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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Bank of England votes 7-2 for rate hold
  3. John Lewis Partnership profits halve
  4. Next shares jump on full-year upgrade
  5. Morrison's recovery gathers pace

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

That's all from Business Live for another day - thanks for reading.

We're back at 06:00 tomorrow so do join us then.

MoviePass pops

He made Netflix, he's now hacking at night at the movies

A US company that claims it has found a way to boost cinema attendance is seeing membership skyrocket.

MoviePass, which offers almost unlimited movie tickets in the US for a low monthly fee, says it has more than 400,000 subscribers.

That's up from less than 20,000 in mid-August, when it lowered its price to $9.95 (£7.40).

The company is led by a co-founder of Netflix, which reshaped television and video with online streaming.

On-demand video has also hurt attendance at US cinemas, which have raised ticket prices in part as a result.

Read more here.

Mooooooooooo

The Liverpool app that sidesteps the banks

India gets a bullet train too

BBC World Service

India’s outdated railway system will face a revolution by 2022 when Japan completes the line to carry a high speed train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

The current journey of eight hours will be cut to three, by a high speed train that can travel twice as fast as the quickest locomotive in India today.

Jyoti Malhotra of the Indian Express newspaper is excited by the project.

The high speed train from Japan will travel twice as fast as the quickest service in India

Dyson's prediction

Sir James Dyson was on the Today programme saying he thinks Britain will leave the EU with no deal:

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Google sued

Google
Getty Images

Three female former employees of Google have filed a lawsuit accusing the Alphabet-owned company of discriminating against women in pay and promotions.

The proposed class action lawsuit filed in California state court in San Francisco comes as Google faces a sex bias investigation by the US Department of Labor.

The three women - a former software engineer, a former communications specialist and a former manager - claim Google pays women in California less than men who perform similar work, and assigns female workers jobs that are less likely to lead to promotions.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New Deal call

The world economy, stunted by years of austerity and growing inequality, needs a global "New Deal", inspired by policies that helped Europe rebound after World War II, the UN said.

"The world economy remains unbalanced in ways that are not only exclusionary, but also destabilising and dangerous for the political, social and environmental health of the planet," said the UN development agency, UNCTAD. "What is urgently needed now is a global new deal," the agency said in its Trade and Development Report.

The original New Deal, launched in the United States in the 1930s in response to the Great Depression, was replicated at an international level with the Marshall Plan, which is widely credited with helping Western Europe make a spectacular recovery after World War II.

"Seven decades later, an equally ambitious effort is needed to tackle the inequities of hyperglobalisation in order to build inclusive and sustainable economies," UNCTAD said.

As with the previous plans, the report argued that the world, at both national and international levels, should be focusing on job creation, the expansion of taxes to enable redistribution of wealth and regulation aimed at taming finance.

One-off?

Business presenter Susannah Streeter tweets:

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Burning rubber

Pirelli tyres
Getty Images

Italian tyremaker Pirelli plans to raise up to 3.3bn euros on its return to Milan's stock market next month - but that values the company at less than half what it had hoped for.

Pirelli said it would issue up to 350 million shares priced in the range of 6.30 euros to 8.30 euros, giving the company a valuation of 6.3bn to 8.3bn euros.

Pirelli's existing owners, including its controlling shareholder China National Chemical Corporation, had been seeking a valuation of up to 9bn euros, sources said.

Bradley's riddle

FT media editor Matthew Garrahan tweets:

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HMRC Brexit warning

The tax authority said a single operation for carrying out border and tax checks could cost the taxpayer up to £800m as it warned that 5,000 extra staff may be needed to cope with Brexit.

HM Revenue and Customs told MPs it is looking into creating a Singapore-style system that could make trade simpler for businesses by allowing them to get their tax and border assessments done in one place.

Chief executive Jon Thompson said he is investigating the "business case" and had hired the team that delivered the Singapore project, but said the Treasury would have to stump up between £500m and £800m to get it off the ground.

He told the Treasury Select Committee it was "conceptionally possible" for the Government to bring together 26 different organisations into a "single window" where businesses could do their border checks in one go.

