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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Pound falls on weak September retail sales
  3. Interserve warns on profits, shares plunge
  4. UK banks to be probed over South Africa links

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By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Thank you for reading Business Live today.

Please join us again on Friday from 6.00am onwards for all the breaking business and economics news.

Watch: Why Camden wants to host Amazon's HQ

US cities seeking to bid for Amazon's second headquarters will need to submit their proposals by the end of Thursday.

Amazon plans to invest $5bn (£3.8bn) and create 50,000 new jobs at the new headquarters, which will be a "full equal" to its Seattle base.

Amazon wants US cities to bid for its second major HQ

Twisting the knife?

Vanity Fair's Maya Kosoff has an interesting take on what a decision by Google-owner Alphabet to lead a $1bn fundraising in Lyft really means.

View more on twitter

Wall Street flat at close

US stock market trader
Getty Images

The three key US stock indexes were little changed on Thursday.

The Dow Jones edged ahead by 8 points or 0.03% to 23,165.65, taking it marginally ahead of Wednesday's record close.

The S&P 500 was up by 0.84 or a point or 0.03% at 2,562.10.

And the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 19 points or 0.29% at 6,605.07.

Shares in Apple, closed 2.4% lower amid speculation about tepid demand for the iPhone 8 (see earlier posts).

'We will take this country to the next level'

BBC World Service

The Gambia's new president issued an official call for Gambians living abroad to come back to the country, to set up businesses and investments. The BBC's Marie Keyworth talks to one young farmer, returning from the US to start a business, who tell us that he's not alone; many of his peers feel the attraction of the country's freedom and investment potential, and are determined to fuel the country's growth.

This content only works in the UK.

One young farmer tells us why he is returning to The Gambia after years in the US.

Republicans to pave way for 'massive tax cuts'?

BBC World Service

Donald Trump
Getty Images

President Trump says he believes Republicans in the US Senate will today approve a budget measure that'll make it easier to bring in sweeping tax cuts later this year, reports BBC World Service.

If passed, this initial measure will mean later tax legislation can be approved by a simple Senate majority, rather than the 60 votes out of 100 that it currently needs. Republicans currently hold 52 seats.

Mr Trump's proposed overhaul - which he calls the largest tax cuts in US history - will include a drop in the corporate tax rate and income tax cuts for most earners. He says it will make taxes fairer.

But the Democrats say it's a giveaway to the rich and warn that it would increase the federal deficit.

View more on twitter

Apple investors 'sensitive to any speed bumps'

iPhone 8
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Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer at research house GBH Insights says that investors are very sensitive to any wrinkles in new iPhone launches.

"The street is hyper-sensitive to any speed bumps around this next iPhone cycle and (that) speaks to the knee-jerk reaction we are seeing in shares."

He says: "iPhone 8 demand has been naturally soft out of the gates with the main event being the iPhone X launch in early November. (But) this is the early innings of what we believe is the biggest iPhone product cycle with X leading the way."

Dutch PM Mark Rutte: More details needed from UK
Dutch PM Mark Rutte: More details needed from UK

Demand for iPhone 8 'anemic'

iPhone 8
Getty Images

It looks like rumours of weak appetite for the iPhone 8 have been fanned by Joe Natale, chief executive of Canada's Roger Communications.

He said demand for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus had been "anemic". Meanwhile Verizon's chief financial officer Matt Ellis also said that the number of phone upgrades during the third quarter were lower compared to previous years.

However, Mr Ellis says he expects good demand for the iPhone X which will be released at the beginning of November.

Apple shares fall on iPhone jitters

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller
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Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller introduces the new iPhone X

Speculation of tepid demand for Apple's new iPhone 8 has sent its share price down 2.85% to $155.20.

The company weighed on the wider Nasdaq index which is trading down 26.80 points at 6,597.42.

"Apple has its impact across the board," said Phil Blancato, head of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management.

He pointed to the company's decision to stagger the launch of its new smartphones - the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus went on sale on 22 September and the iPhone X is released on 3 November.

"The marketing plan here was not a lot to be desired, considering you have two phones and the next one is just two weeks away from release. If it's going to be a significant upgrade, it did not make any sense to me," he says.

Air Berlin and EasyJet 'close to' plane deal

Air Berlin and EasyJet aircraft
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Air Berlin and EasyJet are close to announcing a deal over up to 25 A320 aircraft.

Germany's BZ Media and Bild report that a sale of the Air Berlin aircraft to EasyJet could be announced as soon as Friday.

Oil prices fall

Oil rig
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Oil prices fell on Thursday with Brent down 1.4% at $57.35 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate is off 1.2% at 51.64 a barrel.

