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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. India's growth rate slows to 5.7%
  3. Wells Fargo finds more bogus bank accounts
  4. Pound trades close to 1.09 euros
  5. 888 to pay record fine for customer protection failings
  6. French government to present labour bill to parliament

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

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

Harvey adds to concerns over debt US debt ceiling

Steve Mnuchin
Getty Images

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says that the impact of Hurricane Harvey could bring forward the deadline by which the nation's debt ceiling needs to be raised.

"We obviously have now the hurricane spending, which is an issue. So that's going to have some impact on our September spending," Mnuchin said in a interview with broadcaster CNBC.

"I think in terms of when it's going to hit the debt ceiling, again I think there could be some impact of a couple of days."

The US government has a statutory limit on how much money it can borrow to cover the budget deficit that results from Washington spending more than it collects in taxes. Only Congress can raise that limit.

Mnuchin told Congress in July they needed to raise the debt limit by 29 September, otherwise the US government might not have enough money to pay all its bills.

Wall Street closes up after tax reform hopes

US stocks have closed higher as investors reacted to economic data and were buoyed by Washington's latest promises for long-awaited details of a tax reform plan.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.92 points, or 0.27%, to 21,952.35, the S&P 500 gained 13.94 points, or 0.57%, to 2,471.53 and the Nasdaq Composite added 60.35 points, or 0.95%, to 6,428.66.

Macron fronts up to the unions

Emmanuel Macron
Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron is a brave man.

The French president is effectively taking on the unions through his proposed overhaul of the country's notorious labour code.

France's unemployment rate is 9.5% so Macron wants to encourage small businesses to negotiate contract terms and conditions directly with their employees without union involvement.

He also wants to cap the cost of firing employees by limiting court awards for unfair dismissals as well as making it easier for multi-national companies operating in France to cut staff.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the far left France Unbowed said it was a "social welfare coup d'etat" and called for a mass march.

Nestle shuts Swiss factory

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Nestle is closing a Swiss factory which makes products for its skin health business, with the loss of 190 jobs.

Nestle Skin Health said it will close the Egerkingen factory in northern Switzerland, where it makes Daylong sun cream and products for dry skin.

It said production costs at the site had been rising because volumes were low and the factory was not running at full capacity.

Wall Street ahead on tax comments

US stocks have extended gains after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Donald Trump's administration has a detailed plan on tax reform and is still on track to execute the agenda by the end of this year.

With about an hour to the closing bell, the Dow Jones is up 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both up 0.57%.

Wells Fargo, which has revealed yet more fake bank and credit card accounts - 1.4 million, in fact - is down 1.2%.

Another faller is Campbell Soup, down 7% on disappointing trading news. The company's move into more healthy and organic products looks to be failing to offset slower sales of its core products.

Sir Philip dismisses Field's BHS claims

Sir Philip Green
Getty Images

So what did Frank Field say during his Talk Radio interview last week to elicit such a furious reaction from Sir Philip Green?

The MP claimed to have new details about the collapse of the department store chain BHS that would prove uncomfortable for the businessman.

Says the Top Shop owner's letter in response: "You seem intent on continuing your personal and bitter attacks against me, making allegations, in my view wholly without substance".

Your move Frank.

Sir Philip Green issues legal warning to Frank Field

Frank Field
PA
Frank Field has been a vocal critic of Sir Philip's role in the BHS pension saga

Will Sir Philip Green and Frank Field MP ever find some common ground? Not likely.

The retail billionaire and former owner of BHS has sent the chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee a strongly worded letter following an interview on Talk Radio that the MP gave discussing the businessman.

Sir Philip tells Mr Field to expect a letter from his lawyers "which you should read very very carefully in order that you clearly understand the content and the seriousness of your actions".

Warren says Fed should act over Wells Fargo

Democratic US Senator and consumer champion Elizabeth Warren pulls no punches in her condemnation of Wells Fargo, which has just uncovered 1.4 million new bogus bank and credit card accounts.