However, Mr Thompson added: "We need to be transparent with you - that is a mega project. You need to be thinking about that as a project that costs somewhere between £500m to £800m. It would take five to seven years to implement. We have been asked to look at whether there is a business case for that because there would be a noticeable change to GDP in my opinion. It would make it much smoother to import and export if you only had to go to one place instead of multiple different Government departments."

Cold comfort

Technology reporter Chris Foxx tweets:

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Coffee the Blue Bottle way...

Want to know a bit more about Blue Bottle Coffee (which we at Business Live towers must admit we had not heard of before today)?

This picture from the company's website should sum it up nicely:

Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle

Nestle, the world's biggest coffee company, said Blue Bottle would continue as a standalone entity and that current management and employees would retain a minority stake.

It operates minimalist-style coffee bars in major US cities and Japan. It expects to have 55 locations by the end of 2017, up from 29 at the end of last year. It also sells high-end bottled coffee drinks and roast and ground coffee.

Blue Bottle has raised about $121m from high-profile investors including Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, Fidelity and GV (Google Ventures), according to data compiled by Crunchbase.

Nestle goes hipster

FT West Coast reporter Tim Bradshaw tweets:

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Mark Carney on possible rise in interest rates
The governor of the Bank of England links the fall in the value of sterling to Brexit and says he wants inflation to be 2%.

Balanced support

More from Mark Carney:

"We've all seen that prices are going up in the shops and that's been the result, entirely the result of the fall in the value of sterling which is due to, due to Brexit," he said.

"And what the Bank's been doing since the referendum has been looking to balance support for the economy as the economy adjusts to the prospect of Brexit, support for the economy with our ultimate objective, which is to bring inflation back to that 2% target, to make sure that the value of these notes and other notes stay stable."

FTSE sinks

Next store
PA

The FTSE 100 has had a bad day, falling 1.1% to 7,298 points.

Many of its companies make most of their earnings abroad and the jump in sterling today means a strong pound dampens profits when they are converted into sterling.

The day's big winner was Next, which jumped 13% after raising guidance for the full year.

Morrisons slipped 5.1%, making the supermarket the biggest faller.

Carney speaks

Mark Carney
PA

Mark Carney has given a television interview following the Monetary Policy Committee's hints about a rate rise later this year in which he said:

The majority of members of the (Monetary Policy) Committee, myself included, see that that balancing act is beginning to shift, and that in order to ... return inflation to that 2% target in a sustainable manner, there may need to be some adjustment of interest rates in the coming months. Now, we will take that decision based on the data. I guess that possibility has definitely increased."

Sports Direct under fire (again)

Sports Direct sign
Getty Images

MPs are raising new concerns about working practices at Sports Direct after receiving claims from a whistleblower that couriers are being underpaid.

Two select committees have written to the retailer's boss, Mike Ashley, saying they have been told Sports Direct and courier Hermes are underpaying workers for some deliveries.

The Work and Pensions and Business select committees said they understood the delivery company pays two rates: one for a packet and another for heavier parcels. The whistleblower claimed there was a practice of sending larger, heavier goods as packets so the courier only gets paid the lower rate.

Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions committee, said: "If this complaint stands up, it represents a new low in actually deliberately underpaying workers for the work they do."

Rachel Reeves, who chairs the Business committee, said: "This appears to be a stitch-up between Hermes and Sports Direct to short-change low paid couriers in order to boost company profits."

Belgium is not in Ireland, ECJ rules

Ryanair plane
Getty Images

Ryanair has lost an EU court battle for the right to impose Irish labour laws on its cabin crew working elsewhere in Europe.

The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of six Ryanair workers of different nationalities based at Charleroi airport in Belgium, who argued that they should be subject to Belgian employment law.

The budget airline argued that their work was done in Ireland because the planes they worked on were registered there, even though the contracts stated their "home base" was Charleroi, where they started and ended their working days.

A clause in the crew's contracts stating that Irish courts had jurisdiction and seeking to prevent employees bringing proceedings elsewhere was not enforceable, the court also ruled.

