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Summary

  1. Get in touch at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Co-op enters talks to buy Nisa convenience stores
  3. US gasoline prices continue to rise
  4. Giant Motiva refinery in Texas begins shutdown
  5. Pound steadies above 1.08 euros
  6. HSS Hire 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 from the Business Live page for tonight. Please join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

  2. Brazil court blocks Amazon mining decree

    Amazon forest

    A Brazilian court has suspended a government decree that would open up a vast natural reserve in the Amazon to commercial mining.

    The area covers 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles) and is thought to be rich in gold, manganese and other minerals.

    On Monday, following widespread criticism, the government revised the decree, prohibiting mining in conservation or indigenous areas.

    The latest decision follows an outcry from activists and celebrities.

    The federal court in the capital Brasilia said in a statement it was suspending "possible administrative acts based on the decree" signed by President Michel Temer.

    The Renca reserve in the eastern Amazon is home to indigenous tribes and large areas of untouched forest. Its size is larger than Denmark and about 30% of it was to be opened to mining.

  3. Nafta threat to Michigan

    Detroit skyline
    Image caption: The car industry is vital to Michigan's main city, Detroit

    Michigan is likely to be the state most hurt by changes to the Nafta trade agreement, according to ratings agency Fitch.

    President Donald Trump has this week renewed threats to scrap the deal with Mexico and Canada.

    In a report on Wednesday, Fitch said 65% Michigan's exports went to Canada and Mexico in 2016, totaling 7.4% of its gross state product, it said.

    "Any state that is particularly export dependent or exposed to trade, if there's a falloff in trade it's going to hit income and sales taxes and that's going to weaken state revenues," said Michael D'Arcy, a director of US public finance at Fitch. "Cuts would have to be made."

  4. Wall Street rises after economic data surprises

    US stocks rose at the close after stronger-than-expected US economic growth outweighed concerns about escalating tensions between the US and North Korea and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

    Gross domestic product was revised higher to show a 3% annual growth rate in the second quarter, due partly to robust consumer spending as well as strong business investment.

    President Donald Trump said he wants to see the US corporate tax rate drop to 15%, but the White House offered no new tax plan, leaving the proposal in the hands of Congress.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 27.06 points, or 0.12%, to 21,892.43, the S&P 500 gained 11.29 points, or 0.46%, to 2,457.59 and the Nasdaq Composite added 66.42 points, or 1.05%, to 6,368.31.

  5. Trump: Most Americans need help on tax returns

    US President Donald Trump has outlined his plans to reform the US tax system. Speaking in Springfield, Missouri, he said the present system is too complicated and means that most Americans have to hire professional help in order to complete a tax return.

    "The tax code is now a massive source of complexity and frustration for tens of millions of Americans.

    "In 1935 the basic 1040 form that most people filed had two simple pages of instruction.

    "Today that basic form has 100 pages of instructions and it's pretty complex stuff.

    "The tax code is so complicated that more than 90% of Americans need professional help to do their own taxes.

    "This enormous complexity is very unfair, it disadvantages ordinary Americans who don't have an army of accountants, while benefitting deep-pocketed special interests," he said.

  6. New Uber boss suggests flotation timing

    Dara Khosrowshahi

    The new chief executive of Uber has told employees that the ride-services company could go public in 18 to 36 months, according to reports.

    Dara Khosrowshahi made the comments while addressing staff for the first time, the Financial Times and Wall Street journal reported.

    Analysts say the business is worth $60bn-plus.

  7. Trump pledges 15% business tax rate

    Donald Trump

    Donald Trump has renewed his pledge to cut the US business tax rate from 35% to 15%. The US president called on Congress to support his "pro-American" tax reform.

    "We must reduce the tax rate on American businesses so they keep jobs in America, create jobs in America and compete for workers right here in America," Trump said in a speech aimed at shoring up support for a broad tax-cut plan.

    "Ideally... we would like to bring our business tax rate down to 15%," he said.

    Mr Trump told Americans to "dream big and bold".

  8. US shares advance

    Wall Street has extended gains in afternoon trading. The Dow is up 0.16%, the S&P 500 is 0.5% better, and the Nasdaq is more than 1% ahead.

    The rise is fuelled by expectedly strong economic growth data and hopes that President Donald Trump will announce concrete steps on tax reform in a speech later on Wednesday.

  9. First gas from Total field off Shetland

    graph of the oilfield

    Oil company Total has produced the first gas from its Edradour-Glenlivet field west of Shetland.

    The field uses subsea technology to pipe gas straight to Shetland without the need for an offshore platform.

    Edradour-Glenlivet is an offshoot of the massive Laggan Tormore development which began producing gas last year.

    Equipment sits on the seabed and the gas is piped straight to a purpose-built production facility near Sullom Voe.

  10. Briton extradited over bank cyber attack allegations

    A Briton accused of launching cyber attacks against two of the UK's largest banks has been extradited from Germany, the National Crime Agency says. Daniel Kaye, 29, is accused of orchestrating "botnet" attacks which targeted Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays in January.

    The attack on Lloyds over three days prevented some Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers using their online accounts. It featured distributed denial of service assaults - where multiple infected computers bombard a system in an attempt to overwhelm its security and gain access to information.

    Barclays managed to fend off the attacks.

    Kaye, of Egham, Surrey, was extradited back to Britain today under a European Arrest Warrant, following an investigation involving the NCA's German counterpart the Bundeskriminalamt.

