Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FTSE 100 falls more than 1%
  3. Illegal Bitcoin factory found in Kiev swimming pool
  4. Record passenger numbers at Heathrow
  5. Nationwide bags current account boost
  6. Old Mutual on target for separation

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's all from the Business Live page for tonight. Please join us again on Monday from 06:00.

Where have all the peaches gone?

A failed peach harvest devastates the US South

Peaches are big business in South Carolina. But a failed harvest is having devastating consequences.

Video filmed and edited by the BBC's Paul Blake.

Coffee prices "vulnerable" to insect pest threat

n/a
Getty Images

Coffee futures are "vulnerable to an upside run", thanks to the threat to Brazilian output from insect pests, according to analyst Judith Ganes-Chase of J Ganes Consulting.

There is also some "some angst" about Vietnamese production.

The outlook is being clouded by an outbreak of the coffee borer beetle, whose spread is being seen as encouraged by bans on the use of endosulfan, an insecticide being phased out worldwide because of its risks to human health.

"If the situation is left to fester, it could potentially create havoc with the next crop," warned Ms Ganes-Chase.

US stocks close higher after inflation data

US stock indexes have closed higher breaking a three-day losing streak, as tepid inflation data brought back investors to riskier assets.

This was despite heightened tensions between the US and North Korea.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 14.11 points, or 0.06%, at 21,858.32 and the S&P 500 was up 3.11 points, or 0.13%, at 2,441.32. The Nasdaq Composite was up 39.68 points, or 0.64%, at 6,256.56.

Opening a box of wine this weekend?

Wine shop
Reuters

Specialist magazines say demand is growing for wine boxes.

Amazon say sales of its bag-in-box wines increased by 212% year-on-year during June and July.

Its biggest sales were in Bristol, followed by Leeds and London.

Waitrose has also launched a new bag-in-box range to meet demand.

Monte dei Paschi reports 3.1bn euro loss

Monte dei Paschi
Getty Images

Monte dei Paschi di Siena reported a 3.1bn euro second-quarter loss after additional writedowns on bad loans Italy's fourth biggest bank is selling as part of its bailout by the state.

After months of talks with European regulators, the bank completed an 8bn euro capital increase to strengthen its finances this week.

This included a 3.85bn euro cash injection from the state, giving the government an initial stake of about 52.2% in the bank.

Powerplays at Uber

Three investors in Uber have demanded that one of Uber's biggest investor, Benchmark, step down from the board, Axios reports.

This is after Benchmark on Thursday launched a lawsuit to try to remove Uber former chief executive Travis Kalanick from the board.

SoundCloud lays off chief exec and receives new funding

SoundCloud has received a "substantial" new round of investment, the company has said, insulating the popular online music streaming service from potentially running out of cash later this year, after laying off 40% of its staff in July.

The investment amounted to around $170m as reported on Thursday by Axios, said Reuters.

As part of the new investment, digital media veterans Kerry Trainor and Michael Weissman, respectively the former chief executive and chief operating officer of online video service Vimeo, will take the same roles at SoundCloud.

SoundCloud founder and former chief executive Alexander Ljung has agreed to step aside to become chairman of the board.

Snapchat registered with Russian regulator 'unknowingly'

Could Sweden mediate in North Korea?

According to Reuters, Sweden could be in a position to act as an intermediary in the crisis between the US and North Korea.

While the US doesn't have any diplomatic relations in North Korea, Sweden has a long-standing "special relationship" with the country - although it still hasn't been paid for hundreds of Volvo saloons it imported into the communist country in the 1970s, Reuters says.

Tricks to help us save more

FTSE 100 closes down as US and N Korea tensions continue

The FTSE 100 share index has closed 1.14%, or 84.46 points down at 7,309.96 points.

Heavyweight miners Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore all dropped between 3% to 4%, the biggest fallers on the index, as tensions between the US and North Korea hit riskier assets, including metals prices.

Russia's GDP grows to 2.5%

Russia factory
Getty Images

The Russian economy grew 2.5% in the second quarter compared with the previous year, according to the Federal Statistics Service.