Every board member who served during this "unbelievable scandal" should go, she says.

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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Alleged bank hacker remanded in custody

A British man has appeared in court accused of masterminding a wave of cyber attacks against Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays.

Daniel Kaye, 29, was extradited from Germany this week after he allegedly orchestrated the assaults in January.

During a hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Kaye stood accused of nine charges under the Computer Misuse Act, two of blackmail and one of possession of criminal property.

Kaye, formerly of Egham, Surrey, but with duel British and Israeli citizenship, was extradited back to Britain on Wednesday under a European Arrest Warrant following an investigation involving the NCA's German counterpart the Bundeskriminalamt.

Crown Court District Judge Tan Ikram remanded Kaye in custody until a further hearing on 28 September.

A date for your diary

Technology giant Apple has set 12 September for a big announcement. It's not saying exactly what will be announced, although the smart money is on an unveiling of the next-generation iPhone.

A third generation of the Apple Watch and a 4K-supporting Apple TV are also rumoured to be among the upcoming announcements.

Announcement invitation
Apple

Crisis, what crisis?

It's all smiles as Uber founder Travis Kalanick (left) and board member Arianna Huffington introduce new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi to staff.

Google critic fired

An outspoken critic of Google has been fired from a US think tank that gets most of its funding from the search giant.

The New America Foundation sacked Barry Lynn for "imperilling the institution", reports the New York Times.

At the foundation, Mr Lynn headed the Open Markets group that welcomed efforts to rein in technology giants.

But the think tank said it had fired Mr Lynn for flouting its rules on openness and "institutional collegiality".

Google said it funded many groups and respected each one's independence even when it disagreed with what they said.

European share markets up

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.89%, or 65.4 points, at 7,430.6. The main risers were a mixed bag, with Mediclinic, Anglo American, Hargreaves Lansdown, Whitbread and Shire all ending more than 2% higher.

G4S and St Jame's Place, both ex-dividend, where the biggest fallers - down 3.2% and 1.45% respectively.

In Frankfurt, the Dax ended 0.44% ahead at 12,055.8 points. In Paris, the Cac closed 0.58% up at 5,056.3, with supermarket giant Carrefour shedding 13.8% following a profits warning.

More train trouble

A South West train
South West Trains

A fresh wave of rail strikes will be launched on Friday amid bitter disputes over the role of guards and driver-only trains, with the threat of industrial action also looming over the industry's newest franchise holder.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Southern, Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North will walk out on Friday and Monday, while Merseyrail workers will also go on strike on Sunday. The Southern dispute started more than 16 months ago, with the RMT taking more than 30 days of strike action.

Meanwhile, RMT members on the new South Western Railway franchise are to be balloted for strikes, just days after the operator took over the running of services from London Waterloo.

The union said the company, a consortium of the First Group and Hong Kong-based MTR, had failed to give assurances over the future of guards.

The worst may not be over for India's economy

Growth rate slows to 5.7% as new sales tax confuses firms

Sameer Hashmi

BBC India business reporter

"The latest economic growth figure clearly shows that the economy is still to recover from the cash ban that was introduced last year. Investments and consumption have seen a sharp drop, with medium and small-sized businesses still struggling.

"India's economic growth figure does not take into account the performance of small businesses and the unorganised sector, which constitute more than 50% of total economic output in India. These segments were the worst hit after the cash ban. That means the slowdown may be even more severe than these latest figures suggest.

"But the worst may not be over for India's economy. The new Goods and Services Tax, which came into effect in July, has completely overhauled the way businesses pay tax. Many small firms are still finding it difficult to adapt - and that will delay investments and expansion plans.

"The World Bank and IMF have projected India's economy to grow by more than 7% in 2017. But with the latest figures coming in, that target looks difficult to achieve."

