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  1. Get in touch:
  2. FTSE 100 ends lower
  3. Virgin Media cuts 800 jobs
  4. Cambridge Analytica to close
  5. Richard Branson launches investment fund
  6. Spotify shares slide

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Good night!

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

We are back as usual at 06:00 tomorrow, so do join us then.

Wall Street sags

Wall Street ended mostly lower amid investor worries over interest rates and trade, while Tesla shares plummeted following a public hissy fit by chief Elon Musk.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed almost flat at 25,930 points, recovering after sinking 1.6% at its nadir on Thursday.

The S&P 500 fell 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite also dropped 0.2%.

"It is a little perplexing that the market is reacting the way," said William Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates. "Earnings have been fantastic."

Tesla fell more than 5% to $284.74.

BreakingTwitter password breach

Twitter logo
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Twitter has told its 330 million users to change their passwords after a glitch exposed some in plain text on its internal network.

The social network said an internal investigation had found no indication passwords were stolen or misused by insiders.

However, it still urged all users to consider changing their passwords "out of an abundance of caution".

Twitter did not say how many passwords were affected.

Winterkorn charged

Martin Winterkorn
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More on those charges against former Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn.

He has been accused of conspiring to mislead regulators about the German car maker's efforts to cheat the emissions of its diesel-fuelled vehicles.

Volkswagen was not immediately available for comment.

An indictment filed in March was unsealed on Thursday in US district court and named numerous former VW executives.

Mr Winterkorn resigned soon after the scandal over polluting vehicles in the US became public in September 2015.

BreakingEx-VW boss charged

Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has been charged by US prosecutors in Detroit over the diesel emissions scandal, according to a federal court filing reported by Reuters tonight.

More details when we have them.

Fancy a Wahlburger?

Chris Johnston

Business reporter, BBC News

Let's hope that the burgers are better than his pronunciation of Covent Garden... Yes, actor Mark Wahlberg is bringing his burger chain to the UK.

He made the announcement in a tweet on Sunday, which for some reason has only been noticed today:

View more on twitter

The store will have the "best possible location" at 8 and 9 James Street, "Covenant Garden", Wahlberg tells his 3.8 million Twitter followers.

The chain was founded seven years ago by Mark, his actor brother Donnie (who was once in New Kids on the Block, remember) and chef Paul Wahlberg.

It has stores in 22 US cities and aims to open as many as 50 stores in the Uk over the next five years.

Just don't mention the word "Byron", ok?

German Facebook demands

Facebook logo
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Germany's justice minister has written to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg asking the social network to be transparent with users and to give them more control.

Katarina Barle's letter says the allegations of the improper use of data of millions of people is unacceptable, according to Reuters.

Her letter also called on Facebook to strictly implement privacy by default settings and to set up an internal mechanism to protect users from misuse by third parties such as Cambridge Analytica.

Academy expels Polanski and Cosby

Bill Cosby

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has expelled actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership.

A statement from the organisation that organises the Oscars read: "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' board of governors met on Tuesday night (May 1) and has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership, in accordance with the organisation's standards of conduct. The board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy's values of respect for human dignity."

Last month Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

Read more about the Polanski case here.

It's a rap for Jay-Z

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The US financial regulator has ordered Jay-Z, the music mogul and businessman, to explain details of the sale of his clothing line to determine whether it breached federal law.

The SEC wants to question Shawn Carter (aka Mr Beyonce) about the $200m sale of his Rocawear clothing label in 2007 to Iconix Brand Group.

A representative for Jay-Z said: "We are aware that the SEC is seeking information on Iconix's financial reporting. Mr. Carter had no role in that reporting or Iconix's other actions as a public company. Mr Carter is private citizen who should not be involved in this matter."

In November, Mr Carter failed to appear after an initial SEC order and it issued a second subpoena in February.

Jay-Z continued as chief creative officer of Rocawear after the 2007 sale.

New VW chief executive vows integrity drive

VW logo
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Volkswagen's new chief executive has promised to make the carmaker "more honest" as it fights to recover from 2015's diesel emissions scandal, but its wary investors called for outside vetting of steps to restore its reputation.

Europe's largest car maker will expand its internal whistleblower system and beef up compliance to prevent the misconduct that triggered the scandal, chief executive Herbert Diess said.

US sports store 'lobbies for gun control'

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Dick’s Sporting Goods, which sells a lot of guns in the US, is lobbying for more gun control, Bloomberg reports.