This is its best annual rate since the third quarter of 2012.

"Growth in both the construction and industrial sectors picked up sharply, while retail sales growth returned to positive territory. Agriculture was the only key sector to contract in the second quarter," said research firm Capital Economics.

Wilko warns thousands of jobs at risk

Wilko logo
BBC

Wilko has entered redundancy consultation with nearly 4,000 staff, weeks after warning about a rise in costs after the pound's Brexit-induced collapse.

Wilko will create 1,000 new senior supervisor roles will be created as part of the shake-up, as well as a "significant amount" of customer service roles.

The move comes after Wilko posted an 80% plunge in pre-tax profits to £5.1m in the year to 28 January 28, with the firm pointing to "uncertain economic and geopolitical events", the collapse in sterling and the introduction of the national living wage.

Why is the pound so low against the euro?

Wall Street opens higher after tepid inflation data

US stock indexes opened higher for the first time in four days earlier after tepid data pointed to benign inflation.

That could make the Federal Reserve cautious about raising rates again this year, even as concerns linger over rising tensions between the US and North Korea.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 30.58 points, or 0.14%, at 21,874.59, the S&P 500 was up 5.00 points, or 0.20%, at 2,443.07. The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.36 points, or 0.47%, at 6,246.36.

Snap shares fail to crackle and pop

Snap ghost toy by trading screen
Getty Images

Shares in Snap, the firm behind Snapchat, are down more than 11% after the messaging app's daily active user growth missed expectations for the second quarter in a row.

Snapchat's second-quarter daily active users rose 21% to 173 million from a year earlier, falling short of the 175.2 million expected by analysts.

Lawson climate change claims 'not true'

Steel unions welcome Tata pensions deal

Unions reacted positively to Tata Steel signing documentation for a so-called regulated apportionment arrangement (RAA) to hive off the British Steel Pension Scheme.

Community, Unite and GMB, said in a statement: "We welcome the RAA announcement which includes a commitment that Tata will stand behind a new scheme with reduced annual increases.

"For over a year our members have feared for their security in retirement, and this announcement helps to bring that uncertainty to an end."

When the RAA takes effect, workers will be able to join a new pension scheme which will have lower future annual increases for pensioners and deferred members.

You can call him - Al

Tata Steel pension deal is "good balance"

n/a
Getty Images

Steel company Tata is to separate its UK pension scheme from the business.

It could mean a potential merger between the Indian-owned firm and the German steel producer ThyssenKrupp is more likely to move forward.

The £15bn British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) has been a significant barrier to any agreement.

Tata has been in negotiations with pension regulators and trustees of the scheme.

Former Pensions MInister Steve Webb, now director of policy at Royal London, said: "This deal represents a good balance between trying to save steel jobs and trying to protect members' pensions."

Full story here

Tata fined £1m for Scunthorpe toxic gas

n/a
Getty Images

Tata Steel has been ordered to pay £1m after it exposed five people to toxic substances at Scunthorpe Steel Works.

The firm admitted releasing a quantity of benzole, exposing five workers to risk of death from flammable vapours coming off it, in June 2011.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation showed it failed to take appropriate safety measures.

Tata Steel was fined £930,000 and ordered to pay costs of £70,000, at a hearing at Hull Crown Court.

Love 'em or hate 'em, selfie sticks became a million dollar idea

Social media crackdown by Chinese authorities

n/a
Getty Images

China says it is investigating its largest social media platforms - Weibo, WeChat and Baidu Tieba - for alleged violations of cyber security laws.

The Cyberspace Administration said people had been using the three platforms to spread terror-related material, rumours and obscenities.

The breaches "jeopardised national security," the administration said.

Read the full story

Energy switching to "explode" this month

n/a
Getty Images

The latest data for households switching energy suppliers out today, revealed switching was up in July.

But smaller suppliers reckon the stats for August will be even higher.

Challenger green energy firm Bulb say it's just had its best-ever week for switching in its two-year history.

It said it has had seen 21,000 new sign ups in 10 days since the price rise to bring its customer numbers to almost 100,000.

The reason? At the start of the month British Gas announced a bumper 12.5% electricity price rise for its customers.

"Customers are fed up with British Gas and the other Big Six constantly raising prices," a Bulb spokesperson told the BBC.

Un oeuf is enough as eggs scandal spreads

n/a
Getty Images

The contaminated egg scandal has now spread to 15 EU countries, as well as Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to European officials.

Eggs, coming mainly from the Netherlands, have been found to contain a harmful pesticide - fipronil - banned by the EU for use in the food industry.

A row has erupted over how long Belgian and Dutch authorities have known about the contamination.

More on the story here

RBS rated worst for customer service in poll

n/a
Getty Images

RBS has taken bottom place in the latest banking customer service poll from MoneySavingExpert.

First Direct tops the table once more, as it has done since the poll began in 2010.

Nationwide and Smile/Co-op Bank remain in second and third place, with Santander fourth.

Languishing at the bottom of the table just ahead of RBS are high street giants Natwest, HSBC and Barclays.

RBS says: "Of the 139 of our customers polled, we are disappointed that 29 rated us poorly.

"We recognise that we have work to do to improve our customer experience.

"We are constantly listening to customers to provide a service that better meets their needs; for instance, we offer an award winning mobile banking app which has over five million active users, helping our customers to manage their money every day."

Gold gains as stocks slide

Gold bars
Reuters

As is often the case in times of uncertainty, the price of gold has risen as investors seek out what they consider to be safer assets.

The gold price hit a two-month high of $1,288.97 an ounce earlier on Friday, and is on track for its biggest one-week rise since April.

"There is a continuation of flight to the safe havens after remarks on Thursday evening from Trump about North Korea," Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig told Reuters.

"It's not very likely that these tensions will ease in the near future so the outlook seems supportive for gold."

Domino's Pizza teams up with London franchise

Domino's Pizza
Newcast

Domino's Pizza has struck a deal to create a new partnership with its largest franchisee in London.

The company is paying £24m to take a 75% stake in the company, which will contain 25 existing Domino's stores in London.

"The creation of the partnership will enable Domino's Pizza Group to take advantage of the significant growth opportunity in the London area," the company said.

How are Manchester businesses so resilient?

Miners leading the slump

n/a
Getty Images

Miners are having the biggest wobble among blue chip stocks today.

Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Glencore have all fallen between 3.6% to 5%.

The continuing tensions between the US and North Korea have hit riskier assets, including metals prices.

"The miners have been quite resilient over the first few days of the sell-off, they held up relatively well, but today especially you're starting to see that fall-out in mining stocks, so I think that brings in the question of Chinese demand," Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments told Reuters.

The broader UK mining sector fell 3.6%.

The bears are wrong...

n/a
Getty Images

Despite stuttering stock markets this week, the global equity bull market is far from running out of steam, reckons Jon Cunliffe, chief investment officer at Charles Stanley.

"The US economy is advancing at a decent pace and tax reform from the Trump administration will likely help markets further," he said.

"Equally, the story coming out of Japan is a positive one and we remain optimistic on the outlook for the euro zone."

He said that the earnings momentum is impressive so far with growth in the second quarter at its highest level since at least 2015.

"A lot will depend on the actions of the central banks throughout the rest of the year but we believe that the global equity markets can make further progress over the next 12 months,” he said.

Cash use declines further

n/a
Getty Images

The number of cash payments decreased by 11% between 2015 and 2016, but it remains the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to UK Finance.

Consumers and businesses made 15.4bn cash payments in 2016 – down from 17.2bn in 2015.

But more than one in four (26%) consumer cash payments were for a value of £1 or less, and more than three in five (61%) were for a value of £5 or less.

Adrian Buckle, chief economist at UK Finance, said: “We have witnessed a significant shift away from cash use in this country with contactless cards undoubtedly causing a decrease in the use of notes and coins."

But he reckons cash will be around for some time to come.