Analysts said that higher than expected fuel inventories in the US, according to the Energy Information Administration, continued to weigh on prices. They also suggested that investors had chosen to take profits.

Once more unto the breach

SpaceX
Getty Images

SpaceX will try to launch new satellites into orbit after an attempt last year ended in an explosion.

Space Communications of Israel has signed a deal with SpaceX to launch two communication satellites. The first, Amos-17, will be sent into orbit in 2019 on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

BA sorry for bed bugs on plane

Bed bug
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British Airways has apologised to a Canadian family after they were bitten by bed bugs on an overnight flight.

Heather Szilagyi was flying from Vancouver to London with her eight-year-old daughter and fiancé earlier this month, CTV reported.

After spotting the bugs, Ms Szilagvi complained to the flight attendant but was told she could not change seats.

She said she and her daughter woke up the next morning covered in bug bites.

Read more here.

Interest rate rise 'an open question'

Sir Jon Cunliffe
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Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor of the Bank of England, has described the timing of an interest rate rise as "an opening question".

While the economy is growing and unemployment is falling, Sir Jon says: "We are not seeing pay pressure and for me we are not seeing sustained signs of domestic inflation pressure.”

He adds: “The inflation we have is coming from abroad from that depreciation (of the post-Brexit vote pound)."

There are expectations that the Bank of England could raise the interest rate in November.

Here's how members of the Monetary Policy Committee stand on voting next month, according to Barclays.

MPC vote
Barclays

Zurich 'explores Endsleigh sale'

Swiss insurance group Zurich is searching for buyers for its Endsleigh business, according to Sky News.

It says that Zurich has hired investment bankers from firm Evercore to examine a sale.

Sky reports that the talks are at an early stage.

Looking back at Black Monday

United Continental shares sink

More on United Continental.

Shares in the airline group are down 11.71% at $60.00.

The company gave an disappointing outlook on fourth profit margins which analysts said means the business will trail its rivals.

United Continental's chief executive Oscar Munoz said the airline had "dug itself into a hole" in terms of competition and said: "It’s about regaining our competitive advantage."

United Continental share price
BBC

$50 oil price is 'fair', says Putin

Vladimir Putin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin says that actions taken by Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing nations have helped prices.

He said: "We have coordinated our position with the OPEC countries... and the price has been stable at over $50. We consider this to be a fair price, which suits us." Putin said at a forum with scholars.

Southern Railway-owner hails deal progress

Southern Rail strikes
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Aslef, the union, has agreed on a proposed package for drivers on Southern Railway and Gatwick Express.

Nick Brown, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, says: “We welcome the Aslef executive’s endorsement of the proposals we have negotiated to resolve the dispute.

"We have concluded negotiations on pay, productivity and driver only operation in a package that will now be put to a referendum of Aslef members.”

Google-firm backs Lyft

Lyft driver
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Lyft, the taxi-hailing app and Uber rival, says that Capital G led a $1bn round of fundraising that values the business at $11bn.

Capital G is the growth investment fund of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc.

Alphabet has its own autonomous car development platform Waymo.

CapitalG partner David Lawee will join Lyft's board.

UK stock markets close lower

Unilever plant
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 has closed 19.83 points lower at 7,523.04.

Consumer goods giant Unilever was Thursday's biggest faller, with its share price down 5.5% at £42.97. It reported third quarter sales growth of 2.6%, below analysts' expectations of a 3.9% rise.

Irish packaging business Smurfit Kappa Group led the FTSE 100 risers, up 3.52% at £22.38.

The FTSE 250 closed down 128.25 points at 20,131.52.

London rules ok?

The government is staying tight-lipped on a somewhat mischievous tweet from Goldman Sachs chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein earlier today.

"We're not going to comment on each individual statement but lets be clear, London is and will remain the world's leading financial centre," a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May says.

Meanwhile...

View more on twitter

US cities battle it out for Google HQ

Amazon cushion
Getty Images

US cities seeking to bid for Amazon's second headquarters will need to submit their proposals by the end of Thursday.

Amazon plans to invest $5bn (£3.8bn) and create 50,000 new jobs at the new headquarters, which will be a "full equal" to its Seattle base.

The investment will also create tens of thousands of other jobs in construction and the surrounding community.

Read the full story here.

From zero to hero?

United Continental Airlines planes
Getty Images

United Continental Airlines, the company infamous for a video that showed an elderly passenger being dragged off an overbooked flight, has just won itself some bragging rights.

In the last quarter there were 28 days when the airline didn't have to bump any customers off a full plane, according to CNBC.

Impressive. So, what was the previous record?

"Zero," says chief executive Oscar Munoz.

Oh.