A bit rich

BuzzFeed UK reporter Patrick Smith tweets:

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'Full confidence'

Karen Bradley
Getty Images

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley (pictured) says she has referred Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky to regulators on the grounds of broadcasting standards because the public had to have full confidence in the process.

"I think that the threshold for reference that I have to take is lower than the threshold maybe for the fit and proper test that Ofcom do," she said at the RTS convention in Cambridge on Thursday.

"I think it is important that there is confidence in whatever decision is taken. It is important for public confidence that the full review takes place by the CMA [Competition and Markets Authority]. I want them to look at the concerns that have been raised, you will see when we publish all the information on this exactly why the referral has been made."

Not so fast

Bank of England
Getty Images

Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank, says the Bank that by ratcheting up its rhetoric, it has conditioned the markets and supported the pound without having to resort to the more significant tools at its disposal.

“Many will understandably now think that a rate rise in imminent, but in fact our view is that it is more likely to be next summer. This is because the MPC is still dominated by doves, such as Mark Carney, who are concerned about the impact higher rates could have on real wages so dependent on consumer spending," she says.

“Of course, the risks could change, particularly if sterling were to devalue further, but for now the Bank’s rhetoric appears to have done its job.”

Fishy business

BBC World Service

Fishing trawler
Getty Images

The challenge of preventing unlicensed ships from Europe and China fishing off the coast of West Africa is getting tougher.

Countries like Gambia and Equatorial Guinea cannot afford navy patrol vessels, which makes it easier for large foreign vessels to fish, without permission, threatening the business of small-scale fishermen and affecting supplies of a staple food.

Gambia plans to engage three private companies to prevent illegal fishing in its waters, which comes as the marine conservation group Oceana has accused the European Union of illegally allowing boats from Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain to fish off the coast of West Africa.

Beth Lowell, a senior director at Oceana, has been talking to the World Service.

Hawk-eye view

Howard Archer of the EY Item Club tweets:

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Russia cries foul

US action against Kaspersky Lab is designed to undermine the competitive position of Russian firms worldwide and amounts to unfair competition, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

He was speaking after the Trump administration on Wednesday told US government agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from their networks, saying it was concerned the Moscow-based cyber security firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardise national security.

"Such actions run counter to fair competition ... and international rules," Mr Peskov said, saying Washington's action called into question its reliability as a partner.

Wall Street slips

NYSE
Getty Images

Wall Street has opened lower after a rise in consumer prices last month boosted the odds of another interest rate hike this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% to to 22,139.8 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.2% to 2,493.4 points, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.3% to 6,439.2.

The consumer prices index rose 0.4% in August - the biggest rise in seven months.

Oil jumps

Oil pump
Getty Images

Oil is also making gains today following forecasts for stronger oil demand by the International Energy Agency. Brent crude is up 40 cents at $55.56, while US crude has just breached the $50 mark for the first time since 10 August.

Brent is has climbed more than $10 a barrel over the past three months.

"Stronger demand and supply restrictions from OPEC and Russia are the main reasons for the oil price upsurge," said Forex.com analyst Fawad Razaqzada.

Still higher...

Money
Getty Images

Sterling is now 1.1% higher at $1.3356 and up a similar level against the euro at 1.1237 euros following the Bank of England's hint that it is ready to raise interest rates in the coming months.

"After recent warnings that markets were under-priced for potential interest rate hikes, the Monetary Policy Committee appears close to following through and tightening its policy in response to above-target inflation," said Timothy Graf at State Street Global Markets.

Record margins for Hermes

Hermes store in Singapore
Getty Images

Not many companies can boast an operating margin of 34.3%, but that's what Hermes managed for the first half of the year.

Chief executive Axel Dumas says the luxury goods group's "very good profitability" was due to organic growth and good sales momentum across all divisions and regions.

Mr Dumas said: "The performance in the first half confirmed the positive momentum of the ready-to-wear and accessories and the silk and textiles business lines."

Net profit rose by 11% to €605m in the six months to June.

