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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Vodafone boosted by European operations
  3. Paddy Power shares slide on downgrade
  4. Paysafe receives takeover offer

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

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Thanks for reading Business Live. We'll be back at 06:00 on Monday morning.

Wells Fargo told to rehire whistleblower

Wells Fargo bank
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Wells Fargo has been told to rehire a whistleblower it dismissed in September 2011 after the former employee raised concerns over the opening of customer accounts without their knowledge.

The US Department of Labor, which did not disclose the name of the whistleblower, also fined the bank $575,000.

Wells Fargo was fined last year for opening more than two million customer accounts without their knowledge over several years to meet aggressive sales targets.

The revelation damaged the bank's reputation and led to the resignation of its chief executive.

US stocks close lower

US trader
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Wall Street stocks have ended the day in negative territory after a weak earnings report sent shares in General Electric lower.

The Dow Jones Index shed 0.15%, the S&P 500 lost 0.04% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq also closed 0.04% lower.

GE shares fell 2.9%, although this was offset somewhat by a strong performance from Visa - up 1.5% - after its earnings forecast was upgraded.

Scaramucci brings touch of Wall Street to new comms role

Louis Vuitton launches e-commerce site in China

Louis Vuiton bag
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Louis Vuitton has launched an e-commerce site in China in the hope of tapping a revival in demand for luxury goods.

The site will let customers buy Louis Vuitton products in 12 cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, with others to be added later.

Demand for luxury goods is on the up in China, with brands like LVMH and Hermes reporting strong gains this year.

It stems from stronger economic growth and the cooling of an anti-corruption campaign that deterred some wealthy individuals from making ostentatious purchases.

Louis Vuitton began selling online in France in 2005 and now offers its e-commerce service in 11 countries.

Telecom Italia boss 'likely to step down'

The head of one of Italy's leading telecoms firms is likely to lose his job after just 16 months in the role.

Telecom Italia said its board would meet on Monday to discuss a “mutual termination” agreement for Flavio Cattaneo.

It comes after EU regulators approved French group Vivendi’s bid to take control of Telecom Italia in May.

Mr Cattaneo's predecessor, Marco Patuano, left the company last year after a falling out with Vivendi, which is Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder.

Deutsche Bank confirms Brexit jobs moves

Deutsche Bank logo
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Deutsche Bank has confirmed it is likely to move jobs from London to its headquarters in Frankfurt because of Brexit.

Chief executive John Cryan said on Friday: "For now, it's far from clear what Brexit constitutes, we are not really sure what shape it will take.

"We will try to minimise disruption for clients and for our own people, but inevitably some roles will need to be either moved or at least added in Frankfurt."

He did not offer any idea of the number of jobs that might move to the German financial capital ahead. The bank employs some 9,000 employees in London - around one in 10 of its global workforce.

Tillerson 'satisfied' with Qatar efforts on terror

Rex Tillerson , US Secretary of State
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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday the United States was satisfied with Qatar's efforts to implement an agreement aimed at combating terror financing, and urged Arab states to lift a "land blockade" on the Gulf nation.

Mr Tillerson has been trying to broker a truce after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt imposed sanctions on Qatar.

The countries made 13 demands of Qatar - including that it shuts down a Turkish military base and the Al Jazeera pan-Arab television network - which Doha has rejected.

The four states cut diplomatic, transport and commercial ties with Qatar on 5 June, disrupting the import of food and other items and causing foreign banks to scale back business with Qatar.

Who is White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci?

Anthony Scaramucci, White House comms director
Reuters

President Donald Trump has triggered a shake-up by appointing Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as his White House communications director.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly quit in response to the move, announced on 21 July.

He had been partially filling the communications role since the previous incumbent Michael Dubke resigned in May.

So, what do we know about the president's new mouthpiece?

Read more

Where has the modern diet gone wrong?

S&P upgrades Greece's outlook

Greek flag
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Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has revised its outlook on Greece from stable to positive, citing the country's strengthening economic recovery.

The agency said the move "reflects our expectation that Greece's general government debt and debt servicing costs will gradually decline, supported by economic recovery, legislated fiscal measures through 2020, and a commitment from Greece's creditors... to further improve the sustainability of its sovereign debt burden".

It comes amid reports Greece is preparing to issue its first government bond since 2014 next week.

Tech Tent: The crypto-currency craze

Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent
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In the late 1990s, as investors woke up to the promise of the internet, shares in any company with dot.com after its name soared to giddy heights.

Then the bubble burst.

Now there are warnings of another technology investment bubble - this time related to the fascination with crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

On the Tech Tent podcast this week, we examine the phenomenon of ICOs - Initial Coin Offerings - which have seen over $1bn raised so far this year from investors who get little more than a token and a vague promise of involvement in a new business.

Stream or download the latest Tech Tent episode on the BBC website.

FTSE 100 closes lower

Trader, UK
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The FTSE 100 index ended the day down 34.96 points at 7,452.91.

Shares in bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair fell 2.1% after Investec cut its rating on the company to "sell".

