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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Voters go to polls on election day
  3. FTSE 100 and pound edge down
  4. ECB keeps interest rates on hold

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's all from the Business Live page for tonight - but do visit the BBC's Election 2017 Live page. As well as the election results, it will have updates on how the pound is fairing. And you can join us again from tomorrow at 06:00.

Wall Street closes higher after Comey testimony

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images

It was a jittery session for shares on Wall Street as investors weighed testimony from former FBI Director James Comey.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 8 points higher to close at 21,182.

The S&P 500 was more or less flat for the day, ending at 2,433.

The technology rich Nasdaq added 24 points to close at 6,321.

Mr Comey told a Senate committe that the White House "chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI" by claiming the agency was "poorly led".

However some analysts were relieved by what they heard from Mr Comey today.

"If there was something [damning] that's going to come out, as leaky as things seem to be, we would have heard something more than what we've been hearing so far," said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo.

'Is there a compelling reason to buy the pound?'

This from Neil Wilson from ETX Capital.

"If Theresa May increases her majority the pound ought to inch higher, certainly above $1.30, as part of a broader relief rally in UK assets."

"A Conservative victory almost completely priced into this result – markets have pretty well ignored Corbyn’s bounce in the polls."

"The election simply clears the air for the much bigger task ahead. Brexit looms and there are so many unanswered questions around this – is there a compelling reason to be buying the pound right now? It’s hard to really answer that until we get more clarity on Brexit."

JP Morgan scales back US tax cut forecast

People pass a sign for JPMorgan Chase & Co
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JP Morgan analysts have scaled back their forecast on the size of possible US tax cuts after potential setbacks for President Donald Trump and leading Republican lawmakers' economic agenda.

In a research note, the analysts said they now see $100bn of annual debt-financed tax cuts to take effect in the second quarter of 2018.

They previously forecast $200bn of such tax cuts per year to start in the third quarter of 2017.

Vauxhall Opel deal could be completed by end of July

Vauxhall plant
Vauxhall

Vauxhall and Opel's sale to France's PSA Group could be completed as early as 31 July, subject to regulatory approval, Opel has said.

In March, when Peugeot owner PSA agreed to buy Opel from General Motors (GM) in a 2.2bn euro deal, the companies said the transaction could be completed by the end of the year.

JPMorgan operating chief Zames 'to leave bank'

JPMorgan Chase chief operating officer Matt Zames is to leave the bank in a matter of weeks, chief executive Jamie Dimon said in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

His duties are being transferred to a number of other senior executives, Reuters reported.

Mr Zames was among several deputies considered a potential successor to Mr Dimon.

Trump lawyer denies Comey allegations

A lawyer acting for US president Donald Trump has denied that Mr Trump asked former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into former US national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, said: "The president never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr Comey 'let Flynn go,'"

Mr Kasowitz added that Mr Comey had "unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorised disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president".

Markets positive after Comey testimony

Jamie Robertson

Business reporter

James Comey
Getty Images
Comey - "no smoking gun".

The market's verdict on FBI Director James Comey's testimony was that it would have little effect on the President's agenda of lower taxes and lax regulations.

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have all been on the rise, the Dow by more than 60 points closing in on 21,250. The S&P 500 was up 0.16%, the Nasdaq up 0.23%.

Thomas Simons, money market economist at Jefferies & Co in New York said: "There's no smoking gun here."

The other news components making up what's been called super Thursday have so far had positive or neutral effects: The statements from the European Central Bank's boss Mario Draghi suggest the eurozone economies are doing better, and there are still a few hours to go before we start to get the results of the UK general election.

Verizon 'expected to cut 2,000 jobs'

Verizon logo
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Verizon is expected to cut about 2,000 jobs when it completes its $4.48bn acquisition of Yahoo core assets next week, Reuters reports.

The cuts are expected to come from Verizon's AOL and Yahoo units and represent about 15% of the staff at the two units.