Lyft's race with Uber moves up a gear

Lyft and Uber logos
Reuters

US-based ride-hailing company Lyft is expanding the service to an additional 32 states, as it looks to take market share from its main rival Uber.

Lyft will now offer rides in 40 states. "This means that 94% of the US population (287 million people) will have access to a Lyft - now the largest geographic footprint of any ridesharing service in the US," the company said in a statement.

Canada growth exceeds forecasts

Canada's economy grew 4.5% in the second quarter of 2017, the government statistical agency says.

Analysts were expecting 3.1% growth during the period from April to June, but strong consumer spending and a surge in exports boosted the results.

It came after growth of 3.7% at the start of the year, when the economy roared back to life to jump ahead of Canada's G7 peers after years of relative stagnation.

By comparison, US gross domestic product grew 3% in the latest quarter.

Hyperloop pod sets high speed record

Elon Musk
Reuters
Tesla boss Elon Musk had an idea for a hyperloop in 2013

Tests of the futuristic hyperloop transport system have managed to propel one of its pods at 355km/h (220mph).

The tests establish a new record for the technology only days after a separate prototype hit 324km/h.

Hyperloop puts pods in an airless tunnel and seeks to accelerate them to very high speeds to cut travel times for freight and passengers.

Backers of the hyperloop idea claim that eventually the pods will travel at speeds of about 1,000 km/h.

The idea for the version of the hyperloop transportation system currently being developed was floated in 2013 by Tesla boss Elon Musk. This week saw the first tests of prototype carriages or pods on a one mile long test track near Los Angeles. A pod made by a German student team came top in this competition.

Wise Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett
Reuters

Warren Buffett has again demonstrated why his prescience earned him the moniker the Sage of Omaha.

The billionaire investor was asked on CNBC yesterday about the spotlight being put on Wells Fargo, where Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is the largest investor with almost 10%.

Wells Fargo, America's third largest bank, has faced an avalanche of criticism (and fines) in recent months over the disclosure it set up fake bank accounts.

"What you find is there's never just one cockroach in the kitchen when you start looking around," Buffett told CNBC on Wednesday.

Today, the bank announced it had uncovered another 1.4 million phoney accounts, bringing the total to up to 3.5 million.

US markets up as Dollar General sinks 5%

Dollar General store
Getty Images

Wall Street opened higher as data showed US inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015, boosting expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold off from increasing interest rates again this year.

The Dow Jones rose 0.19% to 21,933.75 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.22% to 2,462.95, and the Nasdaq added 0.25% to 6,384.15.

Retailer Dollar General fell 5% after posting a fall in margins, stoking fears that it is pricing more aggressively to compete better following Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods.

"The fear around this right now is that Amazon buying Whole Foods is going to lower prices, which will cause Walmart and Kroger to lower, which is going to impact on Dollar General," said Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough.

Data may dampen early rate rise

US consumer spending rose slightly less than expected in July and annual inflation increased at its slowest pace since late 2015, bolstering expectations that the Federal Reserve could delay raising interest rates until December.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, increased 0.3% last month after an upwardly revised 0.2% rise in June.

A poll of economists by Reuters had forecast consumer spending rising 0.4% in July after a previously reported 0.1% gain in June.

US bank finds more unauthorised accounts

Wells Fargo branch building
Ben Margot

America's third largest bank, Wells Fargo, has uncovered up to 1.4 million more bogus accounts that were opened for customers without their permission.

It brings the total number of unauthorised bank and credit card accounts to up to 3.5 million. Wells has raised the likely compensation to customers who incurred charges to $6.1m (£4.7m).

The latest findings come nearly a year after Wells Fargo reached a $190m settlement with regulators over phony accounts.

That led to the departure of then chief executive John Stumpf, a divisive shareholder meeting and disclosures of additional sales practice problems ranging from unwanted auto insurance to improper mortgage fees.

