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  1. RBS to close 162 branches with 792 job cuts
  2. Pound nears $1.36
  3. FTSE 100 closes above 7,500 points
  4. New problems with TSB standing orders
  5. Gibson guitars files for bankruptcy protection
  6. Get in touch:

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Good night!

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

Join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

BreakingApple beats expectations

Apple logo
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Apple exceeded revenue and profit expectations in its March quarter as it sold 52.2 million iPhones, only a touch below Wall Street targets despite waning global demand for smartphones.

The company also boosted its share buyback programme by $100bn.

Shares jumped 4.5% in after-hours trading in New York.

Snap shares sink

Ooops. The market doesn't like those Snap numbers at all: shares are down 17% in after-hours trading in New York.

Still no sign of Apple's half-year results due out 20 mins ago, by the way.

Snap disappoints - again


Snap's user and revenue growth fell short of analysts' expectations for the first quarter after a widely panned redesign of its Snapchat messaging app.

The app's number of daily active users - crucial for generating advertising revenue - rose to 191 million in the quarter to 31 March, short of expectations of 194.1m.

The figure was up 15% from the same period last year, but lower than 18% growth in the previous quarter.

Total revenue rose 54% to $230.7m - also lower than expected.

Snap posted a net loss of $385.8m but at least that was somewhat better than the $2.21bn loss a year earlier.

User growth at the company's disappearing-message app have repeatedly fallen short of Wall Street's expectations since its heavily-hyped float in March 2017.

T-Mobile revenues rise

T-Mobile, which is buying the smaller US mobile network Sprint, reported an 8.8% rise in first-quarter revenue as it added more subscribers with competitively priced plans.

Net profit fell $671m for the quarter to 31 March despite the rise in revenue to $10.46bn.

Dow ends lower

Wall Street traders
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.3% lower as tumbling oil prices and growing fears that tariffs and inflation could weigh on corporate profits.

Data showed US factory activity slowed for a second month in a row in April.

However, the S&P 500 closed 0.25% higher, while the Nasdaq jumped 0.9%.

Rock on...

Bit of a Spinal Tap joke here in this tweet from Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker (who was one of the reporters responsible for exposing Harvey Weinstein, by the way).

More about the Gibson bankruptcy filing here.

View more on twitter

New Europe chief for Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley has appointed Clare Woodman as the new head of its European, Middle East and Africa division, making her the first woman to lead the unit as the group prepares for Brexit.

The Wall Street giant made the announcement in an internal memo sent to staff by chairman and chief executive James Gorman and seen by the Press Association.

Customs conundrum

More on that little problem called the customs union on Newsnight this evening:

View more on twitter

Uber loses Brighton licence

Brighton sea front
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Uber's licence in Brighton will not be renewed, the local council says, adding the taxi app is not "fit and proper" and citing concerns over a data breach and the use of drivers from outside the area.

The Silicon Valley firm is also battling a decision by London's transport regulator last September to strip the firm of its licence, after which Brighton granted a six-month extension while it monitored the situation.

On Tuesday, the Chair of Brighton's licensing panel Councillor Jackie O'Quinn said the council would not renew the firm's right to operate in the area, partly after the company failed to promptly disclose a hack which affected some 57 million accounts worldwide.

"Our priority is the safety of residents and visitors and, due to the data breach and the lack of commitment to using drivers licensed here, we were not satisfied that UBL (Uber Britannia Limited) are a fit and proper person to hold an operator's licence," she said.

Uber said :"This is a disappointing decision for the thousands of passengers and drivers who rely on our app in Brighton and Hove. We intend to appeal so we can continue serving the city."

Hasbro 'to acquire Power Rangers'

People dressed as Power Rangers
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Toy giant Hasbro has agreed to acquire children’s entertainment and merchandising franchises, including the characters of superhero TV show Power Rangers from Saban Entertainment for around $520m in cash and stock, Reuters reports.

The deal comes as Hasbro seeks to reverse its losses following the bankruptcy last year of US toy retailer Toys R Us.

Hasbro is the world’s largest toy maker, whose stable of franchises includes “My Little Pony,” “Monopoly” and “The Transformers”.