Renewable economics

Jamie Robertson

Business reporter

Wind farm
Getty Images
Powering the UK - especially Hull and the Isle of Wight

Great rejoicing among renewable energy wonks that some time yesterday around lunchtime, power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied more than half of all UK energy.

And the more the nation is fed by wind power, the better it is for, specifically, the economies of Hull and the Isle of Wight.

Jennifer Webber, Director of External Affairs at Renewable UK, the renewable energy trade association, pointed out on Five Live that the Siemens factory in Hull and the MHI Vestas plant in the Isle of Wight are both crafting 80 meter long wind turbine blades "the same height as the Gherkin tower in London".

She said: "They are producing blades that are going out to British offshore wind farms as well for export so they are a great economic benefit to the areas that need it most."

Mexican inflation hits nine year high again

Jamie Robertson

Business reporter

President Trump
Getty Images
President Trump - warm words on Mexican trade weakened the peso

Despite the central bank’s best intentions, Mexico’s inflation rate is still on the up, thanks to the weak peso (courtesy of some warm words from President Trump on Mexican trade) and higher energy prices.

Inflation has been hitting nine year highs most of this year and reached 6.15% in May, and the Banco de Mexico has been matching the rises with interest rate hikes, but so far to no effect.

Central bank deputy governor Javier Guzman has said there could be more interest rate rises this year although he expected inflation to start falling in the second half of the year.

Boeing embraces automation

A Boeing factory
Getty Images

Boeing is is embracing automation in a bid to cut costs, Reuters reports.

The aerospace firm, which cut 8% of its workforce last year, is replacing humans with complex robots for tasks such as drilling and riveting.

It has also streamlined its manufacturing processes, cutting production time by more than two-thirds in four years.

The moves are part of a long-term cost-cutting plan at the world's biggest plane maker, which has faced fierce competition with rival Airbus and a drop in new orders.

Sterling edges down as investors eye UK election result

Pound coins and currencies
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Sterling has slipped against the dollar as Britain voted in the general election.

The pound hit a two-week high of $1.2978 in morning trade, but slipped back later in the day to trade down 0.2% at $1.2931.

FTSE 100 closes down

The FTSE 100 stock index has closed 0.38%, or 28.64 points down at 7,449.98 points.

Investors were considering all scenarios in terms of the outcome of the UK general election.

Vodafone closed down 4.7% after going ex dividend, and WPP closed down 2.7%. The advertising giant rattled investors in March when it cut its 2017 sales forecast, citing an ultra competitive environment in which rivals were having to fight for every dollar of advertising spending.

Wall Street stocks back in positive territory

Major US stock indexes are on their way back into positive territory as former FBI director James Comey continues giving his evidence to Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 22.02 points at 21,195.71, the S&P 500 is 0.53 points higher at 2,433.60, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up 8.81 points at 6,305.86.

'Lordy, I hope there are tapes'

Comey says he was fired 'because of Russia investigation'

Republicans to approve financial deregulation

Wall Street slips as Comey testifies

James Comey
BBC

US stocks have slipped into negative territory about ten minutes after ex-FBI director James Comey started giving his evidence to Congress.

Markets are watching the testimony for clues into how this could affect the Trump administration's momentum for Donald Trump's agenda of lower taxes and lax regulations.

Claims FBI was in disarray and that the organisation had lost faith in him were "lies", says ex-director James Comey.

He adds there was no doubt that Russia attempted to interfere in the US elections.

Comey firing was 'shocking'

Democrat committee member Senator Warner has said the way ex-FBI director James Comey was fired was "shocking", and the reasoning for his being fired didn't pass a "smell test", as his evidence kicks off.

FTSE slides as the UK votes

Shares on the FTSE 100 index are slipping as Britons head to the polls. Prime Minister Theresa May's lead narrowed in recent weeks.

"Some investors, possibly the market makers, have been told to get their books fairly straight rather than having long positions in stocks that could take a caning," said Paul Mumford, manager of the Cavendish opportunities fund.

