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  2. Asda sales rise 1.8% in second quarter
  3. Kingfisher shares slide after B&Q sales slip
  4. Sterling under $1.29 and 1.10 euros
  5. July retail sales rise 0.3% month-on-month

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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And on that note...

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Good night and thank you very much for joining Business Live.

We will have the full story up on the BBC website soon about the decision to drop the US President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure. Do check back at

Business Live is back on Friday at 6.00am. See you then.

White House confirms infrastructure council is axed

A White House official has told The Wall Street Journal that "the President's Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward".

BreakingTrump 'drops infrastructure council plan'

Bloomberg is reporting that US President Donald Trump is dropping plans to form an infrastructure advisory council.

More to follow...

US stock markets plunge at close

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed 272.70 points, or 1.24%, lower at 21,752.17 in the worst day of trading since 17 May.

The S&P 500 finished 38.00 points, or 1.54%, down at 2,430.11.

The Nasdaq ended nearly 2% down at 6,221.91 after shedding 6,221.91 points.

US policymaker urges caution on rate rise

Robert Kaplan
Getty Images

The president of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said that the US central bank had to "be careful" in its next move on monetary policy.

There has been an expectation that the US Federal Reserve may lift interest one more time this year but at a speech and press conference in Texas on Thursday, Robert Kaplan said: "We have to be careful in our further moves."

In minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting released on Wednesday, members expressed concern about weak inflation growth.

The Fed's inflation target is 2% but Mr Kaplan said:"I don't need to see that we're going to meet that target in the near-term.. I just want to see evidence, or belief, that we're going to meet that target in the medium term."

No risers for the Dow Jones as stocks slump

There are literally no share prices rising on the Dow Jones Industrial Average now. It is down 203.53 points at 21,821.34.

The biggest faller is the retailer Walmart which said it could miss forecasts of the current quarter.

The S&P 500 is off 29.43 points at 2,438.68 and the Nasdaq is down 97.98 points at 6,247.12.

The best earning Bond

Most people have their own favourite Bond, but who brought in the most at the box office?

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Mylan reaches US deal over the EpiPen

Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch
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Pharmaceuticals group Mylan has finalised a $465m settlement with the US Justice Department over claims that it overcharged the American government for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment.

Mylan has not admitted any wrongdoing in relation to claims that it misclassfied the EpiPen as a generic rather than a branded product to reduce the rebates it paid.

Mylan chief executive Heather Bresch said: "Bringing closure to this matter is the right course of action for Mylan and our stakeholders to allow us to move forward."

EY boss 'disappointed' in Trump protest reaction

EY boss Mark Weinberger (C) flanked by White House senior counselor for economic initiatives Dina Powell (L) and Ivanka Trump (R)
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EY boss Mark Weinberger (C) flanked by White House senior counselor for economic initiatives, Dina Powell (L) and Ivanka Trump (R)

Mark Weinberger, the global chairman and chief executive of accountancy firm EY, has spoken to staff about the "balancing act" of being a member of Donald Trump's now disbanded Strategic and Policy Forum.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mr Weinberger sent a memo out to EY on Wednesday evening, stating: "I have been trying to balance the tremendous contribution our great organisation can make against the appearance that our engagement on these issues is seen as tacit approval of unrelated policies and statements being made.”

He said: "Groups who stand for bigotry and hate have no place in our society and should consistently be denounced, forcibly and loudly, without equivocation.”

In comments echoing those of JP Morgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon, Mr Weinberger added: “I was also disappointed by President Trump’s reaction to these events. I believe leaders should unite rather than divide people.”

Should farmers stop using pesticides that kill bees?

US stock markets extend losses

Wall Street stock market trader
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now down 180.37 points at 21,844.50.

The S&P 500 has fallen further and is now off 25.56 points at 2,442.55.

The Nasdaq is also trading lower, down 85.79 points at 6,257.86.

Investors are facing a number of factors: the US Fed's concerns that inflation will remain weak; the attacks in Barcelona; Donald Trump's ability to push through tax and infrastructure and tax reforms as well as the US Treasury's borrowing capacity, also known as the debt ceiling.

Peter Costa, president of Empire Executions, said: "There's a lot of little things weighing on people's minds and it makes for a quicker decision to get out."

He added: "People are becoming a little more skeptical about market valuations. Even though the economy is doing fairly well and you've a host of positives, people get a little nervous when you get close to long-term highs."

YouTube TV targets half of US homes

Golden State vs Cleveland Cavs
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YouTube is upping the ante with US cable networks as it expands its TV subscription service to cover half of US households.

The $35-a-month subscription - not to be confused with YouTube's free service - carries more than 40 channels, including many of the country's biggest networks.

