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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Sterling drops against dollar and euro
  3. Netflix shares fall
  4. Mark Carney warns on Brexit
  5. Royal Mail says letter volumes fall

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Good night

Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back again tomorrow from 6am.

Wall Street closes higher on Fed chief's comments

Wall Street stocks closed higher after the Federal Reserve chief offered an optimistic appraisal of the US economy.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.6% to 7,855.12, a fresh record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to close at 25,121.83, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.4% to 2,810.07.

Earlier Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee the US was doing well, and that an era of stable growth may continue, provided the Fed gets its policy decisions right.

He also discounted risks from protectionist trade policies.

Oil and gas productivity increases

Oil platform
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Oil and gas production efficiency in the UK has increased for a fifth year in a row, according to an industry report.

The Oil and Gas Authority said an additional 12 million barrels of oil equivalent were produced.

Production efficiency on the UK Continental Shelf rose to 74% in 2017 - a 1% improvement from the year before.

The authority said it helped contribute an additional 32,000 barrels of oil equivalent every day.

Read more

Airbus forecasts $4.6trn aviation services market

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Airbus expects the worldwide market for aircraft services to be worth $4.6trn over the next twenty years.

About half of this expected revenue will come from "aircraft-focused lifecycle services" including "maintenance, spares pool access, tooling, technical training and system upgrades", Airbus says.

Microsoft trades at record high

Microsoft logo
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Microsoft shares have been trading near record highs ahead of the firm's latest quarterly results on Wednesday, with the stock up more than 20% this year.

The computer giant, once best known for its dominance of the PC market, has been moving into cloud computing, a move that has pleased investors. Its hardware shipments are also on the up.

The firm's shares currently have 31 buy ratings from analysts - up from 26 at the start of this year and the most since late 2010, Bloomberg reported.

They predict the firm's stock will rise 7.5% over the next 12 months.

Arsenal caught up in BYD fraud probe

Leicester City v Arsenal, May 2018
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Premier League Arsenal is helping a Chinese investigation after it was potentially caught up in a fraud around its sponsorship deal with carmaker BYD.

"We are investigating the situation and discussing it with senior level BYD representatives... involved in the launch of the partnership," it said.

A woman has been arrested by Shanghai police on suspicion of contract fraud and faking company seals, BYD said.

BYD is one of China's biggest carmakers and is a producer of electric vehicles.

Read the full story here

Universal eyes Nigeria

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Wizkid - one of Nigeria's biggest musical exports - also appeared in Dolce & Gabbana's Milan men's fashion week show last month.

Speaking of things musical, Universal Music Group plans to launch a new division in Nigeria as part of efforts by the world's largest music label to expand in Africa.

Nigerian music, like the Nollywood film industry, is popular across much of the continent with Nigerian artists popularising the Afrobeat sound, staging sellout tours and collaborating with international artists.

Universal sees considerable room for growth in the legal music industry in Nigeria considering it totalled just $39m in 2016, mostly from sales of mobile phone ringtones.

Sipho Dlamini of Universal Music said the Nigeria division will focus on developing artists and musicians from Ghana and Gambia as well as Nigeria.

The label also plans to open a recording studio in Lagos - its second in Africa alongside one in Johannesburg,

Sheeran tops concert takings

Ed Sheeran
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Music Business Worldwide reports that the world’s top 50 highest-grossing tours for the first half of this year raked in a record $2.21bn - 12% higher than the same period in 2017.

Ticket price also hit a new high of $96.31 according to figures from Pollstar- 14% higher than last year.

Almost 23 million tickets were sold across the top 50 tours, with Ed Sheeran (pictured) coming out top.

He took $213.9m gross from selling more than 2.6 million tickets at an average of $80.90 for 52 performances.

A question of confidence

Back on this side of the pond, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg and Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt offer some further observations about tonight's votes in the Commons.

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The war on InfoWars

Dave Lee

North America technology reporter

Monika Bickert
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The world's biggest tech companies have been in Washington to face questions from US Congress.

The latest session saw Facebook, Twitter and YouTube face questions from the House Judiciary Committee about how they filter content - and whether there is a political bias in those decisions.

At times it seemed like two separate hearings were happening at once. Republican members of Congress wanted to speak about what they claims is a silencing of conservative voices on social media.

Democrats, meanwhile, were more keen to press the firms, yet again, on how their platforms were allegedly abused by Russian interests.

The most uncomfortable moment for the companies came when they were asked about fake news.