Harry Potter book printers sold

Harry Potter books
Clays of Bungay printed the globally successful Harry Potter series

The 200-year-old book printers that produced the bestselling Harry Potter series has been sold for close to £24.

Clays Ltd prints and binds 150 million books every year at its 19-acre production and distribution site in Bungay, Suffolk.

The firm has been sold by marketing company St Ives to the privately owned Italian print group, Elcograf.

There will be no redundancies and the senior management team will remain in place, a spokeswoman said.

Read more here.

States to challenge Trump over emissions

Car exhaust
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California and a group of 16 other states plan to file a lawsuit in a federal appeals court challenging the Trump administration's decision to declare vehicle emissions rules up to the end of 2025 "not appropriate."

In April, US Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said standards on model year 2022 to 2025 vehicles should be revised, reversing a decision by the Obama administration in January 2017.

The US Transportation Department has drafted a proposal likely to be made public this month that would freeze vehicle requirements at 2020 levels until 2026.

Car makers including General Motors and Toyota want the Trump administration and California to reach an agreement to extend national standards.

Goldman Sachs agrees to pay $110m to settle forex claims

Lloyd Blankfein
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Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $110m to resolve allegations by two US regulators that its foreign exchange traders shared information about investment positions.

Half the $110m fine will be paid to the Federal Reserve and the rest will go to the New York Department of Financial Services.

"The firm failed to detect and address its traders' use of electronic chatrooms to communicate with competitors about trading positions," the Fed said.

The Facebook effect

Mark's new look shares plunge after Facebook dating announcement

Not a match made in heaven. shares have dropped more than 9% after Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will launch a new dating feature.

Facebook to offer dating feature

Zuckerberg jokes about 'watch party' for Congress testimony

Facebook promises new tool to clear browsing history

Facebook 'will be prepared for election interference'

'Really pumped'

Who's going to blink first?

Branch closures 'risk financially excluding people'

Nicky Morgan
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Treasury select committee chair Nicky Morgan says RBS and other retail bank branch closures risk financially excluding people:

“In recent years, retail banks have made decisions to shrink their branch network on the grounds that more people are banking online.

"But branches remain vital for many, particularly vulnerable people and those in rural areas.

“As a result of RBS’ decision, there is a risk of increased levels of financial exclusion.

"It’s important for the government to monitor this trend. If financial exclusion is increasing, the government may be required to intervene.”

Hammond swings behind EU 'customs partnership'

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

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Wednesday sees the next stage in the difficult process of the government agreeing its approach to trade with the European Union.

Theresa May will host a meeting of her Brexit cabinet - the inner sanctum which attempts to thrash out the knottiest issues left on the table.

One is the future customs relationship between the UK and EU.

That will be a vital part of any future trade deal as the UK exports 50% of its goods to the EU.

Read more here.

Does economics have a problem with women?

Canada says US tariffs will hurt jobs

Mr Trudeau and Mr Trump
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Canada has reiterated that the US imposing punitive trade measures would be bad for jobs both countries, in reaction to US President Donald Trump's decision to postpone steel and aluminum tariffs that were set to go into effect on Tuesday.

The Trump administration said on Monday that the 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% tariff on aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico would be suspended until 1 June.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the tariffs were a "very bad idea" guaranteed to disrupt trade between the two nations.

A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said: "As the Prime Minister said today, we remain confident that the US administration understands that tariffs would hurt American jobs as much as they would Canadian jobs."

US guitar-maker Gibson files for bankruptcy

Tony Iommi
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Gibson Brands, the maker of guitars beloved of rockers including Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath (pictured), has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

It has a plan to reorganise its musical instrument business under the new ownership of its lenders.

Nashville-based Gibson, whose brands include Les Paul and SG, has been struggling with $500m in debt linked to the acquisition of its overseas consumer electronics business overseas, where sales have been in sharp decline.

In a filing in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Gibson said the overseas consumer electronics business will be wound down, allowing it to re-focus on its core guitar-making and audio businesses.

"This process will be virtually invisible to customers, all of whom can continue to rely on Gibson to provide unparalleled products and customer service," chief executive Henry Juszkiewicz said.

Under the restructuring plan, lenders including Silver Point Capital, Melody Capital Partners LP and funds affiliated with KKR Credit Advisors will exchange debt for equity ownership in the reorganised company.