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.05% against the dollar to $1.2967 and slipped 0.27% against the euro to 1.1123 euros.

Shares in UK payments company Paysafe jumped 6.8% after it received a £2.9bn takeover approach from a group of private equity firms.

The firm was the biggest riser on the FTSE 250.

US announces travel ban to North Korea

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un
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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the secretary has authorised a geographical travel restriction on all US citizen nationals’ use of a passport to travel in, through, or to North Korea."

Notice of the ban will be published in the Federal Register next week and the ban will go into force 30 days later.

Limited exceptions will be possible for those traveling to North Korea "for certain limited humanitarian or other purposes", Ms Nauert said.

Trump press secretary quits

EU-US aviation agreement 'vital post Brexit'

The head of US aviation trade body the ATA has warned that a replacement for Open Skies - an air transport agreement between the EU and the US - must be in place for when Britain quits the bloc.

View more on twitter

Somewhere to sit down comfortably?

BBC Radio 4

The Harry Potter shop, Kings Cross station
BBC

There was a time when you went to a train station simply to catch a train, but now travel is seen as a prime selling opportunity. It's got to the point where some stations and airports have become shopping destinations in their own right.

Along one wall of King's Cross station in London, I found half-hour queues of Harry Potter fans paying £9.50 to have their photos taken next to a 'Platform 9 3/4' sign. Next door a shop dedicated to the boy wizard does a brisk trade.

On top of this there are dozens of options for buying drinks, snacks, headphones and last minute gifts. But has it all gone too far?

Business in transport hubs is good for the retailers, but do stations and airports provide travelers with enough of the basics, like somewhere to sit down comfortably?

Listen from six minutes into today's You and Yours to hear Elizabeth Hotson's report.

Regulators 'to probe Amazon's discounting practices'

Amazon
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As part of a larger probe into Amazon's planned acquisition of Whole Foods, US regulators are set to investigate criticisms of the US firm's discounting practices, Reuters has reported, quoting a source.

It follows a complaint brought by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which looked at 1,000 discounted products on Amazon's website in June and found that many had been sold more cheaply in the preceding 90 days.

The Federal Trade Commission declined to comment on whether it would open a formal probe into the claims.

Amazon said that the Consumer Watchdog's study was "deeply flawed."

"The conclusions the Consumer Watchdog group reached are flat out wrong," Amazon said. "We validate the reference prices provided by manufacturers, vendors and sellers against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers."

Alibaba boss impressed by Africa

US stocks lower

US traders
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Wall Street stocks opened lower on Friday as weak results from General Electric weighed on investor confidence.

Shares in GE fell as much as 5.4% after the company reported a nearly 60% slump in profit.

The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P 500, which fell down 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is down 0.2% after chalking up its 10th straight record close on Thursday.

Ros Atkins asks if Brexit is inevitable
How the law, politics and practicalities could affect the process of the UK leaving the EU.

FTSE 100 under pressure

The London market is now down 0.4% at 7,455.31.

Paddy Power Betfair is still weighing on the index after an analyst downgrade sent it 3.8% lower.

EasyJet is down 3.2% after comments yesterday it expects revenue per seat to fall 2% in the six months to September.

This has hit Ryanair shares, down 1.4%, and British Airways-owner IAG, down 1.1%.

Bank of America picks Dublin as EU hub

Bank of America outlet
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Bank of America has said it will make Dublin it's new EU base after Britain leaves the bloc.

It did not say if roles would be moved to or created in the Irish capital, where it currently has over 700 staff, but it did say it would also expand in other EU locations.

It follows news that rival US banks Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have picked Frankfrut as EU bases.

Ryanair warns on Brexit (again)

Ryanair plane
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Ryanair has sounded the Brexit alarm again. The carrier says it will cut flights between Britain and the EU if no post-Brexit air travel agreement is in place by September 2018.

Chief commercial officer David O'Brien said that flights from summer 2019 would be affected.

The firm will also move 85 aircraft currently based in Britain to airports on the European mainland or in Ireland, he added.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary made similar comments earlier this month, warning British ministers "don't have an idea" of the possible impacts on the industry.

German 'carmakers colluded for decades'

VW car
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Germany's best-known carmakers secretly colluded from the 1990s onwards on issues such as diesel emissions and pricing, news magazine Der Spiegel has reported.

Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler held "secret working groups about technology in their vehicles, costs, suppliers, markets, strategies and even about the emissions treatment of their diesel vehicles," the magazine reported.

Volkswagen apparently reported the cartel to German competition authorities in 2015, as did Daimler.

The revelations raise the spectre of a competition probe.

Volkswagen - which owns Audi and Porsche - BMW and Daimler all declined to comment on the claims.

YouTube to redirect searches for IS videos

YouTube screen shot
YouTube

YouTube says it will redirect people searching for "violent extremist propaganda" and offer them videos that denounce terrorism.

People searching for certain terms relating to the so-called Islamic State group will be offered playlists of videos "debunking its mythology".

YouTube said it wanted to help prevent people being radicalised.

Read the full story here.