After Trump, big data firm eyes China

China flag
Getty Images

Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump predict what voters cared about during the 2016 presidential elections is now turning its sights to China.

However, the firm told Bloomberg that it initially wants to focus on commercial opportunities and not politics in China.

“We’ve been scoping this market for about a year,” Cambridge Analytica's chief executive Alexander Nix said.

“We see huge opportunity to bring some of these technologies to advertising and marketing space brands.”

Car makers must earn back trust, says Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that the country's car makers must do everything they can to restore trust in the industry.

Opening the Frankfurt Motor Show, Mrs Merkel said: "A lot of trust has been destroyed. That is why the industry must do everything to win back confidence, in its own interest and that of employees and German industry."

Volkswagen is still fighting to put the "dieselgate" scandal behind it, when it admitted to installing software on cars to beat pollution tests.

While European regulators are investigating VW, BMW, Daimler, Audi and Porsche for alleged anti-competitive collusion.

Crossrail completes Elizabeth line track installation

Crossrail workers in the eastbound tunnel at the Whitechapel Elizabeth line station
Crossrail

Crossrail says it has completed installing the permanent track on London's newest railway - the Elizabeth line.

Now that the track has been fully laid, construction trains will be able to use it to travel the full length of both new tunnels from end to end.

The Elizabeth line is set to open in December 2018 and will hopefully improve travel links for passengers across London and the South East.

Fox-Sky deal shows 'UK open for business'

James Murdoch and wife Kathryn
Getty Images
James Murdoch and wife Kathryn

James Murdoch says that approval of 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky by the Competition and Markets Authority would signal that the UK is "truly open for business post Brexit".

Mr Murdoch told the audience at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge on Thursday that inward investment in the UK's creative economy would send a "positive signal" to companies around the world, according to the Financial Times.

“I am hopeful that here in the UK, a major chapter of our company and the entire industry will be written,” he said.

“Everything we have done…has been about increasing choice, amplifying diversity [and] adhering to the highest broadcast standards”.

Sterling surpasses $1.33

The pound is now up 0.79% against the dollar at $1.33130 following the Bank of England's comments on interest rates.

Pound v dollar
BBC

Rate rise could come 'as soon as November'

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney
Getty Images
The Bank of England's rate-setters, led by Governor Mark Carney, may act as soon as November

Paul Hollingsworth, UK economist at Capital Economics, predicts that the UK interest rate could be increased as soon as November.

He said: "The minutes struck a considerably more hawkish tone than in August in suggesting that “some withdrawal of monetary stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months.

"Indeed, this supports our long-held view that market expectations had gone way too far in expecting rates to remain on hold until 2019."

He adds: "If the economy continues to hold up, and there are clearer signs that wage growth is building, then the first hike could some somewhat earlier than we had previously envisaged, possibly as soon as the next meeting in November alongside the Inflation Report."

Not the right time for Bank to act

It wasn't the right time for the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to raise interest rates, says Professor Costas Milas of Liverpool University's Management School.

He says: "With inflation currently so much volatile (future inflation can either go up or down and possibly in a wild manner) and output volatility currently so low (which means that we are really stuck with low GDP growth rates), this was arguably not the time to hike yet.

"On the other hand, volatile inflation means that inflation might jump up further in September. In the absence of an MPC meeting in October, MPC members might feel uncomfortable to wait until November before they get again the option to hike."

Former MPC member 'disappointed' at rate decision

Andrew Sentance, a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), and senior economic adviser at PwC tweets:

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Reading between the lines

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, says that delving into the minutes from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) meeting reveals hawkish undertones.

He says: "The MPC thinks the economic data since 3 August, although relatively limited, suggests growth is firmer than expected. Crucially policymakers think that slack is being absorbed faster than expected and this would be consistent with a rate hike sooner than markets currently expect. Again the MPC said monetary policy may well be tightened more than current market expectations."

He adds: "A majority of MPC members agree that as long as the economy trundles along as is, then some withdrawal of stimulus would be appropriate. It’s clearly teeing up a rate rise and wants the markets to prepare for one."