"If you were to get a coalition, or Labour win, or a very small, difficult-to-work Conservative result, then the market would take it quite badly in the short term, the pound would drop and this would provide a boost to the exporters," he added.

"So the FTSE 100 has performed relatively well because people want to have an overseas hedge."

Vodafone shares are down the most, falling more than 4% after the stock went ex dividend.

The FTSE is down 0.2% at 7,460.38.

Euro slips after ECB damps down inflation forecast

Euro, dollar and pound bank notes
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The euro is down about 0.3% against the dollar after the European Central Bank cut its forecasts for inflation and said policymakers had not discussed scaling back its huge bond-buying programme.

While the ECB lifted economic growth projections, it said it saw inflation of 1.5% in 2017 and 1.3% in 2018, compared with its March forecasts of 1.7% and 1.6% respectively. The ECB targets inflation of just under 2%.

'Impeachmint' cocktails anyone?

Renewables provide more than half UK electricity for first time

Banco Popular 'was failing or likely to fail'

Banco Popular
Getty Images

The rescue of Spain's Banco Popular this week was triggered by the likely failure of the bank, European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio has said.

"The reasons that triggered that decision were related to the liquidity problems. There was a bank run. It was not a matter of assessing the developments of solvency as such, but the liquidity issue," Mr Constancio told a press conference following the ECB's regular policy meeting.

"Our role as ECB was just the declaration that the bank for liquidity reasons was failing or likely to fail," he said.

The ECB is the eurozone's top banking supervisor. Following the declaration larger rival Santander stepped in, buying the bank for a nominal one euro.

What happens to QE in 2018?

Will the ECB tell us in September whether the QE programme will be wound down next year?

Simply, Mario Draghi says it wasn't discussed.

'No dissenting voices'

ECB head Mario Draghi says there were "no dissenting voices" from the ECB's governing council about keeping rates on hold or continuing the bank's QE programme.

Eurozone still faces challenges - Draghi

Mario Draghi, ECB president
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Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, is giving a news conference.

He speaks of the recent growth in the eurozone economy, but says the bloc still faces challenges. Inflation also remains low.

The risks to the economy are "broadly balanced", he says, with the biggest concern being an uncertain global outlook.

FTSE and pound edge down

LSE exterior
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The FTSE 100 and pound have both edged lower as voting in the general election gets underway.

The London market is 0.2% lower at 7,464.06, with Vodafone and WPP among the worst performing stocks.

The pound is down 0.18% against the dollar at $1.2939.

Dropped reference to rate cuts 'significant'

While the ECB kept rates on hold today, the dropped reference to rate cuts in its monetary policy update is significant, says Neil Wilson, an analyst at ETX Capital.

"This marks an important shift in tone. It signals that rates probably won’t be cut unless something goes significantly awry in the eurozone economy."

However, he says the bank's assurance that it can still ramp up quantitative easing if required is also important.

"Draghi the dove is not about to pull the QE rug out just yet, although tapering is expected to be discussed at some stage this year," says Mr Wilson.

ECB in a 'holding pattern'

Patrick O’Donnell, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, says the ECB's initial update is "exactly what we were expecting".

However, he says we could still see some fireworks in the press conference due to start soon.

He says: “The ECB is essentially in a holding pattern, waiting for more positive inflation data to come in.

"There’s no appetite to risk choking off the growth that the [eurozone] economy has been seeing of late. Doing nothing is probably the right decision at the moment."

Europe appears to close door on rate cuts

ECB
Getty Images

The European Central Bank has altered the language on its forward guidance by removing the word "lower" in reference to rate cuts.

The ECB said rates would remain at “their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases”.

It had said in April: "The Governing Council continues to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases."

Euro falls on ECB update

The euro has slipped against the dollar following the ECB's announcement. It's currently 0.2% lower at $1.1233.

BreakingECB maintains asset purchase programme

The European Central Bank will keep its asset purchase programme at 60bn euros a month.

BreakingECB holds interest rate

The European Central Bank has left its main interest rate on hold at 0%.