"People will always want to choose the payment methods that best suit them and, for the foreseeable future, in lots of cases that will continue to be cash.”

FTSE 100 fall continues as investors remain nervous of Trump

n/a
Getty Images

There's been no let up in the FTSE 100 fall today. It fell 0.94% at opening this morning, and has since been lurking between 1.10% and 1.20% down on the day.

"The FTSE is now about 250 points, or more than 3%, below its high of the week hit on Tuesday," pointed out Neil Wilson of ETX Capital.

Investors continue to be rattled over the situation between the US and North Korea.

Yesterday, Donald Trump said North Korea should be "very, very nervous" if it acted against the US.

Illegal Bitcoin factory found in Kiev swimming pool

n/a
Getty Images

An illegal Bitcoin factory has been discovered in the swimming pool of a health and wellness centre in Kiev.

That's according to the delo.ua business website which published a statement issued by the Svyatoshynskyy district court.

"Some 200 units of computer equipment (miners) used to generate the crypto-currency Bitcoin were discovered on the territory of a health and wellness centre belonging to the Paton Electric Welding Institute," the statement said.

Issuing or circulating currency surrogates such as Bitcoin are prohibited in Ukraine.

The investigators also found forged bank documents, which were used to get the crypto-currency into "official electronic payment systems" for further "conversion and transfer to the bank accounts of bogus companies", and finally onto the bank cards of the scheme's organisers.

Euro parity with pound

n/a
Getty Images

Will the euro reach parity with the pound for the first time in its 18-year history?

Analysts at US investment bank Morgan Stanley reckon so.

They've raised their currency forecasts for the euro today, and predict it will hit $1.25 early next year.

That would leave it one-for-one versus the pound by 2018.

Dixons Carphone downgraded

n/a
Getty Images

Dixons Carphone shares have slumped 8.5% this morning in early trading on a broker downgrade.

Exane BNP Paribas moved the retailer to an "underperform" rating because of near-term caution on profit and cash forecast.

Meanwhile it said it's concerned about the firm's mobile business in the long-term.

"With consensus, sentiment and forecast too optimistic in the face of macro headwinds, positive catalysts are hard to find," the broker said.

In June Dixons Carphone reported profits that had climbed above £500m for the first time ever.

Paper losses hit News Corp

n/a
Getty Images

Dramatic falls in the value of newspapers in the UK have hit Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

It has posted an $817m loss for the financial year.

Revenue was $8.14bn, a fall of 2% from $8.29bn last year, because of lower print advertising revenue and foreign currency fluctuations.

The company revealed that the Times and the Sunday Times now have a digital-only subscription base of 201,000.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said: “I think it’s fair to say on the digital advertising front that in the last half of the fiscal year, we didn’t see the growth that we wanted.”

The changing landscape for asset management funds

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Prudential logo
PA

Prudential's decision to merge its UK asset management unit M&G with its UK and European insurance divisions, has sparked fears about job losses.

It says it will gain greater scale and cost savings as active asset managers seek to fend off competition from passive funds.

The lure of lower-cost index funds has driven a round of consolidation in the funds sector.

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management are merging next week to form a £670bn active manager.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme Richard Dunbar, Investment director of Aberdeen Asset Management said his industry is having to meet changing demands.

"The savings industry itself is changing. Individuals are being asked to take greater responsibility for their savings.

"Big pension funds and insurers want to work with fewer investment companies and do more with them.

"Finally there's a huge and correct focus on the cost of investment products and these sorts of mergers provide economies of scale that support lower costs for clients."

Npower profits cool down

n/a
Getty Images

First-half profits at gas and electricity supplier Npower slumped from 85m euros to just 12m euros.

German owner Innogy, which is 76.8% owned by RWE, warned that competition in the British retail power market remained tough because of "fierce competition" and "political pressure".

"Measures to reduce costs within the scope of the restructuring programme will help to partially offset negative market effects," Innogy said.

However it said it added about 50,000 energy customers in the second quarter.

By the end of June, it had 4.757m retail electricity and gas customers, up 1% from March after losing customers in the first quarter.