Specifically, a site called InfoWars that has an audience on Facebook of more two million and regularly calls shooting survivors "crisis actors".

But Facebook's head of policy, Monika Bickert, said Infowars had not yet reached a threshold that warranted it being banned from the site - but she was unable to explain why.

The infamous four?

ITV political editor Robert Peston comments on the government's Commons victory tonight:

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Government loses medicines vote

Paul Rowley

BBC Political Correspondent

More on the Government's narrow victory in the Commons on a key part of its Brexit legislation.

Twelve pro-European Conservative MPs backed calls for the UK to stay in a "customs union" in the event of "no deal" with the European Union.

But the Government won by six votes, with four Labour MPs backing Theresa May. The 12 rebels were Heidi Allan, Guto Bebb, Ken Clarke, Jonathan Djanogly, Dominic Grieve, Stephen Hammond, Philip Lee, Nicky Morgan, Bob Neill, Antoinette Sandbach, Anna Soubry, and Sarah Wollaston.

The four Labour MPs who backed the Government were Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer.

However, the Government was defeated by four votes on another issue, with MPs agreeing to keep medicines flowing freely between the UK and the European Union.

It was only the Government's second defeat on Brexit in the Commons during the passage of various bills. Overall, the Trade Bill cleared its final stage, with a Government majority of 31.

Sterling rebounds

Financial Times news editor Peter Spiegel notes sterling's reaction to the Commons Brexit vote.

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BreakingGovernment wins key Brexit vote

Pound down, US stocks rise

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The pound is now down 0.93% against the dollar at $1.3112.

Sterling is also off, down 0.42% on the euro at €1.1256.

In the US, Netflix's shares are still trading lower, down 5.33%, after it reported lower than expected subscriber growth.

The wider Nasdaq, however, is up 56.97 or 0.73% at 7,862.69.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead 53.17 points at 25,117.

The S&P 500 is up 11.99 points at 2,810.42.

More Ryanair cancellations

Ryanair plane

A further 24 Ryanair flights on Friday have been cancelled due to ongoing disruption caused by pilots' strikes.

The cancellations between Ireland and the UK come on the second day of industrial action by pilots' union Forsa, with another day planned next Tuesday.

Thirty Ryanair flights were cancelled last Thursday, affecting some 5,000 passengers, after the airline's pilots based in Ireland staged their first strike over pay and conditions.

As it did last Thursday, Ryanair said it was cancelling high-frequency flights from Ireland to the UK as it was easier to move customers to other scheduled flights.

"We apologise again to these Irish customers for these regrettable and unnecessary disruptions which we have done our utmost to avoid," said the airline.

Death of a Poundworld

Steven Mulgrove

Across the UK, discount retailer Poundworld is holding closing-down sales.

For people Steven Mulgrove (pictured) - who used to work for the store in Blyth, Northumberland - and customers who relied on its low prices, it's more than just a high street brand that could be lost.

Click here to read Jon Kelly's feature from BBC Stories.

Is there a plumber in the House?

Speaking of matters Westminster and all that, we quite liked this tweet from Conor McGinn, the Labour MP for St Helens North.

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Morgan: 'Put party politics aside'

ITV political editor Robert Peston tweets:

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Former minister to rebel on Brexit votes

Susan Hulme

Parliamentary correspondent

Pro-EU Conservative MP Phillip Lee says he will rebel against the government in votes tonight after ministers gave in to hardline Brexiteers yesterday.

Dr Lee, who resigned from the government over Brexit, said yesterday was his "worst experience" in politics.

His fellow Conservative, Stephen Hammond, indicated a few minutes earlier that he would not accept a government concession - and suggested he would continue to push his move to preserve free and frictionless trade with the EU.

How Lloyd Blankfein changed Goldman Sachs

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Lloyd Blankfein

In the depths of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs, the world's most influential investment bank, was famously described by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine as the "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".

In person, however, the boss Lloyd Blankfein did not come across as vampire-squid-in-chief but as a cerebral and often humorous character whose interests in history, art and culture were well matched to his personal financial ability to indulge them.

But his legacy - like all bank chief executives at the helm when the ordure hit the fan in 2008 - is determined by the response to the financial crisis.

More from Simon here.

Asda jobs at risk

More bad news for those working in the retail sector today: Asda has proposed closing an online grocery distribution centre in Enfield, north London, putting 261 jobs at risk.

The supermarket, which is in the process of being taken over by Sainsbury's in a £7.3bn deal, plans to expand other London centres instead.

