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Live Reporting

Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight


    Thanks for visiting the Business Live page.

    We'll be back on Monday morning from 06:00.

    And, assuming you are not working, enjoy your weekend.

  2. US shares close a touch lower

    US shares pretty much finished where they start the day.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched lower to close at 25,058.

    The S&P 500 also finished a touch lower at 2,801.

    Matching those falls, the Nasdaq edged down to close at 7,820.

  3. Fitbit caught in the trade crossfire

    Fitbit boxes

    Makers of fitness trackers, including the Apple watch, could be hit by the latest round of US tariffs on Chinese goods.

    Smart speakers might also be hit.

    US officials have identified those devices as targets of the next round of tariffs, which is undergoing public consultation and could hit in the autumn.

    Shares in Fitbit tumbled almost 7% on Friday in response.

    However phones and laptops have escaped the trade war so far.

  4. Aston Villa signs up two billionaires

    Former England captain John Terry (right) left the club after their play-off final defeat, with Jack Grealish (left) expected to follow him

    Billionaire businessmen Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris will inject "significant investment" into Aston Villa, the Championship club has announced.

    Egyptian Sawiris is estimated to be worth $6.8bn (£5.2bn), while American financier Edens co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise.

    The club needs fresh finance after missing out on a return to the top flight that would have been worth in excess of £160m.

    Former England captain John Terry (pictured right) was the first player to leave the club following their loss at Wembley, while midfielder Jack Grealish (pictured left) is expected to depart.

    Bloomberg reports that Mr Sawiris and Mr Edens will take a 55% stake in the club for £30m.

  5. Who wins in the US/China trade war?

    President Donald Trump

    The US finances its huge budget deficit, in part, by selling government bonds (debt) to overseas investors, with China being one of the biggest buyers.

    So you would think that the trade spat between China and the US might upset that important relationship and perhaps even drive up the cost of borrowing for the US.

    So far that has not happened. The yield on US government debt is still below 3%. Why is the market so relaxed?

    Respected economist Ed Yardeni argues that the financial markets are indicating that China might well give the US some trade concessions, because China's economic growth could be damaged the trade battle.

    It's an interesting argument and you can read more here.

  6. Krispy Kreme to buy Insomnia Cookies

    Krispy Kreme logo

    Krispy Kreme is to acquire a majority stake in Insomnia Cookies. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

    Mike Tattersfield, boss of Krispy Kreme, said: "While our companies will continue to operate independently, these two great brands can learn a great deal from each other as we each continue to expand and grow.”

  7. Brexit: What would a 'no deal' look like?

    Deal...or no deal graphic

    "No deal" can be a confusing term in the Brexit debate because there are, in fact, several potential deals waiting to be done.

    The main ones are:

    • a withdrawal agreement - which needs to be finalised and ratified before the UK leaves the EU
    • an agreement on what the future UK-EU relationship will look like

    Negotiations on the future relationship, which was the focus of the recentBrexit White Paper, look set to continue long after Brexit has taken place.

    But when people talk about preparing for no deal at the moment, they mean the prospect of failing to reach agreement on the terms of departure, which are being negotiated underArticle 50 of the Lisbon treaty.

    Read more here.

  8. GE shares slump after trading update

    GE hardhats

    Shares in General Electric have fallen almost 5%.

    The US engineering giant reported second quarter results, which have not pleased investors.

    Profits fell almost 30% to $615m in the quarter.

    The problems were in its power generation division where sales and new orders fell.

    "We're going to continue to have to take additional costs out," GE chief executive John Flannery warned.

  9. 'Bizarre and broken' tech reporting

    Computer user

    If you are interested in technology and technology reporting then this might interest you.

    James Ball argues in the Columbia Journalism Review that "we need a new model for tech journalism".

    "While there are now more serious technology correspondents than ever before, the model of tech journalism is still bizarre and broken," the piece says.

    "Time and again tech reporting gets caught in the hype rather than reality; a super-fast but impractical rail alternative proposed by Elon Musk gets tons of coverage, but it’s difficult to get real rail projects funded," it goes on.

  10. Microsoft shares hit record

    Microsoft logo

    Shares in Microsoft are the biggest winners on the Dow Jones Industrial Average so far today.