The bank is now reviewing accounts stemming back to 2002, chief executive Tim Sloan said on a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

The shine has come off cash Isas

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Former pensions minister Steve Webb reckons it's a good thing that there's been a big fall in cash Isa savings.

"While keeping a small amount of money in cash for emergencies or a rainy day makes good sense, holding large amounts of money in a cash Isa for the long-term can seriously damage your wealth," says Mr Webb, now director of policy at Royal London.

He points out that low Isa rates coupled with rising inflation means that cash Isas have delivered negative real returns year after year.

"It is to be hoped that this slump in saving through cash Isas means that investors have started to realise the risks associated with keeping their money in cash,” says Mr Webb.

India's slowdown intensifies

India's economy unexpectedly slowed further to a three-year low in the quarter through June, according to official figures.

"The numbers seem to suggest that the slowdown from last the quarter has intensified due to the combination of long-term slowdown and temporary shock factors like demonetisation and GST," said Abheek Barua, chief economist with HDFC in New Delhi.

"We have to revise our GDP outlook numbers for the full year," he added.

Men hit by workplace stress

A business man sits on the stairs with his head in his hands
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A third of men reckon work is the cause of their poor mental health, while just a fifth of women say their job is the reason, according to a new survey.

15,000 respondents across 30 organisations took part in Mind's research, which also discovered that only one in three men are prepared to seek help and take time off to deal with poor mental health issues.

"Many men work in industries where a macho culture prevails or where a competitive environment may exist which prevents them from feeling able to be open," said Emma Mamo, Mind's head of workplace wellbeing.

Mayweather's 10th round victory saves bookie's "bloody nose"

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Ladbrokes boss Jim Mullen said that if Floyd Mayweather had won his boxing blockbuster match against Conor McGregor in the fourth round "I would've been crying into my cornflakes."

Last weekend's much-hyped bout became the bookie's biggest betting event outside the Grand National.

Mr Mullen said there was "surprising" support for McGregor but Mayweather's victory in the 10th round saved the group from a "bloody nose".

BreakingIndia's economy slows down

The Indian economy grew 5.7% in the three months to the end of June. That's a slowdown from the 6.1% growth rate in the previous quarter.

Davis: 'significant differences' on Brexit agreement

After the latest round of EU Brexit talks the UK's negotiator David Davis admitted " there are still significant differences to be breached".

He said the UK's approach "is more pragmatic and flexible" than the EU's.

But he claimed the third round of talks had been "productive".

"We've locked in points of agreement and unpicked areas of divergence," he said.

"Some part of this will be turbulent, hard and difficult, but both teams aim to be constructive," he added.

Barnier: UK has long-term financial commitments

Mr Barnier is not happy that the UK has this week refused to pay any money into the European budget after its departure in 2019.

He says the UK has long-term "obligations" that it should honour. He mentions long-term loans to Ukraine and financial support to Africa, through the European Development Fund.

Barnier: 'No decisive progress' in latest Brexit talks

Michel Barnier
BBC

The EU's leading Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier has been speaking at a news conference about the latest round of talks with his UK counterpart David Davis.

"We did not get any decisive progress on any of the principal subjects, even though the discussion we've had over Ireland, that discussion was fruitfull."

However he said: "Over the course of this week we have made a number of clarifications, useful clarifications, on a number of points."

He mentions social security rights and dealing with pending cases and procedures in the court of justice.

More fines for online gambling firms?

After online gambling firm 888 was fined a record £7.8m for failing to look after customers, Brian Chappell, founder of campaign group Justice4Punters, said: "It's really positive to see the regulator taking further action on protecting vulnerable people."

But the problems could be much more widespread. "We receive numerous cases where people who've self-excluded are allowed to gamble again," he said.

"This is unacceptable and the whole industry needs to tighten up its policies. We would see more fines being inevitable without fast change."

France's biggest union will not protest over labour reforms

France's biggest union, CFDT, says it will not join in protests planned for 12 September over proposed reforms to the labour market.