It's now rolling it out to another 14 US cities and has plans to add another 17 cities later this year.

Three: roaming problems fixed

Three holiday campaign

Roaming services have now been fixed after some customers on Three said they couldn't make calls or send texts in certain European countries.

Three apologised for the issue, which had lasted since yesterday.

"The issue with our roaming partners which was affecting roaming service in France, Portugal and Luxembourg has now been fixed," Three said in a statement.

Where are the Wall Street winners?

A sign of how US stocks are faring today comes on the Dow Jones index of leading shares. There are only two stocks in positive territory - McDonald's and household goods giant Procter & Gamble.

Both companies have seen their shares rise strongly in recent weeks - with P&G (which owns brands including Ariel and Gilette) hitting a year-high yesterday - on rising investor confidence.

Among the big losers on the Dow Jones index is Wal-Mart after the world's largest retailer reported a fall in profit margins.

Dow Jones winners and losers

US jobless benefits claims fall

US unemployment
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has fallen to a six month low, according to government figures.

Claims fell by 12,000 to 232,000 for the week to 12 August. The number has been below 128 weeks.

Dana Peterson, an economist at Citigroup, said: "Today's data were constructive towards our expectation of another robust rise in real GDP growth in the third quarter and further labor market improvement.

"The readings support our conjecture that low inflation notwithstanding, the conditions for the Fed to announce balance sheet unwind are ripe."

Oil draw down lifts prices

Oil field in California
Getty Images

Oil prices have risen further after new data revealed that there had been a big draw down of crude at the major US storage hub at Cushing in Oklahoma.

Traders, citing information from energy industry information provider Genscape, say that crude inventories fell by more than one million barrels for the week to 15 August.

Brent crude prices rose by 1.1% to $50.80 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate is ahead 0.4% at $46.98 a barrel.

Roaming interrupted for Three customers

Listen: The secret of Alibaba's success

Duncan Clark, author of "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built," tells the BBC's World Business Report how the Chinese e-commerce giant is conquering the globe following its strong first quarter sales.

The Asian e-commerce giant's shares have risen 81% this year

Sterling sheds gains

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The pound gained 0.2% to 91.10p per euro, but was flat against the dollar at $1.2883.

"For the second day running the pound has received a positive boost from an economic release, however just like on Wednesday it has failed to sustain a rally," said David Cheetham, an analyst with broker XTB in London, pointing to a downward revision of June's numbers as another negative.

"Once traders digested the revision lower the move was pared and the pound remains close to its one-month low against the dollar, despite dollar weakness ... and not far from its lowest level since last October against the euro."

London stock indexes close down

Gold smelting

The FTSE 100 has closed down 36.57 points at 7,396.46.

Thursday's biggest faller was Kingfisher, whose share price ended 4.23% lower at 294.40p after its B&Q DIY chain reported a 4.7% fall in same store sales for the second quarter.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo topped the risers. Its share price gained 3.91% to £15.67 after both gold and silver prices increased.

The FTSE 250 ended 67.46 points lower at 19,791.78.

Riding the waves of rumour

You can see the dip that the Dow Jones Industrial Average took on that speculation - strongly denied by the White House - that Gary Cohn had resigned following Donald Trump's remarks about the violence in Chartlottesville.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Here's how the S&P 500 reacted...

S&P 500

And the Nasdaq...


White House: Cohn is staying put

A White House official says that Gary Cohn, who is Donald Trump's chief economic adviser and director of the National Economic Council "intends to remain in his position as NEC director ... nothing's changed."

Explaining just how destabilising a Cohn exit would be, Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, says: "The concern would be if Gary Cohn would decide that if he needs to take a safe step that a lot of CEOs did, it will be very difficult to move forward with pro-growth tax reforms."

Dollar stutters on Cohn rumour

The dollar had a brief wobble this afternoon on a rumour - quickly quashed by the White House - the US President's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn had resigned.

Dollar v sterling

Cruise firm cancels far right trip

A cruise ship company has cancelled the booking of a tour organised by Rebel Media, according to campaigners.

Rebel - whose contributors include Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL) - was selling tickets for a week's trip around the Caribbean on Norwegian Cruise Line.

According to campaign group Hope Not Hate, the cruise company cancelled the reservation after becoming aware it was booked by a group which "espoused views that are inconsistent with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings core values".

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Oil prices rise

US oil pump
Getty Images

Oil prices headed higher on Thursday.

Brent crude rose 0.4% to $50.49 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate edged up by 0.3% to $46.91.

On the one hand, US stocks of commercial oil have fallen by 13% from a peak in March to 466.5 million barrels according to the Energy Information Administration.