Beware of the scam

BP boss praises chairman's 'wise counsel'

Carl-Henric Svanberg at the White House
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Carl-Henric Svanberg had to answer questions from former US President Barack Obama over the Deepwater Horizon disaster

Carl-Henric Svanberg joined BP's board in September 2009 before becoming chairman the following January, just months before the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion which claimed 11 lives.

He and the then chief executive Tony Haywood were criticised over their response to the disaster off the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted in a major oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon
Getty Images

Mr Svanberg stayed on as My Haywood left to be replaced by Bob Dudley, who said on Thursday: "BP's comeback would not have been possible without the strong leadership and steadfast support of Carl-Henric and the board.

"Together we were able to honour our commitments to the Gulf while rebuilding BP into a safer, stronger company."

He added: "Carl-Henric's wise counsel and good humour will be sorely missed."

BreakingBP chairman to retire

BP has announced that its chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg will retire.

The oil giant says that Mr Svanberg will chair the annual general meeting to be held in May 2018 and will remain in position until a successor has been found.

Nissan suspends Japan production

Nissan cars
Getty Images

Japanese car maker Nissan says it will suspend domestic production for at least two weeks to look into misconduct in its final inspection procedures which led to a massive recall.

Production will stop at all six of its Japanese assembly plants to consolidate their inspection lines to comply with transport ministry requirements.

Nissan has recalled 1.2 million new passenger cars sold in Japan over the past three years for re-inspection.

An additional 34,000 cars will be re-inspected.

'Disturbing narratives' led to 1987 crash

New York Stock Exchange, 19 October 1987
Getty Images

For a well written and authoratative article on the 1987 market crash, try this piece in the New York Times from Robert Shiller, the 2013 winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Just after the crash, he gathered evidence from financial traders, in an attempt to work out what happened.

"My survey indicated that Oct. 19, 1987, was a climax of disturbing narratives. It became a day of fast reactions amid a mood of extreme crisis in which it seemed that no one knew what was going on and that you had to trust your own gut feelings."

Oh.. and he also says...

"That kind of panic can certainly happen again."

Trump to meet Yellen about Fed role

Janet Yellen
Getty Images

US President Donald Trump with meet with Janet Yellen on Thursday to decide on who will chair the US Federal Reserve.

Ms Yellen currently chairs the US central bank. She widely reported to be a on shortlist of five under consideration by Mr Trump.

The others are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council and chief economic adviser to US President Donald Trump; Stanford University economics professor John Taylor; former Fed board member Kevin Warsh and current member Jerome Powell.

Mr Trump is expected to name his pick by early November.

Watchdog warns car rental firms

Car dealer
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Two unnamed car hire websites suspected of charging hidden fees are being investigated by the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority fears that price comparison firms are breaking consumer law by hitting motorists with unexpected costs such as for fuel or late night pick-ups and drop-offs.

CMA project director James MacBeth said: "No one should be misled or face unexpected charges, whether they choose to book directly with the car hire company or through a comparison site."

US stocks open lower

US stock market trader
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average has opened down but remains above the 23,000 level.

The US index fell 64.66 points to 23,092.94. The S&P 500 declined 6.92 points to 2,554.34.

The Dow Jones has opened at a record high 51 times this year, according to Bloomberg. For the S&P, it has been 47 times.

The Nasdaq began trading down 32.29 points at 6,591.93.

Why Hornby's chairman left the station

The Times retail editor Deirdre Hipwell tweets...

Pound down on dollar and euro

The pound has clawed back a little ground against the dollar but is still trading 0.24% down at $1.31740.

Pound v dollar
BBC

Sterling is off 0.6% against the euro at €1.11330.

Pound v euro
BBC

From Frankfurt with love

Beware South Africa, Lord Hain tells UK firms

Lord Hain has warned UK companies who have business dealings with South African President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas that they could be "badly contaminated, and suffer tremendous damage."

"Whistleblowers provided me with the evidence [of money laundering]," Lord Hain said.

"I've given to the Chancellor the identities of the 27 people I've named in the letter to him. They will be investigated by the three banks [HSBC, Standard Chartered and Naroda] I trust.

He said Bell Pottinger, had gone bankrupt, and that KPMG and McKinsey are "in the firing line."

"Anybody doing business, or allowing their banking facilities with these people are going to be badly contaminated, and suffer tremendous damage," he told the BBC.

Ryanair settles eDreams dispute

Ryanair plane
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Ryanair has reached a settlement with Google and online travel agent eDreams to end legal proceedings in the Irish High Court over what it said were misleading advertisements for Ryanair flights.

The Irish airline accused Google in 2015 of allowing eDreams to use "misleading" subdomain www.Ryanair.eDreams.com and a website with branding similar to Ryanair's to sell tickets at higher prices than on its own website.

Ryanair said the terms of the settlement would remain confidential.