    At one stage shares hit an all-time high, but fell back to trade 2.2% higher.

    Investors were happy about the latest results from the software giant, which showed strong growth at its cloud computing division, called Azure.

    Shares in Microsoft have almost doubled in value since Satya Nadella took over as chief executive in 2014.

    "Our early investments in the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are paying off, and we will continue to expand our reach in large and growing markets with differentiated innovation," Mr Nadella told analysts on Thursday.

  11. Tourism boom for Scotland

    The banks of Loch Ness

    Visitor numbers to Scotland were up by 17% during last year while spending rose by almost a quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

    The weakened pound since the Brexit vote in 2016 helped boost numbers, particularly for holidays.

    Overseas vacationers in Scotland increased by 27%, and their spending rose nearly a fifth.

    Business travel also rose, with spending by those from other parts of the European Union more than doubling.

    Read more here.

  12. Barnier questions May's Brexit White Paper

    Michel Barnier

    Michel Barnier has said Theresa May's plan for a future trade relationship with the EU could weaken the single market and create burdens for business.

    The EU Brexit negotiator said the White Paper opened "the way to a constructive discussion" but must be "workable".

    He questioned whether UK plans for a common rulebook for goods and agri-foods were practical.

    Earlier, Theresa May urged the EU to "evolve" its position on Brexit and not fall back on unworkable proposals.

    Read more here.

  13. London market closes slightly down

    FTSE close 20 July

    The FTSE 100 index of blue chip shares has ended the day very slightly behind.

    At close in London it was down 5.18 points, or 0.07%, at 7678.79.

  14. Holidaymakers hit as pound falls

    Britons heading abroad at the start of the summer are being hit by the poorest exchange rates for almost nine months.

    On Friday, the Moneycorp bureau at Stansted airport was offering just €0.89 for each pound on Friday, one of the lowest rates ever seen.

    Holidaymakers heading to the US were getting just one dollar for each pound.

    Both are far below the wholesale rate at which banks are buying and selling the currencies between each other.

  15. More news about Ryanair strikes

    Ryanair aircraft

    Ryanair is to cancel 16 flights to and from the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, affecting 2,500 passengers, because of a strike by pilots.

    The action, by Ireland-based pilots. has already led to two 24-hour strikes, with 4,000 passengers being affected by flight cancellations on Friday.

    The pilots' union said that talks on Wednesday between the two sides did not lead to any "material change".

    The union is in dispute with Ryanair over pay and conditions.

  16. India lynchings: WhatsApp sets new rules after mob killings

    Many Indians are first exposed to the internet through low-cost smartphones
    Image caption: Many Indians are first exposed to the internet through low-cost smartphones

    WhatsApp has said it will limit how many times messages can be forwarded in India to curb the spread of false information on its platform.

    The announcement comes after a spate of mob lynchings were linked to messages that circulated on WhatsApp groups.

    The government on Thursday reissued a warning to the company that it could face legal consequences if it remained a "mute spectator".

    With more than 200 million users, India is WhatsApp's biggest market.

    Read more here.

  17. Is killing the boom the key to supersonic air travel?

    The Concorde

    There have been proposals to return to faster-than-sound commercial flight ever since Concorde retired 15 years ago. But now those plans look closer to being realised.

    Three US aerospace firms - Boom Supersonic, Aerion Supersonic and Spike Aerospace - are racing to be the first to slash travel times across the globe, with passenger jets that can travel faster than Mach 1 - the speed of sound (761mph or 1,225km/h at sea level).

    All plan to have their aircraft in regular service by 2025.

    Technologically, supersonic flight is not complex to achieve. The challenge is offering a service that passengers can afford, is less polluting, and crucially, that eliminate's Concorde's window-rattling sonic booms.

  18. Wall Street mixed in early trade

    US shares were mixed in early trading as strong earnings from Microsoft and other companies jostled with pronouncements from President Donald Trump for influence over the market.

    Not long after open the Dow Jones was down 0.02%, or 5.5 points, at 25059.02.

    The broader S&P was up 0.02%, or 0.65 points, at 2805.14, and the tech-based Nasdaq was up 0.27%, or 21 points, at 7846.40.

    Microsoft jumped 3.2% after reporting a 10% rise in quarterly profit to $8.8bn.