Following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, Dick’s announced it would stop selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

It also increased its firearms purchase age to 21.

It has now retained Glover Park Group to lobby congress on the matter, according to the Bloomberg article.

Chinese customs 'expands checks on US fruit imports'

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China's major ports have increased checks on fresh fruit imports from the US, Reuters reports, which could delay shipments from US growers already dealing with higher tariffs as Sino-US trade ties worsen.

Fruit including oranges have been held up, the news agency reports.

Different types of fruit were among 128 US goods that China imposed more expensive import tariffs on in retaliation to US levies on Chinese steel and aluminum.

Trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies flared this year.

A US trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials.

Plush deal for Intercontinental

Chris Johnston

Business reporter, BBC News

Dominic Walsh of The Times - who knows his hospitality and leisure - tweets:

View more on twitter

Why is only one of the world's top earning sports stars a woman?

Jonathan Josephs

BBC business producer

Wall Street slips

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Wall Street is in the doldrums today, with the Dow Jones down almost 1% and the S&P 500 off 1.1%.

Joshua Mahony, a market analyst at IG, said the slide was due to trade fears and a strengthening dollar weighing on sentiment.

"Nerves before US-China trade talks and a little reverberation from yesterday's meeting of the Federal Reserve have kept markets on edge," commented Jasper Lawler at London Capital Group.

A high-level US delegation arrived in Beijing today for talk on tariffs. However, a breakthrough is not unlikely, especially as the US embassy said the delegation would leave as early as Friday night.

The Federal Reserve also reaffirmed the outlook for more rate rises yesterday, but no faster than previously planned.

China's rise charted in patent requests

Jonathan Josephs

BBC business producer

South African gold miners gain $400m lung disease payout

Virgin Media jobs in Nottingham at risk

So what is to happen to Virgin Media jobs at its Nottingham call centre?

The are currently 210 people employed there, and that number will be cut to 70. Those jobs will move to a nearby site.

Some Nottingham roles will go offshore, some jobs will go to Birmingham, and 58 roles will move to other locations in the UK.

The current site of the Nottingham call centre will become "a technical site" housing mainly technical equipment, a Virgin Media spokesman says.

Spotify shares drop after underwhelming results

Spotify logo and Australian artist Dustin Tebbutt
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Swedish music streaming service Spotify's shares have fallen more than 9% after the company's first quarterly report underwhelmed Wall Street.

Spotify, which made an unorthodox direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April, reported solid results, but analysts had expected more positive news, raising concerns about its success in turning free music listeners into paying subscribers.

Virgin Media's call centre plans

As announced earlier, nearly 800 people are at risk of redundancy at Virgin Media's call centre in Swansea as part of major restructuring of the company's customer operations centres.

Its Swansea site is to close, along with several others.

Virgin Media currently has eight customer operations centres, which deal with anything from faults to customer calls.

It now wants to create four regional hubs.

In addition to Swansea, the following four sites are earmarked for closure - Slough, Langley, Winnersh and Hook.

A new regional hub is being created close by in Reading.

A spokesman said that job losses there were eventually expected to minimal as the vast majority of staff are expected to transfer to the new site in 2020.

Nottingham is also closing but staff there are moving into a new bespoke building.

The biggest impact is in Swansea.

Virgin Media says there will be a net reduction in 500 roles overall.

The other three regional hubs are in existing locations.

Bellshill is getting a new building, Wythenshawe in Manchester is being revamped.

Virgin Media 'working with' call centre staff

Virgin Media logo
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On the nearly 800 job losses at Swansea, Virgin Media says it is cutting down the number of its work places to "four regional customer operations hubs" as part of a property programme which began last year.

"As a consequence, we have proposed the customer operations roles currently based at our Swansea site will transfer to either one of our partners or to a soon to be refurbished site at Wythenshawe near Manchester.

"The majority of the remaining roles will relocate to alternative sites across the UK. This means that our site in Swansea will close by the autumn of 2019.

“We are now working with and supporting all employees who have been asked to relocate, who may be in a role at risk of redundancy or who may wish to take another role with Virgin Media or one of our partners.”

Branson moves into private equity

Ben Morris

Business reporter

Sir Richard Branson
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Sir Richard Branson is set to become a partner in a private equity fund which will invest in consumer goods firms, in areas like luxury goods, leisure, food and drinks.

The fund will be co-managed by Metric Capital, an investment firm based in London.