The GMB union said it was disappointed at Asda's proposal.

Powell to Congress: You fix it

Natalie Sherman

New York business reporter

Jerome Powell
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The head of the Federal Reserve has a message for Congress: if you're unhappy about the economy, do something about it.

Throughout Jay Powell's appearance before the Senate, he's heard concerns about protectionist tariffs and sluggish wage growth.

But those problems are in the power of Congress - not the Fed - to fix, he responded: "We don't do trade policy. That's Congress and the administration."

As for wage gains, Mr Powell urged Congress to invest in education and address the toll of the opioid crisis.

"Over the long term, we don't have the tools. You have the tools. Congress has the tools to ensure stronger wage growth over time," he said.

Goldman to take UK deposits

Goldman Sachs logo
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Goldman Sachs plans to start accepting UK deposits at its online consumer bank later this year.

Goldman started the bank, known as Marcus after founder Marcus Goldman, in 2016 and has made its expansion a focus.

The firm said the bank, which offers a higher interest rate in the US than many competitors, has more than 1.5 million customers and deposits of about $23bn.

No propeller required...

BBC World

BBC business producer Jonathan Josephs is also at the Farnborough air show and has this question:

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Powell: Tariffs 'would be bad'

Natalie Sherman

New York business reporter

Jerome Powell

Senators are pressing Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell to outline the risks of tariffs to the US economy.

For the most part, this seasoned DC operator isn't taking the bait.

"it's hard to say what the outcome will be really," he said during a semi-annual hearing before Congress. "There's no precedent for these kinds of broad trade discussions ... it's hard to know how that comes out."

If the disputes ultimately yield lower global tariffs, that will be good, Mr Powell added.

But tariffs imposed over a long period of time that "will be bad for our economy and for other economies too", he said.

Trade is the responsibility of Congress, not the Fed, Mr Powell added.

FTSE ends higher

The London market has ended the day 0.3% higher at 7,626 points.

Just Eat was the biggest riser, up 2.6%, while Paddy Power Betfair was the biggest faller, off 3.2%.

Those Poundworld store closures in full:

Poundworld store

The latest string of Poundworld store closures is set to affect 40 sites: Aberdeen, Ashton Under Lyne, Bangor, Belfast, Blackwood, Bury, Castleford, Chatham, Crystal Peaks, Doncaster, Dunfermline, East Kilbride, Edmonton, Guiseley, Hull, Irvine (Rivergate shopping centre), Irvine (Riverway retail park), Kettering BB, Middlesbrough, Newbury, Newcastle, Newport, Newtownards, Perth, Peterlee, Plymouth, Preston, Queensferry, Redcar, Robroyston, Rochdale, Rotherham Parkgate, Southend, Southport, St Helens, Sutton, Swindon, Tottenham, West Bromwich and Wigan.

Poundworld founder 'shocked and surprised'

Poundworld store

More on Poundworld, Deloitte has previously turned down a bid for the chain from its founder, Chris Edwards, who had hoped to save a raft of stores and save about 3,000 jobs.

Mr Edwards, who founded Poundworld in 1974, was critical of how his offer was received by Deloitte, and said he was "shocked and surprised" to be rejected.

The founder of rival Poundland, Steven Smith, has also been linked to a bid to salvage part of Poundworld out of administration.

Deloitte has also made 100 employees redundant at Poundworld's head office in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

The budget retail chain, formerly owned by TPG Capital, is one of a number of retailers to call in administrators this year, with both Toys R Us and Maplin disappearing from UK high streets.

Netflix regains some ground

Karamo Brown
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Karamo Brown is part of the cast of Netflix show Queer Eye

After shedding close to 14% at the open, shares in Netflix are now down 8.7% in New York.

Analysts at MoffettNathanson said Netflix's domination of streaming sector looked less certain than the other high-flying FAANG firms - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.

"The moat around Netflix's business model does not appear as deep as other models," they said. "We doubt that they can create and enjoy monopoly economics in content creation and internet distribution."

Netflix added 5.15 million customers between April through June, 1 million fewer than analysts had expected and down from 7.41 million in the first quarter.

"While subscriber weakness is obviously an issue, the company's inability to explain it satisfactorily could weigh on the stock over the coming quarter," Barclays analysts said.

BreakingMore Poundworld closures

Pounworld store

Administrators to Poundworld said they will close another 40 stores at the cost of 531 jobs.

The move follows a decision to close 25 stores announced on 10 July, with 242 redundancies, and another 80 outlets announced last Friday with just over 1,024 redundancies.

