Virgin Media owner Liberty Global, Sainsbury's, Virgin, Google, Facebook and (blush) the BBC.

Linkedin said its research among millions of its members showed people still loved to work where they shopped.

Kate Corcoran, of the John Lewis Partnership, said: "Attracting top talent is incredibly important as our business is owned by our partners and LinkedIn plays a key role in this."

Cannes locks horns with Netflix

BBC World Service

Movie purists question Netflix productions being part of the French film festival.

The Cannes Film Festival has said it will only allow films screened in French cinemas to enter from next year, in a bid to support the French cinema sector.

This means that US streaming giant Netflix - which produced two of this year's entries - may have to bow out in 2018, something that has divided industry figures attending the festival.

Here, World Business Report takes a closer look at Cannes' decision:

FTSE 100 closes lower

LSE exterior
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 closed lower on Thursday as volatile trading in the US and a jump in the value of sterling hit investor confidence.

The blue chip index ended 67.05 points, or 0.89%, lower at 7,436.42.

The top fallers were Royal Dutch Shell A and B, down 3.5% and 3.98% respectively, while Randgold Resources slumped 2.61%.

The top riser was Burberry, which climbed 4.69% after it issued its full-year earnings report.

'Ailes was a genius'

BBC World Service

Roger AiIes
Getty Images

As we reported earlier, the controversial founder and former chairman of Fox News, Roger Ailes, has died.

He divided opinion (and stepped down last year amid allegations of sexual harassment), so perhaps unsurprisingly commentators have been praising as well as rubbishing his career achievements today.

US media academic Professor Jeff Jarvis told World Business Report: "Ailes was a genius... The real insight that he had was not political, it was business. It was the realisation that talk is cheap and it is also compelling, and it’s more compelling and cheaper than facts and journalism.”

Hear the full interview here.

Sports Direct recruitment agency sold by administrators

Warehouse worker
PA

Transline, the controversial employment agency that became embroiled in the Sports Direct scandal, has been sold to rival NMS after being placed into administration.

The company was responsible for staffing Sports Direct's Shirebrook warehouse, which MPs last year described as having "Victorian" work practices following an investigation.

It also emerged workers were not paid the minimum wage.

Sports Direct, Transline and a second agency - The Best Connection - subsequently agreed to make about £1m available in back pay to affected workers.

On Thursday Clare Boardman, a joint administrator at Deloitte, said: "Following a period of uncertainty and what turned out to be a poor Christmas trading period, the conclusion of the sale [of Transline] is an excellent outcome for all involved.

"This will safeguard the employment of the remaining workforce which is significant."

FTSE 100 pares loses

The FTSE 100 has pared some of its loses, having slumped earlier by as much as 1.3%. It's now down by 62.70 points at 7,440.77.

Connor Campbell, an analyst at SpreadEx, says: "Thanks to sterling’s retail sales-inspired growth, and the nasty Trumpious odour hanging over the markets in general, the FTSE failed to fully erase its losses this Thursday, though it did manage to shrink its slump.

"Much of the index’s drag is coming from the commodity sector, where the oil and mining stocks are fretting over the likelihood of Trump being able to implement his huuuuuuuuge infrastructure policies."

Wall Street regains ground

US trader
Getty Images

The main US indexes have regained ground after diving more than 1.7% on Wednesday due to a political scandal in Washington.

The S&P 500 is currently up 0.33% at 2,364.84, the Nasdaq is 0.64% higher at 6,049.63, and the Dow Jones has gained 0.21% to 20,649.71.

A row over the firing of FBI director James Comey has led to growing scepticism about Donald Trump's ability to deliver tax and regulatory reform.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones both recorded their biggest one-day falls since September.

UK still can't afford a 'double lock' pension, says IFS

Pound coins
Getty Images

A Conservative manifesto pledge to scale down the state pension from a triple to a double lock is still unaffordable, says the Institute of Fiscal of Studies.

A double lock would mean increasing pensions over time in line with average earnings or inflation, whichever is highest.

In a report out today, IFS researchers Carl Emmerson and Andrew Hood say that in 50 years, state pension spending would only be 0.2% of national income lower as a result of the reform - less than £5bn in today’s terms.

"In other words, moving to a double lock undoes only around a quarter of the damage done by the triple lock to the long-run sustainability of the public finances," they write.

"The fundamental reason for this is that it is pretty rare for both average earnings and inflation to be below 2.5%. Hence getting rid of the 2.5% element of the triple lock does little to change the projected long-run generosity of the state pension."

Brazilian stocks volatile as presidential scandal unfolds

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

The Sao Paulo stock exchange
Getty Images

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said one trader with decades of experience.

Trading was delayed in Sao Paulo’s stock exchange and once it opened the circuit breaker stopped all operations within just a few minutes. That has not happened since the global financial crisis of 2008.

In a fortnight Mr Temer was about to start pushing his economic reform plan through Congress.

Until yesterday markets were very optimistic - but now many don’t see how Mr Temer could keep his job if the alleged tape in which he condones a bribe payment is handed over to authorities.