    The defendant will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday.

  11. Apple and Google face mixed reality war

    Next Games app on a phone

    Google has switched tack in its effort to popularise augmented reality on Android by moving away from a requirement for devices to be fitted with special depth sensors.

    Instead, it is building software for developers to help them mix graphics with real-world views using common camera and motion-tracking hardware.

    The rethink brings it in line with rival Apple's mixed-reality strategy.

    By coincidence, Apple has just unveiled several in-development AR apps for iOS.

  12. Few options for bargain-hunter Buffett

    Warren Buffett

    Warren Buffett says he's finding it harder to find bargains on the stock market.

    The billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway says the rally in share prices is making stocks less attractive - but still better than bonds.

    The legendary investor told Bloomberg, however, that he has been putting money into Apple this year.

    Buying shares after the 2008 financial crisis, Buffett said, was like “shooting fish in a barrel".

  13. FTSE 100 closes higher

    FTSE 100 graph

    Britain's top share index closed up, recovering some of the previous session's losses as financials firmed and broadcaster ITV crept higher.

    The blue chip FTSE 100 ended 0.4% ahead at 7,365.26 points, while mid caps gained 0.5%

    Among financials, HSBC added 0.9% while Barclays and Standard Chartered rose 0.2% and 0.6% respectively.

    Precious metals miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo took a breather following strong gains on Tuesday when safe haven assets were in demand. Both fell about 0.1%.

    ITV's shares regained part of the previous session's losses, ending up 2.6%. ITV ended Tuesday with a loss of nearly 5%, caught up in a wider sell-off within the European media sector after German peer ProSiebenSat.1 slumped after cutting its outlook for TV advertising.

  14. FTSE 100 reshuffle

    Royal Mail and Provident Financial replaced in FTSE 100 by NMC Health and Berkeley Group

    Here's Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst Nicholas Hyett's take on the just-released FTSE demotions.

    “Royal Mail has lost its struggle to maintain a place in the FTSE 100. We’re not sure that’s something you can lay at CEO Moya Green’s door though, as the group continues to face tough market conditions.

    "Long term we think Royal Mail is better positioned than many operators to weather those headwinds, and the international business is proving surprisingly successful. But throw in a dose of uncertainty over the pension scheme and potential industrial action, and it’s easy to see why some of the shine has come off the shares.

    "Relegations for Carillion [from the FTSE 250] and Provident Financial will come as no surprise. Both have plummeted following eviscerating profits warnings, largely of management’s own making. Carillion fell foul of the outsourcers’ kryptonite - bidding too aggressively for contracts that ultimately proved loss making.

    "Meanwhile Provident managed to botch an organisational revamp to such an extent that a 137-year-old business, which was robustly profitable last year, is now facing losses of up to £120m.”

  15. Royal Mail and Provident exit the FTSE 100

    Stamps

    Royal Mail and Provident Financial have lost their places among the UK's blue chip companies. The firms will be replaced in the FTSE 100 by Berkeley Group and NMC Health.

    The demotions to the FTSE 250, based on share price performance, come amid tough market conditions for Royal Mail and a profit warning from Provident.

    Three companies lose their FTSE 250 position: Northgate, Petra Diamonds, and Carillion. They are replaced by Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund, Alfa Financial, and 888 Holdings.

  16. Vedanta appoints interim chief

    Vedanta smelter

    Mining company Vedanta Resources has named a former chief executive Kuldip Kaura to again lead the company on an interim basis as it looks for a new head to replace Tom Albanese, who is leaving on Thursday.

    Albanese had been asked to delay his departure by five months in March. Kaura was CEO of Vedanta from 2005 to 2008.

    The challenges of Vedanta's leadership include legal action in connection with pollution in Zambia, where it has faced repeated demonstrations by local villagers over the issue.

    Vedanta's share price has fallen about 4% this year, while other big miners have continued a rally that began last year as the commodity markets recovered from a deep sell-off.

    Vedanta executive chairman and Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal bought a 13% stake in global miner Anglo American in March but has denied he intends to bid for the company.

  17. Wall Street markets move ahead

    Wall Street shares are higher in late morning trading after data showed stronger-than-expected US economic growth. However, gains were limited by concerns about escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

    After opening flat, the three main markets are in positive territory, with financials leading the risers. Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are up about 1%. Bank of America is 1.6% ahead.

  18. Remembering Sir David Tang

    Sir David Tang being knighted
    Image caption: Sir David Tang was knighted in 2008

    Many tributes have been paid in the last few hours to Sir David Tang, the fashion entrepreneur and socialite, who has died 63.

    Among his many talents was writing, and he wrote a weekly column for the Financial Times.

    In an FT interview in 2010, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Sir David said: "I've always liked the Hilaire Belloc quote, 'When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read'."

  19. Shell boss says Storm Harvey a major event for oil industry

    people in dinghies

    The chief executive of Shell, Ben Van Beurden, has said Tropical Storm Harvey is one of the biggest storms the oil firm has ever faced.

    He told the BBC's Simon Jack the storm was a "major event" for the industry and Shell's staff in Houston, Texas.

    The storm, which earlier achieved hurricane status, has ripped through the US energy industry around Houston.

    Shell, which has its US base in the city, was forced to re-house some of its staff and shut two plants.

    Mr Van Beurden said the storm ranks "right at the top" in terms of major disruption to the company.

    Read more here.