Its guitar business is relatively healthy. Gibson has said sales of its electric guitars grew 10.5% to $122m in the 12 months through January from a year earlier.

It plans to exit bankruptcy on 24 September.

Wall Street falls as earnings disappoint

US stocks have slipped as the latest batch of earnings from companies such as Pfizer and Tapestry disappointed investors already a bit flustered about rising costs and US protectionist policies.

A drop in oil prices due to uncertainties around the Iran nuclear deal meant energy stocks sank a bit. The S&P energy index was down 0.9%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 297 points, or 1.23%, at 23,866, the S&P 500 was down 11 points, or 0.41%, at 2,637, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 9 points, or 0.4%, at 7,041.

Adverts for broadband speeds to face new rules

Speedometer graphic
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Advertisements for broadband speeds that breach rules set to take effect on 23 May will be banned, the Advertising Standards Authority has said.

The ASA's new rules require providers to include a median average speed for the service between 20:00 and 22:00.

Providers will no longer be able to advertise "speeds of up to", which currently can be available to just 10% of their customers.

And they will have to give details of any limitations that may affect speed.

Read more here.

PM plans 'robust' response to Brexit vote

Anti-Brexit protesters

Number 10 says the government defeat by the House of Lords in a key vote risks tying negotiators' hands in Brexit talks.

Ministers back down on tax haven company registers

Caymen Islands
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The government has agreed to calls for new measures aimed at increasing transparency in offshore tax havens.

Facing a possible Commons defeat, ministers said they would not oppose an amendment to force British overseas territories to publish details of the true owners of companies based there.

Campaigners say public registers make it easier to uncover corruption, money laundering and tax dodging.

The move was backed by both Labour and Tory MPs.

Read more here.

MPs could compel Zuckerberg testimony

Mark Zuckerberg
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The select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has repeated its request for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence before its inquiry into fake news by 24 May, giving the billionaire chief executive until 11 May to respond.

Facebook's chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer testified before the inquiry on April 26 but committee chair Damian Collins found his evidence "lacked many of the important details that we need".

Mr Collins has asked Facebook to answer almost 40 questions which he says Mr Schroepfer "failed to answer fully" also by May 11 and published the full list of questions on its website.

In his letter to Facebook UK's head of public policy Rebecca Stimson, Mr Collins wrote: "Following reports that he will be giving evidence to the European Parliament in May, we would like Mr Zuckerberg to come to London during his European trip.

"We would like the session here to take place by 24 May.

"It is worth noting that, while Mr Zuckerberg does not normally come under the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament, he will do so the next time he enters the country.

"We hope that he will respond positively to our request, but if not the Committee will resolve to issue a formal summons for him to appear when he is next in the UK."

The art of dealing with Trump

Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron

World leaders have had to learn how to handle the US president, so what has worked?

Just Eat tops FTSE 100 risers

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Just Eat is topping the risers on the FTSE 100 after revenue rose 49% to £177.4m in the three months to 31 March.

The food delivery firm, fueled by our obsession with takeaways, has seen rapid growth.

Morrison Supermarkets is the main faller on the FTSE, with shares down 2.7%, after news of a merger between supermarket giants Asda and Sainsbury's.

Second class citizens?

Financial Times

'This is not the only answer'

The price of cheap, high-strength alcohol has gone up in Scotland as long-awaited legislation on minimum pricing comes into force.

The law, which sets a floor price for drinks depending on how many units of alcohol they contain, was passed in 2012 but has faced legal challenges.

The Scottish government said the move would cut consumption and save lives.

But many retailers are against the move.

View more on twitter

Hancock intervenes in Trinity Mirror-Nothern & Shell deal

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Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said that he will intervene in Trinity Mirror's deal to buy the the Daily Express, the Daily Star and OK! magazine from Northern & Shell on "public interest" grounds.

He said: "The first public interest ground is the need for free expression of opinion, and concerns the potential impact the transfer of newspapers would have on editorial decision making.

"The second public interest ground is the need for a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers, to the extent that it is reasonable or practicable."

He said regulator Ofcom will report to him the media public interest considerations and the Competition and Markets Authority on jurisdiction and any competition issues by 31 May.