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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Philip Hammond withdraws from Mansion House speech
  3. Pound jumps by almost a cent after BoE announcement
  4. UK retail sales growth slows
  5. BA says computer meltdown to cost £80m
  6. DFS shares plunge after profit warning

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

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

  2. Renault boss gets pay backing

    Renault shareholders have narrowly backed the pay package of long-serving chief executive Carlos Ghosn, overcoming protests about an issue that has divided the carmaker and the French government for several years.

    Shareholders voted in favour of a resolution on Ghosn's €7m package for 2016 and his 2017 deal, which has yet to be defined.

    The 2016 package received the backing of 53% of shareholders meeting in Paris, while the outline of the 2017 deal was backed by 54%.

    The Brazilian-born head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance was last year locked in a tussle with Renault shareholders who voted to reject his salary.

  3. Macron sets out vision

    Emmanuel Macron

    France's new president Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for a digital future, saying he wants the country to undergo a revolution so that it "thinks and moves like a startup".

    Speaking in Paris, Macron repeated he wanted to reform labour laws to give more decision-making powers to companies and lower corporate tax.

    The state should act as an enabler - not a constraint - for innovators and entrepreneurs, he said.

    The French president said he would limit the wealth tax to cover just property in order to help businesses, and would create a single levy of 30 percent on capital income so as not to scare businesses away.

    "When an entrepreneur has too much success, he gets stigmatized and, in general, he gets taxed. This is over", he said.

    Macron told a crowd of start-up founders, investors and students. "I'm proud of you... Everywhere, women and men want to innovate. France is in the middle of becoming a nation of startups," he said.

  4. Wall Street stumbles after tech slide

    Wall Street fell on Thursday as a recent selloff in technology stocks deepened and investors fretted about the economy's health as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.

    The S&P technology sector fell 0.5%, continuing a slide that began last Friday.

    Apple shares fell 0.6% while Google parent Alphabet dropped 0.9% after analyst reports on the two tech heavyweights.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 14.66 points, or 0.07%, to 21,359.90, the S&P 500 lost 5.46 points, or 0.22%, to 2,432.46 and the Nasdaq dropped 29.39 points, or 0.47%, to 6,165.50.

  5. Greece deal: IMF backing crucial

    Here are the thoughts of BBC World Service economics correspondent Andrew Walker.

    Quote Message: Time was beginning to press for this payment. Greece has repayments on other loans due next month, which it could not otherwise have made. The decision by eurozone finance ministers reflects economic policy actions already taken by Greece and the new commitment by the International Monetary Fund's managing director Christine Lagarde to recommend that her board contribute financially to this bailout.
    Quote Message: It is however a qualified commitment that she has made. She is proposing that any IMF funds be paid only when the eurozone has made further commitments to ease Greece's debt burden. An IMF contribution was politically important for Germany especially to strengthen the perceived credibility of the bailout."
  6. Debt weight

    Alexis Tsipras

    Greece's international creditors have promised a total of €86bn - paid in tranches as Athens implements economic reforms - to rescue the country.

    After three bailouts, Greece's debt currently stands at a staggering 180% of annual output, by far the biggest national debt pile in Europe.

    In an emotional editorial published on Wednesday in France, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (above) said today's meeting was "essential" for the "future of Europe".

  7. IMF backs Greece funding

    The release of the money was to ensure Athens did not default on €7bn of debt repayments due to fall next month.

    The International Monetary Fund had wanted clarity over the conditions imposed on Greece in return for the money.

    But in a statement this evening IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the organisation would support the deal.

    "We have recently seen significant progress by the Greek government on policy reforms... We have also seen progress on debt relief, although further discussions are needed on the scope and type of measures to be provided by Greece’s European creditors," she said.

  8. BreakingGreece: deal done over aid

    Eurozone ministers have struck a long-delayed deal to unlock the latest tranche of Greece's bailout cash and avert a fresh debt crisis this summer.

    The 19 finance ministers have been meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the release of €8.5bn.

    Here's the full statement.

  9. BAE Systems: Denmark promises action

    The Danish government says it will tighten export controls of high level cyber surveillance equipment following a BBC Arabic investigation into sales by a BAE Systems division in the country to Middle East states.

    Working with Danish newspaper Dagbladet Information, the BBC uncovered evidence that some of these sales have included decryption software, which could be used against the UK and its allies.

    Danish minister of Business Brian Mikkelsen said his department would look into "higher requirements for company documentation regarding the... risk of human rights violations" when it comes to issuing export licences for spyware classed as a potential weapon under international law.

    The Danish company had been exporting intrusive surveillance kit to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Morocco and Algeria.

    BAE say its technology plays a crucial role in combating terrorism and insist they're fully compliant with all export regulations.

  10. Snap snaps winning streak

    Snapchat icons

    Shares of Snapchat owner Snap fell 4.5% and briefly touched its initial public offering price of $17, highlighting investors' loss of confidence in the social media company that faces fierce competition from Facebook.