That's according to Reuters.

The package of about 60 measures has been presented to the unions and employers' organisations by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

However the CFDT is not totally happy...

The Paris Bureau Chief of the Financial Times, Anne-S Chassany tweets:

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View more on twitter

Aston Martin fears post-Brexit red-tape

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Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer fears that his company's motors could be stuck in post-Brexit red tape.

While on a trade tour with Prime Minister Theresa May in Japan, he told reporters that while the luxury car company could absorb any tariffs due to the high price of its cars and the fall in the pound, new bureaucratic delays caused by customs checks would be a disaster.

"What I can't cope with is my cars being stuck at a French port for six months," he said, adding that non-tariff barriers was the thing that he worries about the most.

Gamers: Older than you think

BBC Business Live

A man playing Rovio mobile game Bad Piggies  on an iPad
Getty Images

Gaming is no longer just child's play - it might surprise you to know that the mean age of gamers is now 35.

"It's not just kids that play, and the average demographic of a social gamer is a woman in her 40s," Playmob's founder and chief executive Jude Over MBE told BBC Business Live.

Playmob is a business that encourages people to support global causes via gaming. The initiative has so far raised over $1m for charities including WWF and Oxfam.

One example is encouraging players to make donations by buying items in mobile games. A percentage of the sale is sent to the charity.

However, only 3% of gamers spend on in-app purchases, so the firm is also focusing on digital mobile advertising, which will be worth $200bn by 2020.

Euro steady after inflation news

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Energy prices are driving the headline eurozone Inflation rate, said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital. The rate rose faster than expected to 1.5% in August from 1.3% in July.

He pointed out that core inflation remains static which is "an annoyance for the Governing Council and one that Mario Draghi will reiterate needs to be looked past."

Meanwhile unemployment numbers remained at 9.1% and are still at their lowest since 2009.

"Again this cements the established view on the euro rather than offering anything meaningful for traders," said Mr Wilson.

Carrefour has "lost touch"

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Analyst Bruno Monteyen of Bernstein is quite clear about what is going on at struggling French supermarket Carrefour, whose share price has slumped more than 14% today: it's "lost touch".

"The problems at Carrefour can't simply be price," he said, pointing out that Carrefour has have always been priced at a premium based on its quality food, service and range.

"To us it seems that Carrefour France has lost touch with what consumers really want: they were very hesitant online and pushed hard on things consumers didn't want (Rue Du Commerce) while ignoring old strengths (range, quality, service, store environment)."

Jimmy Choo profits step up 174%

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Like-for-like retail sales at upmarket shoe chain Jimmy Choo climbed 3.5% in the six months to the end of June.

That helped profits to soar by 174% to £18.1m.

"Our long-term growth strategy is to nurture the brand's unique DNA," said chief executive officer Pierre Denis.

US firm Michael Kors agreed to buy Jimmy Choo for £896m last month.

BreakingEurozone: Inflation rises; unemployment steady

Inflation in the eurozone rose to 1.5% in August from 1.3% in July, that's according to the first flash estimate from Eurostat.

Unemployment among the eurozone nations remained at 9.1% in July, unchanged from June.

At 2.9% the lowest unemployment rate is in the Czech Republic, Greece has the highest of 21.7%.

Carrefour slumps after profit warning

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Shares in French supermarket giant, Carrefour have plunged 13%.

Late on Wednesday the company reported a 12% fall in operating income for the first half of the year.

It blamed rising competition in France where profit margins fell. It also highlighted an increase in losses in Argenttina.

The company warned that income for the year would also be down around 12%.

Shares in French supermarket chain Carrefour have slumped today after it warned late on Wednesday that its 2017 operating profit could fall by around 12%.

Rival French supermarket Casino Guichard is also down, falling more than 5% this morning.

Analysts have been busy cutting their ratings for the company with with JP Morgan reducing Carrefour to "neutral" from "overweight", while Jefferies downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy".