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Summary

  1. Oil price flirts with $50 a barrel
  2. Sterling recovers...for now
  3. Barclays wins approval for Africa sale
  4. UK shoppers plump for discounters
  5. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Kenya opens first railway for a century

BBC World Service

Nairobi-Mombasa Madaraka Express railway
EPA

The Kenyan president has opened a new multi-billion-dollar railway line linking the port city of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi, reports BBC World Service.

The Chinese funded line is Kenya's biggest infrastructure project since it gained independence more than 50 years ago.

An express passenger train will now take about four and a half hours to travel between the two cities, cutting the previous train journey time by half.

The project has been criticised by some as too expensive and there have also been accusations about corruption. It will eventually connect Kenya to neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

US and oil close

US stock market trader
Getty Images

A lower oil price on Wednesday - down $1.43 on the day at $48.23 for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate - took its toll on energy companies.

By the close the Dow Jones was 21 points lower, a fall of 0.1%, at 21,008.

The S&P 500 was down just 1 point or 0.05% at 2,411.

And the Nasdaq was 4 points or 0.08% down at 6,198.

No cash for hacking, say critics

Hackers
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Security researchers are considering buying undetected software security vulnerabilities from a notorious group of hackers.

The Shadow Brokers group has previously leaked exploits allegedly stolen from the US National Security Agency (NSA), and is offering more for sale.

But critics argue that the Shadow Brokers should not be funded.

Read the full story here.

BA's board wants answers

Board members may call for an independent inquiry

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Passengers at Heathrow following BA disruption
Getty Images
Passengers aren't the only ones who have questions for BA managerment

The inquisition has begun.

What happened, why, and who was to blame for a catastrophic failure, that caused misery for tens of thousands of passengers, may cost British Airways over a hundred million pounds and tarnished the image of Britain's aviation flag carrier?

There are LOTS of questions to answer.

Company sources tell me the first question is: whose responsibility was the integrity of mission-critical IT systems?

That sounds like a no brainer - it's BA right? Not necessarily.

Read more

US growing at modest to moderate rate

US job advert
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The US Federal Reserve says that most regions continue to see modest to moderate growth, but optimism about the economic outlook has waned, partly due to concerns over government policies.

In its "beige book" which is prepared ahead of the 14-15 monetary policy meeting, the Fed says that labor shortages, especially for skilled workers, are forcing companies to offer more generous and flexible conditions but so far that has not translated into wage pressures.

China and EU 'to unite on Paris accord'

Chinese and EU flags
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Reuters reports that the European Union and China will stand together on Friday to show strong support for the Paris climate accord and announce plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Reuters says it has seen a document which says: "The EU and China consider climate action and the clean energy transition an imperative more important than ever."

The statement also says "The EU and China consider the Paris Agreement as an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development."

There is speculation that US President Donald Trump will pull America out of supporting the accord.

US market confidence wanes

Stock market trader
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The US financial sector was one of the big winners following Donald Trump's ascension to the presidency.

However, it is trading 0.8% lower on the year.

Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research, says: "It is just investors' confidence in the Trump policies is waning, it continues to wane."

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Musk threatens to leave Trump councils

Elon Musk is not pulling any punches over the climate change accords...

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US must remain in Paris accord, says Musk

Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder and boss of Tesla and SpaceX tweets:

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Market euphoria fades

Goldman Sachs New York headquarters
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There is no let up for US stock markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 41.01 points at 20,988.46 with investment banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan leading the fallers.

The S&P 500 is off 5.25 points at 2,407.66 with Michael Kors the day's worst performer so far, down 9.6% at $32.78.

The Nasdaq is now 19.32 points lower at 6,183.87, down from its earlier, momentary high of 6,217.34.

Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital, says: "With oil also down, the thoughts of an economic slowdown start to come up in people's minds and has created a pause in the market euphoria."

Listen: when gaming stops being fun

BA blames "uncontrolled return of power"

passengers at Heathrow
Getty Images

British Airways has issued a bit more information about the IT catastrophe that caused so much chaos over the weekend.

This is what the statement says:

"There was a loss of power to the UK data centre which was compounded by the uncontrolled return of power which caused a power surge taking out our IT systems. So we know what happened we just need to find out why.

"It was not an IT failure and had nothing to do with outsourcing of IT, it was an electrical power supply which was interrupted.

"We are undertaking an exhaustive investigation to find out the exact circumstances and most importantly ensure that this can never happen again."

Oil prices oscillate

Oil in Libya
Getty Images

The price of Brent crude has come back a bit but is still too close to $50 a barrel for comfort.

It is currently trading down 2.6% at $50.87 while West Texas Intermediate is also 2.6% lower at $48.35 a barrel.

Opec and non-Opec nations last week agreed to extend cuts to daily oil production by 1.8m barrels.

However, some Opec countries including Libya are exempt from the cuts and its output has climbed to 827,000 barrels per day, above a three-year peak of 800,000 bpd reached earlier this month, according to the the National Oil Corporation.

ExxonMobil investors approve climate report

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson back in his ExxonMobil days

On a day when speculation suggests that the US President is poised to quit the Paris climate accord, ExxonMobil is facing pressure to disclose what impact its compliance with global climate change guidelines would have on the company.

Shareholders in ExxonMobil, which until January was led by Donald Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, are backing a proposal for it to stress test its assets annually for climate change risks.

Some 62.3% of votes cast are backing the proposal, up from last year's 38%.

It calls on ExxonMobil to "assess the resilience" of its reserves and resources through to 2040, including the impact on demand caused new technology and the Paris climate accord.

Merkel warns on complexity of Brexit

Angela Merkel
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The European Banking Authority (EBA) belongs in Frankfurt, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The EBA is currently based in London. However, Mrs Merkel says it belongs in Germany after the UK leaves the European Union "because with Frankfurt, we already have a proper centre".

She also spoke about the difficulty of unraveling the UK from the EU.

"Britain is a partner, Britain is a friend," she said, "but (It is) the endless complex web of a finely intermeshed market."

Debenhams to fall out of FTSE 250

Debenhams
Getty Images

The results of the quarterly re-shuffle on the FTSE 100 and 250 indexes are in and it is not good news for Debenhams.

The department store group is heading for the small cap index along with AO World, the white goods retailer which floated just three years ago.

On the upside, the security group G4S is rejoining the FTSE 100 after being relegated in 2015. It first joined the blue chip index in 2007. It is joined by industrial and commercial property developer Segro.

As expected Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Intu Properties have been relegated to the FTSE 250. The changes will take effect on 19 June.

Listen: Alas Jack and Ahmed

Let the BBC's business editor Simon Jack and economics editor Kamal Ahmed guide you through what impact the general election will have on the UK's trade relationship with the EU.

View more on twitter

Sterling set for 'a rocky week'

Pound v dollar
Getty Images

From being in the doldrums on Wednesday morning, the pound has now recovered and is up 0.37% against the dollar at $1.2907.

Pound v dollar
BBC
The pound v the dollar on Wednesday

Commenting on sterling's performance this month, ETX Capital 's senior market analyst Neil Wilson says: "It looks like the FX market has decided to shrug off that YouGov survey which indicated a hung parliament is the most likely outcome from the 8 June poll."

He adds: "The fact that sentiment can shift so quickly on a couple of polls highlights the kind of volatility and uncertainty facing investors ahead of the vote. Sterling looks set for a pretty rocky week.

"And from today’s oscillations it does increasingly look like the FX market thinks a strong Tory majority is pound-positive."

London closes lower

The FTSE 100 has finished Wednesday 6.56 lower at 7,519.95.

The FTSE 250 is off 19.68 points at 19,972.17.

US stocks hit choppy waters

Stock market trader
Getty Images

It was a short-lived record for Nasdaq. The technology-heavy index has reversed gains and is now down 19.95 points at 6,183.24.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also down, off 42.88 points at 20,986.59.

The S&P 500 has fallen 4.80 points to 2,408.06.

Stephen Wood, chief market strategist, North America at Russell Investments told Reuters: "There is a choppy sideways market due to the fact that fundamentals are largely unchanged and expectations of market friendly policies in the US are being pushed to 2018."

Investors told to 'quit tobacco'

Smoking
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Four international investment groups have called on investors to quit the tobacco industry.

Axa, Calpers, Scor and AMP Capital have already sold or are selling their tobacco investments.

The companies launched their appeal on the annual World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).

Read the full story here.

JP Morgan shares fall on trading revenue

JP Morgan
Getty Images

Shares in JP Morgan fell 1.9% to $82.29 on Wednesday after the US investment bank's chief financial officer said that its second quarter trading revenue is down 15% on last year.

Speaking at an investor conference, Marianne Lake said that US economic growth was "solid, not stellar".

New RBS talks over settlement

RBS
Getty Images

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is in fresh talks with the last remaining claimants in a lawsuit over its 2008 fundraising, sources said on Wednesday.

The discussions centre on whether RBS would be willing to raise its offer by another 20p a share on top of the 82p a share settlement already on the table.

Another source source said RBS had not yet raised its offer.

Tha bank declined to comment.

RBS last week agreed terms with organisers of the RBoS Shareholder Action Group on a settlement over the case, in which the investors allege the bank misled them over its financial health at the time of its bailout in 2008. That left only a die-hard faction of investors pursuing the case.

Brent oil flirts with $50 a barrel

Oil
Getty Images

The oil price is getting perilously to $50.

Brent crude is down 2.9% to $50.73 a barrel.

US oil has already sunk through that level and West Texas Intermediate is also off 2.9% on Wednesday at $48.22.

US home sales fall

US home sales
Getty Images

Pending US sales of US homes fell in April instead of an expected rise.

National Association of Realtors said that sales of homes that have already built fell by 1.3% compared a forecast rise of 0.5%.

Nokia goes back to the future

Nokia 3310
Getty Images

And now news to fill the stoniest of hearts with a warm rush of nostalgia.

Nokia relaunched its classic 3310 phone on Wednesday. Users can make calls, send texts and, if they really want to amp things up, play Snake.

Last week, the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones investigated whether it was possible to survive with such a simple model now that most everyone has a smartphone these days.

See how he got on...

Nokia 3310: How long could you survive with a retro phone?

Barclays to sell down South Africa stake

Barclays
Getty Images

Barclays has won approval from the South African finance minister to sell down its stake in its regional unit, Barclays Africa to below 50%.

The bank said in early 2016 it would sell the holding as part of a strategy to refocus on the US and the UK.

Michael Kors shares plunge

Designer Michael Kors
Getty Images
Designer Michael Kors (C)

As expected, shares in US fashion house Michael Kors have fallen but by far more than forecast.

Pre-close it was looking like they would slide around 6%. However, the stock has plunged 9.24% to $32.92.

Record breaking day for stock markets

Where's Norris McWhirter when you need him?

A new stock market record has been broken and this time it is in America - the technology-heavy Nasdaq opened 12.73 points up to hit a new high of 6,215.92.

It contrasts with the Dow Jones Industrial Average which began Wednesday trading down 3.96 points at 21,025.51.

The S&P 500 was slightly more buoyant, gaining 1.63 points at 2,414.54.

Michael Kors to shut shops

Michael Kors catwalk
Getty Images

US fashion house Michael Kors will close 100 stores after reporting poor fourth quarter and full year figures.

The group's chairman and chief executive John Idol admitted 2017 has been "a challenging year" when its "product and store experience did not sufficiently engage and excite consumers".

He expects this year to be "transitional" but the outlook is tough. Michael Kors expects full-year sales to reach $4.25bn, below both 2017 and the previous 12 months. While like-for-like revenue is forecast to decrease.

Trump teases on climate change

More from Donald Trump and the Paris Accord...

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Listen: 'No EU raw food tariffs'

Election 2017

We hear from another boss in our series asking business leaders what one thing they want from the next government.

Somerset cookery school owner and ready-meal producer, Bini Ludlow, says she wants raw food imports from the EU to stay tariff-free after Brexit.

BreakingTrump 'poised to quit Paris climate deal'

US President Donald Trump is poised to pull the country out of the Paris climate accord, US media reports, quoting senior officials.

The American leader refused to reaffirm his country's commitment to the accord at a G7 summit in Italy on Saturday.

He said he would make up his mind after returning to the US.

Mr Trump, who has called climate change a "hoax" on occasion, has reportedly indicated this is still his position to key members of his inner circle.

Rupee withdrawal hits India's economy

Sameer Hashmi

BBC World reporter

Hand holding Rupee notes
Reuters

The latest economic growth figures might have missed estimates but doesn't come as a huge surprise. The ban on 86% of bank notes in circulation was expected to have a severe impact on the economy. But the data suggests that the recovery has been quicker than expected.

However, the latest figures do not tell the complete story. India's economic growth data does not take into account the performance of small businesses and the unorganised sector.

Both put together constitute more than 50% of the total economic output. These segments were the worst hit due to the ban on bank notes - with many small enterprises still trying to recover.

India economy grows at 7%

BBC World reporter Sameer Hashmi has the latest figures on Indian GDP

Oil price falls despite output deal

Oil worker
Reuters

The oil price touched a three week low earlier amid news that Libyan output was recovering from a technical issue at an oilfield.

That renewed fears of global oversupply despite the deal reached last week by both Opec and non-Opec oil producing nations to extend output cuts till next year.

Although Libya is an Opec member, it is exempt from the production cuts which are designed to boost oil prices. Meanwhile, shale oil producers in the US have also been increasing production.

Brent crude was down by 2.8% at $50.78, while West Texas Intermediate was 2.6% lower at $48.38.

"Prices are likely to remain weak until there is any noticeable reduction in oil stocks," Commerzbank analysts said.