The partnership will look to raise money from big investors, including pension firms and state-owned investment funds.

Tesla shares drop again after Musk analyst brush-off

Tesla dealership
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Tesla shares are down more than 6% extending losses from Wednesday after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk cut off analysts asking about the company's profit potential, despite promises that production of the troubled Model 3 electric car was on track.

Mr Musk's refusal to answer "boring" Wall Street questions about the electric car maker's financial condition sent shares down as much as 7% on Thursday and spurred concerns about its ability to raise money in the future.

FTSE slides as heavyweights go ex-dividend

The FTSE 100 has slid into negative territory after several heavyweights including G4S, LSE, Kingfisher and Mondi went ex-dividend. Mondi was the biggest faller on the index, down nearly 7%.

There have been sharp falls for some stocks after results.

Shares in Smith & Nephew were on track for their worst day in nine years, down nearly 6% after Europe's biggest artificial hip and knee maker downgraded its revenue and profit forecasts following a weak first quarter.

On the FTSE 250, Go Ahead Group tumbled nearly 9% after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to "hold" from "buy", saying that in the absence of future rail franchise wins it is no longer clear the shares are significantly undervalued.

Brazil 'must accept US steel quotas'

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Members of trade unions hold a protest against US President Donal Trump's import surcharge on Brazilian steel
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A protest against US President Donald Trump's import surcharge on Brazilian steel

Brazil's steel industry association says the country “has no alternative” but to accept US quotas on exports.

Marco Polo de Mello Lopes, the head of the association, says Brazil is likely to export around 20% to 60% less steel-based products to the US due to quotas imposed by the Trump administration.

The Brazilian government still hasn’t officially accepted the terms, and is expected to announce a decision later this month.

Earlier this week, Argentina and the US agreed to permanently lift steel and aluminum tariffs.

MPs approach CMA over proposed Sainsbury's and Asda deal

Sainsbury's logo
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MPs have written to competition regulator the CMA to ask for more clarity about its proposed investigation of Sainsbury's proposed merger with Asda, the Financial Times reports.

The MPs are concerned the merged businesses would dominate the grocery market along with Tesco, and have an effect on how competitive suppliers are and on consumer choice in some locations, the article said.

US productivity grows but misses expectations

New US data shows that productivity rose 0.7% in the first quarter against expectations of a 0.9% increase.

The US Labor Department said non-farm productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, also revealed a 0.3% increase instead of being unchanged as previously thought.

On Friday, the Labor Department will publish figures on non-farm payrolls which are expected to show that employment grew by 200,000 jobs in April compared to 103,000 in March. The unemployment rate was 4.1%.

Oil prices dip on higher US output

Oil field
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The oil price fell in Thursday following data showing rising US inventories and record weekly production

Brent crude fell 0.56% to $72.95 a barrel.

The US Energy Information Administration showed a 6.2 million barrel jump in the week to 27 April.

Meanwhile, US oil production rose to a record of 10.62 million barrels per day.

A deadline of 12 May for US President Donald Trump to decide on whether to continue waiving US sanctions against Iran is also weighing on oil prices.

Olivier Jakob, managing director of energy consultancy PetroMatrix, said: "Overall, we continue to trade a waiting game for the US decision on Iran, waiting to have sanction headlines trigger some frenzied buying."

BreakingVirgin Media to axe nearly 800 jobs

Virgin Media
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Nearly 800 jobs are set to be axed as Virgin Media closes its call centre in Swansea.

The telecommunications firm plans to reduce its number of UK bases from eight to four, centralising operations in Manchester.

A total of 772 jobs will go in Llansamlet, 552 staff positions and the rest sub contractors.

Some staff have been offered redeployment to Manchester, the Philippines or India, it is believed.

Co-op to launch no-frills cremations

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As the old saying goes, nothing is certain in this life except death and taxes.

Now, Co-op Funeralcare wants to offer a cheap solution to that final journey through the no-frills cremation.

The Guardian reports that the UK's largest funeral director says there is a growing interest in "direct cremations" - where no mourners are present. It is followed by a scattering of the loved one's ashes or a memorial service at a later date.

David Collingwood, director of funerals at Co-op Funeralcare, told the newspaper that typically people did not ask for a direct cremation because not many are aware of it.

However, interest has grown following the death of David Bowie in 2016 who was cremated without family or friends present and whose ashes were later scattered in Bali.