Judge blocks £14bn class action against MasterCard

A £14bn class action lawsuit against MasterCard for allegedly overcharging more than 45 million people in Britain over a 16-year period has been blocked from proceeding by a judge.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal backs MasterCard's argument that the claims were unsuitable to be brought under a so-called collective actions regime and has not allowed the case to go to trial.

The case was launched after MasterCard lost a drawn-out appeal against a 2007 European Commission decision that ruled its fees were anti-competitive.

Listen: Robots take the fight to mosquitoes

Mosquitoes truly are the bane of so many people's lives and can be lethal. However, there could be a surprising answer to combating these tiny horrors...

View more on twitter

On this day in history...

Bernard Ebbers, former Worldcom chief executive
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Given the near-meltdown of the global banking system during the financial crisis, the excesses of the dot-com era seem almost quaint.

But on this day in 2002 a company called WorldCom filed for bankrupcty protection. At the time it was the biggest bankruptcy in history.

Around 20,000 workers lost their jobs as a result of the collapse of the telecoms firm.

Worldcom's failure resulted in a 25-year jail sentence for the company's chief executive Bernard Ebbers (pictured above).

It was a crazy time - just months before the energy trading firm Enron had collapsed, after hiding billions of dollar in debt from failed deals and projects.

General Electric profits slump

General electric
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General Electric reported a 57% fall in net earnings to $1.185bn for its second quarter.

It is not an entirely fair comparison as 2016's results were boosted by the sale of assets.

However, sales at GE's oil and gas, transportation and lighting divisions were all down sharply.

Chief executive Jeff Immelt stressed that the company's cost cutting programme was on track.

FTSE 100 heads lower

FTSE 100
BBC

The FTSE 100 has given up early gains.

Losses for Easjyet, IAG (the owner of British Airways) and Paddy Power are weighing on the benchmark index.

Airlines have been under pressure since the boss Carolyn McCall made some cautious comments about pricing this year.

Lloyds makes offers over HBOS fraud scandal

Lloyds Banking Group says it has made offers of compensation worth £10m to customers affected by the HBOS fraud scandal.

It says thirty customers have now either received compensation or are in advanced stages of assessment and will receive an offer shortly.

In January six people, including two former HBOS bankers, were found guilty of bribery and fraud that cost the bank's business customers and shareholders hundreds of millions of pounds.

Lloyds has set aside £350m to compensate victims of the scandal.

Audi recalls 850,000 diesel cars

Audi HQ
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Audi is recalling 850,000 diesel cars in Europe and other markets, for a free software upgrade.

It says the voluntary upgrade will improve emissions behaviour "in real driving conditions beyond existing legal requirements".

You can check on Audi's website whether your vehicle is affected.

Ken Clarke: Tories 'hopelessly divided' on Brexit

Ken Clarke, Conservative MP
get

Veteran Conservative MP, Kenneth Clarke says the Conservative Party is still "hopelessly divided" over its position on Brexit.

Over the summer MPs might work out "a more serious" negotiating position he said.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, he described the UK's referendum European Union membership as "idiotic".

"When the public voted, nobody talked about what we're talking about now," he said.

People didn't know the difference between the Single Market and Customs Union at the time of the referendum, Mr Clarke says.

He does not want a second referendum, but he wants Parliament to hold the government to account over Brexit.

Scotland's plastic tenner

Scotland is marching apace into the world of polymer notes. Clydesdale Bank says it will follow last year's launch of a polymer fiver with a tenner - to enter circulation on 21 September.

It features Scottish poet Robert Burns on the front and views of Edinburgh's Old and New towns on the reverse. Very handsome.

But does it taste as good as the English one, Business Live wonders?

Man and plastic tenner
Devlin photo

Siemens falls out with Russia

Siemens will withdraw from a Russian joint venture after discovering four of its gas turbines were illegally shipped to Crimea. The German industrial giant will also halt deliveries of power generation equipment to Russian state-controlled customers for the "time being". Siemens said it had received "credible information" that its turbines had been diverted from the original destination. It said this breaches EU sanctions against Russia.

Siemens sign
reuters

UK government wants views on flying

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
BBC

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been speaking at Manchester Airport about the government's consultation over the future of the UK aviation sector.

One innvoation the government is looking at is allowing passengers to check bags in the centre of town, two days in advance.

He wants the views of industry and passengers.

You can find out more here.

Vodafone wins more customer loyalty

Mobile phone
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More positive comment on Vodafone results, this time from George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Crucially, it looks like Vodafone is gaining traction in the long-running quest to increase customer retention. All too often, telecom companies find there is little to differentiate their service from rivals other than the price they charge, and customers hop about accordingly.

"After some significant investments, Vodafone can now increasingly offer bigger 4G data packages, and bundle them together with a growing broadband offering. Consequently, customers are staying on the books, giving the group a stable foundation on which to build.”

UK deficit rises in June

UK public sector net borrowing (excluding RBS borrowing) increased by £2bn to £6.9bn in June, compared with June 2016. That's according to the Office for National Statistics.

The deficit for May was £6.7bn.