However, US producers are taking advantage of a rise in prices and production rose by 79,000 barrels per day (bpd) to over 9.5 million bpd last week, the highest level since July 2015.

Investors unnerved over US policy progress

Donald Trump
Getty Images

US stock market investors are also concerned about US President Donald Trump's ability to push through reforms, with tax and infrastructure top of the White House agenda.

On Wednesday night, two of Trump's business councils were disbanded as chief executives distanced themselves from the President following his comments about who was to blame for the violence in Charlottesvile at the weekend.

Bob Phillips, managing principal at Spectrum Management Group, said: "I think it creates concern. Now, you will have to question what the administration will be able to do going forward to implement any kind of policy."

Here comes the 'bothie'

Not content with taking copious pictures of your own gurning visage?

Now you can rope in a friend for a 'bothie', courtesy of a new smartphone by Nokia.

In the meantime, here are the dapper BBC gents Rory Cellan-Jones and Aaron Heslehurst showing us how it is done.

View more on twitter

Inflation fears weigh on US stocks

Shares in retail giant Walmart are down 2.74% at $ 78.76 despite reporting rising quarterly sales.

Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading lower after investors were spooked by comments from the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting and its fears over rising inflation.

Alibaba adds more bricks to its clicks

Alibaba logo
Getty Images

The Chinese e-commerce juggernaut that is Alibaba reported a 56% rise in first quarter revenue.

Sales through its platforms rose to 86% in the three months to June, up from 73% in the comparable period last year.

Alibaba confirmed that it had led a $1.1bn investment in retailer Tokopedia and the company said it expects its "offline" businesses to make a higher contribution to the group as part of its "new retail" strategy.

Shares in Alibaba rose by 3.64% to $165.31.

US stock markets open down

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 43.88 points lower at 21,980.99.

The S&P 500 is off 7.66 points at 2,460.45.

The Nasdaq is trading down 25.97 points lower at 6,319.13.

US industrial output misses forecasts

A worker at a US factory
Getty Images

US industrial production grew less than expected in July, according to the Federal Reserve.

It says output rose 0.2% in July, down on 0.4% growth in June and below forecasts of 0.3%.

Follow the money

Song remains the same for cautious ECB

European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt
Getty Images

Minutes from the European Central Bank's most recent monetary policy meeting shows that interest rate-setters were worried about the strength of the euro.

The July meeting also revealed policy-makers' caution about any change to their promise of continued monetary stimulus and fears that any alteration in their language could lead to over-interpretation, raising premature market expectations.

The minutes said:"Concerns were expressed about a possible overshooting in the repricing by financial markets, notably the foreign exchange markets, in the future.

"It was underlined that the still favourable financing conditions could not be taken for granted. Caution was expressed that, in the present financial market environment, markets were particularly sensitive to incoming information."

Wake Up to Money?

BBC Radio 5 live

Wake Up to Money editor Justin Bones has an indecent proposal:

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China bans weird company names

People walk past some ordinary company names
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These company names aren't so weird but others are more outlandish

China has banned companies from registering weird and long names.

Last year, Beijing banned any more "bizarre" buildings. In recent years the country has seen buildings shaped like a teapot and another resembling a pair of trousers.

Now, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce has continued the government's crusade for normalcy with restrictions on such names as 'scared of wife' or 'prehistoric powers'.

So, just how weird and wonderful are Chinese company names? Well, a few otherwise-unoccupied social media users in China have dug up some gems. Read the full story here

Foxtel merger

Getty Images

Some news from Down Under from the Guardian's Mark Sweney. Foxtel is the Australian equivalent of Sky, while Fox Sports was set up as a joint venture between Rupert Murdoch's company and Telstra, the telecoms giant.

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Pain in Spain

Robert Plummer

Business reporter, BBC News

Signs protesting about tourists

Visitors to Barcelona may be expecting some hostility after the anti-tourism protests that have shaken one of Spain's biggest holiday destinations.

On arriving at the city's airport, they may notice signs that all is not well.

But any protesters with raised fists are more likely to be striking airport workers in pursuit of better pay and working conditions.

Spanish Civil Guards have been called in to handle security as the indefinite stoppage goes on.

Once the tourists arrive in the city centre, they are likely to notice anti-tourist graffiti or signs telling them that rents are now unaffordable for locals because of the demand for holiday accommodation. Read the full story here

Lack of confidence

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, says confidence among small retailers has plummeted in the first half of the year.

“With operating costs at their highest in four years, small business owners are paying themselves less, struggling to award pay rises and pushing up prices in an attempt to absorb increased outgoings. This threatens to further stifle already reduced consumer spending power," he says.

“Inflationary pressure, Brexit uncertainty and delays to business rates relief measures are making it almost impossible for small retailers to invest and plan for the future."