Facebook engineer fired over stalking claims

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Facebook yesterday said it was preparing to launch an online dating service. So it's somewhat concerning to learn today that the firm has fired a security engineer accused of using his access to data to stalk women online.

Spyglass Security founder Jackie Stokes contacted Facebook via Twitter after tweeting the accusation on Monday.

Facebook has since told the BBC: "Although we can't comment on any individual personnel matters, we are aware of the situation and investigating."

Read more

New car sales surge in Germany

VW cars
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German car-makers saw a big increase in new car sales in April, although buyers continued to shun diesel vehicles.

Some 314,055 brand-new cars hit the road during the month, up 8% since last year.

Sales of diesel vehicles fell 12.5%, however, amid lingering concerns about pollution and regulation.

VW, whose 2015 emissions scandal sparked a global backlash against diesel, was still the top brand though.

It accounted for 19.4% of sales over the first four months of 2018 with its own-brand vehicles alone, and claimed further market share through the Audi, Skoda and Seat divisions.

Adidas 'will have conversations' with Kanye West

Kanye West

Rapper Kanye West has been very busy in the last few days - what with cementing his friendship with US President Donald Trump and suggesting that African-American slavery was "a choice".

It is this last remark that has provoked a firestorm of outrage, as well as awkward questions for Adidas, for whom Mr West designs a range of footwear.

In an interview about the firm's first quarter results, Adidas boss Kasper Rorsted said he would be raising the matter with the musician.

"I have seen the comment... I've not had any conversation with Kanye in the last 24 hours simply because we also have the earnings around," he told Bloomberg.

He added: "It's very clear to us that we are a sports company, we want to change people's lives through sport... We will have conversations [with West]."

Elon Musk: No 'bonehead' analyst questions please

Elon Musk

Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk made the unusual choice of vetoing "boring" questions during Tesla's latest earnings call.

Tesla posted a record quarterly loss of almost $710m (£523m) for the three months to March - more than double the same period last year.

Following a series of probing financial questions posed by analysts, Mr Musk decided to stop answering.

"Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next," he said.

Read more

FTSE 100 still treading water

London's blue chip market is still flat despite strong performances from mining stocks.

The FTSE 100 is down 0.1% at 7,534.75 points, with Evraz, Rangold Resources and Antoagasta topping the board on the back of rising metals prices.

Shares in Smith & Nephew were on track for their worst day in nine years, down 7% after Europe's biggest artificial hip and knee maker downgraded its revenue and profit forecasts following a weak first quarter.

Australia's Commonwealth Bank lost data of 20m accounts

Australia's Commonwealth Bank logo
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As we reported earlier, Australia's Commonwealth Bank has admitted losing the bank records of almost 20 million people.

Names, addresses, account numbers and statements were stored on two magnetic tapes which were meant to be destroyed by a subcontractor in 2016.

But despite not receiving evidence the tapes had actually been destroyed, the bank did not tell customers there was a potential problem.

Read more

US officials kick off China trade talks

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said resolving the issues would be "a big, big challenge"

US and Chinese officials began trade talks in Beijing on Thursday but both sides played down hopes for a quick resolution to countries' simmering trade dispute.

"It is not realistic to resolve all issues through only one round of negotiations," Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, told a news briefing.

She also said the outcome of the talks needed to be "mutually beneficial" adding: "Let's wait and see".

The US delegation includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer among others.

Mr Lighthizer said on Tuesday that resolving the issues would be "a big, big challenge".

Bayer cuts profit outlook on strong euro

Bayer factory

German chemicals giant Bayer has warned the stronger euro will hit its full year profits.

The firm, which is preparing to close its $62.5bn takeover of US seeds maker Monsanto, said underlying earnings were likely to be slightly below the 35 billion euros previously forecast.

The value of the euro has, on average, been 14% higher than the dollar during the first quarter, making eurozone exports less competitive.

Eurozone inflation growth slows

Inflation growth across the eurozone slowed in April after prices for services rose at a lower pace than expected.

Statistics office Eurostat estimated that inflation across the single currency region was 1.2% compared to 1.3% in March.

It remains below the European Central Bank's 2% target.

TalkTalk 'worst for service'


TalkTalk has come last for the second year running in a broadband service report released by regulator Ofcom.

The company's customers were the least likely to recommend their provider to friends. It scored poorly for reliability and complaints handling.

A company spokesman said that while the "results are disappointing", TalkTalk was rolling out major service improvements.

Read more here.