What happens next? If Mr Temer keeps his job, it will take a herculean effort to get Congress behind him again. If not, the Brazilian Congress will have to choose a new president indirectly.

Getting reforms approved is no longer a top priority for a country still in a deep economic crisis.

Trading has now resumed in Sao Paulo but could be frozen again if stocks fall further.

Charity welcomes Tory debt pledge

Pound coins and notes
Getty Images

Step Change, a debt charity, has welcomed a Conservative pledge to give people with serious debts breathing space to get on top of the problem.

Chief executive Mike O’Connor said: "Problem debt devastates lives and imposes enormous social costs in the form of lost productivity, mental health care and other social costs.

"With consumer borrowing back at levels not seen since the economic crisis and continuing to grow strongly, the next government needs to commit to a concerted effort to tackle problem debt."

However, it said the next government needed to go further to ensure better alternatives to "dangerous forms of high-cost credit".

Brazilian stocks dive on Temer scandal

Michel Temer, Brazilian president
Getty Images

Brazilian stocks have dived more than 10% due to an emerging scandal involving the country's recently installed president.

Brazilian newspaper O Globo yesterday claimed that Michel Temer had helped bribe a potential witness in the country's biggest-ever corruption investigation.

Investors now fear that the president - who was allegedly caught on tape offering to pay hush money - will not be able to push through much-needed reforms in the South American country.

The Bovespa, an index of about 50 key stocks, is currently down 7,070.03 points at 60,470.22.

CIPD criticises Tory immigration plans

The CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has also criticised the Tories' manifesto plans for immigration.

Chief executive Peter Cheese says: "It is disappointing that The Conservative Party have stuck to its plan to reduce immigration to the tens of thousands.

"The idea that there is an optimal level of immigration is a myth, and British business will suffer if they are not able to access the skills and labour they need.

"Furthermore, employers with skills shortages will not thank the Conservatives for proposing to double the cost of the immigration skills levy, which will make it harder to access talent from abroad.”

'Mayism' challenge

Resolution Foundation director Torsten Bell tweets:

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Who was Roger Ailes?

Roger Ailes, former chairman of Fox
Reuters

Just to recap, Roger Ailes ran Fox News since it launched in 1996, turning it into a ratings hit and hugely influential voice in the US political landscape.

But he stepped down from the right-leaning news network last year, amid highly publicised allegations of sexual harassment.

He once served as a media advisor to former US President Richard Nixon, later advising Donald Trump during his campaign last year.

The cause of death has not been reported, however Mr Ailes was overweight and had haemophilia. He took an extended leave from work for a health scare in 2014 and last year was reported to be having trouble walking.

We will update you when we know more.

Roger Ailes's wife issues statement

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes with his wife Elizabeth Tilson
Getty Images

The Drudge Report has published a statement from Roger Ailes's wife Elizabeth Tilson:

"I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning. Roger was a loving husband to me, to his son Zachary, and a loyal friend to many.

"He was also a patriot, profoundly grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise—and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life..."

BreakingFormer Fox boss Roger Ailes has died

Roger Ailes, the founder and former chairman of Fox News, had died aged 77.

Markets trade lower

London Stock Exchange
Getty Images

A quick check in with the markets shows that the pound remains up against the dollar at $1.3031.

The FTSE 100 has regained a little ground but remains down, shedding 92.04 points at 7,411.43.

The FTSE 250 is 178.43 points lower at 19,595.16.

BCC: migration pledge will worry businesses

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has given the thumbs up to some elements of the Conservative Party’s manifesto, but immigration is major sticking point.

The BCC's director general Dr Adam Marshall says: "The Conservatives’ proposed approach to immigration, at a time when many firms are already doing everything they can to train up and employ UK workers, will worry companies of every size, sector, region and nation.

"Some of the Conservative proposals for additional market intervention and new employment regulation will be questioned, even by firms that are not directly affected themselves, because of the signals they send."

Dr Marshall adds: "The Conservative manifesto recognises that the UK needs a strong economy, stable public finances, a strong domestic business environment and outward-looking trade policies to weather the Brexit transition and develop a new model for growth.

"However, the document includes few specifics on how these important goals will be achieved."

Tories plan sovereign wealth funds

The Conservative Party has announced plans to set up a number sovereign wealth funds to help support infrastructure investment.

In its manifesto, it has pledged to establish a series of "Future Britain funds" that would backed by a shale gas industry as well as gains from the sale of "some public assets".

The manifesto also says: "We will encourage pension funds with an interest in joining Future Britain funds to do so.”

A land called digital...

BBC media editor Amol Rajan has been reading the Conservatives' manifesto:

View more on twitter

Tories pledge to extend debt protection

Personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey tweets:

No more SFO?

The Conservatives' manifesto proposes to effectively abolish the Serious Fraud Office.

“We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency, improving intelligence sharing and bolstering the investigation of serious fraud, money laundering and financial crime,” it reads.

In 2011 when Theresa May was Home Secretary she tried to do just that but had to back down following opposition from Cabinet colleagues including Ken Clarke, who was then Justice Secretary.

Economics correspondent Andy Verity tweets:

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