    Snap's listing in March was the hottest US technology IPO in years, with the shares climbing to $29.44 in the days immediately after its market debut.

  11. Boeing secures fighter jet deal

    F-15 jets

    Qatar has signed a $12bn deal to buy F-15 fighters jets from the US.

    The sale of the Boeing-made aircraft was finalised at a meeting in Washington between US defence chief Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart.

    It comes days after US President Donald Trump accused Qatar - a major US ally - of funding terrorism "at a very high level" - a charge Qatar denies.

    Other Gulf countries recently cut ties with Doha, accusing it of destabilising the region through its alleged support of extremist groups and links to Iran.

    Qatar is home to the biggest US air base in the Middle East, Al-Udeid. It houses around 10,000 troops and plays a key role in the US-led operations against the so-called Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

    Mr Trump's comments appeared at odds with the US Department of Defence, which had praised Qatar's "enduring commitment to regional security" just days earlier.

  12. Making the grade - just

    Royal Bank of Scotland has had its credit rating upped by Moody's.

    The bank has only been given a Baa3 - the lowest investment grade. But it does mark another step in the long road to recovery for the bailed-out bank.

    RBS said it welcomed the upgrade, which reflects it restructuring progress.

    Now, if only RBS could sort out that pending massive settlement with US authorities for allegedly misselling mortgage securities before the financial meltdown....

  13. Banker ashamed

    Jorge Arzuaga

    A former banker at Julius Baer and Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty to a US money laundering conspiracy charge in connection with a wide-ranging corruption probe of FIFA, the world soccer governing body.

    Jorge Arzuaga, 56, of Argentina, entered his plea before US District Judge Pamela Chen in the Brooklyn federal court as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

    "I deeply regret what I did," Arzuaga said in court. "I am ashamed."

    He is one of more than 40 people and entities charged in the US probe, in which prosecutors say soccer officials took more than $200m in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for marketing and broadcast rights.

  14. Wall Street update

    US share markets have recovered some lost ground, but are still in negative territory.

    The S&P 500 is 0.35% off, the Nasdaq 0.75% lower, and the Dow Jones has lost 0.12%.

    Nike is the Dow's biggest loser, down 3.5% after the company said it would cut about 2% of its 70,000 global workforce and eliminate a quarter of its shoe styles.

    Mattel dropped 8.7% to an 18-month low after the toymaker cut its dividend.

  15. Facebook acts on terror-related content

    Facebook logo

    Facebook has announced details of steps it is taking to remove terrorist-related content.

    The move comes after growing pressure from governments for technology companies to do more to take down material such as terrorist propaganda.

    In a series of blog posts by senior figures and an interview with the BBC, Facebook says it wants to be more open about the work it is doing.

    The company told the BBC it was using artificial intelligence to spot images, videos and text related to terrorism as well as clusters of fake accounts.

    "We want to find terrorist content immediately, before people in our community have seen it," it said.

  16. Uber rape victim files legal action

    Tavis Kalanick

    A woman who was raped by an Uber driver in India has started legal action against the company over revelations executives obtained her medical records.

    The lawsuit, filed in a California federal court, says Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and two other executives intruded into private affairs and defamed her.

    Kalanick, whose mother died recently, announced this week that he was taking a leave of absence.

    The founder of the taxi-hailing company has been under fire for fostering a culture of sexism and rule-breaking.

  17. Is McCoy calling time on Avon

    Sheri McCoy

    The rumour mill is going into overdrive about the future of Avon's chief executive Sheri McCoy.

    The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are among media groups reporting she is stepping down at the cosmetics firm.

    Activist investor Barington Capital has been pressuring Avon to search for a new chief executive, saying Avon's shares have suffered under McCoy.

    Avon's stock has sunk about 84% since she took charge in 2012. One of her first moves as boss was to reject a $10.7bn takeover bid from Coty

  18. Nestle may sell US arm

    Swiss food group Nestle may sell its US confectionery business, which has annual sales of 900m Swiss francs (£724m).

    The business includes brands like Butterfinger, BabyRuth, 100Grand, SkinnyCow and Raisinets.

    "Nestle will explore strategic options for its US confectionery business, including a potential sale," the company said in a statement.

    The review of options does not include Nestle's Toll House baking products in the US or its international confectionery business.

    "Nestle remains fully committed to growing its leading international confectionery activities around the world, particularly its global brand KitKat," Nestle said.

  19. Sterling up, FTSE down

    Sterling surged to its highest in a week against the euro after as many as three members of the Bank of England's policy committee surprised financial markets by voting for a rise in interest rates. The pound rose 0.69% to €1.1448.

    Trading below $1.27 before the Bank's decision, the pound also leapt by a full cent to $1.2795 after it emerged that Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders had voted with existing policy hawk Kristin Forbes for higher borrowing costs.

    That didn't help stocks markets, however, with investors already nervous about UK economic growth and company profits.

    The internationally focussed FTSE 100, which has tended to rise as the pound falls, closed down 0.74% to 7,419. 3 points. The more domestic FTSE 250 fell 2% to 19,553.6.