The retailer operated from 335 stores and employed about 5,100 people before going into administration.

Deloitte said: "Discussions continue between the administrators and interested parties for the potential sale of part, or parts, of the remaining business."

Juncker to meet Trump

Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will travel to the White House on 25 July 25 for talks with President Trump on trade tariffs.

"President Juncker and President Trump will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership," a European Commission statement said.

The two will also discuss foreign policy, counterterrorism and energy security.

Not such a big noise...

Theo Leggett

BBC business correspondent

A350 at Farnborough

The Farnborough Airshow is a huge event - but the actual air display bit seems rather underwhelming this week.

In previous years, the trade-day crowds have been awed by the performance of exotic jets such as the Eurofighter Typhoon or the Saab Gripen. In 2016, the debut of the F-35 Lightning II took the show by storm.

Civil aircraft don't always look quite as impressive, but over the past decade, you could at least count on a majestic performance from the giant but elegant Airbus A380.

Not this year. Today's programme includes brief flypasts from the F-35 and the Eurofighter, but no extended display. There's no Russian military presence here. There's no A380 either - Airbus is preferring to show off its new "mini-jumbo", the A350-1000 (pictured). Impressive in its own right, it still just doesn't have the awe-inspiring X-factor of the giant double-decker.

Does it matter? Probably not. After all, the trade days are about dealmaking, not plane-spotting. But I have seen a few disappointed faces among the international contingent.

Still, at least the line-up for the public days at the weekend is looking much better.

Fed set to keep raising rates

Jerome Powell

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said the US economy is on the cusp of "several years" where the job market remains strong and inflation stays around the Fed's 2% target.

In written testimony to be delivered to the Senate banking committee lon Tuesday, the Fed chair signalled not just that he believes the economy is doing well, but that an era of stable growth may continue provided the Fed gets its policy decisions right.

"With appropriate monetary policy, the job market will remain strong and inflation will stay near 2% over the next several years," Mr Powell said.

The Fed "believes that - for now - the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate" in a way that keeps pace with a strengthening economy but does not raise rates so high or so fast that it weakens growth, he added.

Sterling slips

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Sterling has fallen sharply on fears that Theresa May could lose a Commons vote on Brexit today.

The pound slumped a full cent from its earlier high, trading down 0.7% at $1.3145 - and also fell heavily against the euro at 88.96 pence - 0.5% lower.

"There are no good arguments for going long on sterling at the moment," said Morten Helt at Danske Bank.

"We believe the risk of parliament rejecting any deal put in front of them late in 2018, or early in 2019, is increasing, and this puts both the agreement on future relationships and the transition period after the end of March 2019 in serious jeopardy," UBS strategist John Wraith said.

Wall Street opens lower

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Wall Street has opened lower as Netflix's sharp drop weighed on other "consumer discretionary" firms and investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's Congressional testimony.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%, the S&P 500 was off 0.3% but the Nasdaq Composite fared worst, down 0.7% at the opening.

BreakingNetflix sinks

As the after-market trading implied, Netflix shares have opened more than 13% lower in New York at trading gets underway for the day across the pond.

Netflix still glowing

Kimmy Gatewood
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Kimmy Gatewood at the Glow Venice Beach takeover in Los Angeles last month

We are about to find about just how much will be wiped off the value of Netflix when Wall Street opens.

However, analysts aren't too worried about the company's long-term prospects despite yesterday's disappointing subscriber numbers.

"Netflix has faced hurdles before and this Q2 report won't be the last," writes PiperJaffray analyst Michael Olson.

"The long term potential is too great for us to suggest anything other than buying [the shares]."

He and others pointed to the World Cup as a possible distraction in the quarter that might have encouraged subscribers to hold off or freeze subscriptions for a month.

"Netflix is in a business that varies by quarter anyway and perhaps the company shouldn't have gotten too enamoured with the crazy success of the last two quarters, which was invigorating but not sustainable," Forrester analyst James McQuivey said.

Continuing conundrum

BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed has a pithy take on what today's job numbers indicate:

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Revolut money laundering fears

Paying by phone app
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Digital bank Revolut has reported suspected money laundering activities on its network to the Financial Conduct Authority and National Crime Agency.

The bank has not disclosed how much money was involved but a spokesman said the report filed with the authorities a spate of suspected money laundering a couple of months ago was routine.

Revolut has signed up 2.25 million users since its launch in July 2015.