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Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    BBC testcard

    That's it for today on Business Live - thanks for reading. We'll be back bright and early at 6am on Friday.

    Do join us then for all the latest news and views from the wonderful world of business

  2. Make a choice

    Adam Fleming

    Reporter, Daily Politics

    EU and Britsh flags

    Michel Barnier wants the UK to make a choice.

    If it wants to have frictionless trade with the EU's single market then it will have to join a customs union, or something like it, which will mean applying the EU's tariffs and reducing the scope for doing free trade deals with others.

    If it wants more freedom, it will have to agree arrangements with the EU that will reduce friction but not eliminate it altogether.

    It's an old tune that sounds different after the publication of the UK's White Paper, which was supposed to have solved this dilemma.

    It also sounds like the UK will propose a revamped version of its idea for avoiding a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland but the two sides are still divided on whether that should have a time-limit or not.

    Lost among all of this will be the nugget of good news: Big strides have been made on security co-operation after Brexit.

  3. Amazon's sales leap 39%

    Amazon box and staff member seen from behind

    Amazon saw a 39% jump in second quarter sales in the three months to 30 June.

    Its performance was boosted by a jump in online shopping and higher demand for its cloud services.

    The company said its net sales hit $52.89bn (£40.3bn) up from $37.96bn for the same time last year.

    Profits came in at $2.53bn up from $197m in 2017.

    Revenue from Amazon Web Services , the cloud services business, jumped 49% to $6.11bn.

  4. Wall Street mixed on close

    Wall Street trader

    Wall Street's key share indexes were mixed at the close of trade, as optimism about a potential trade deal between the US and the EU boosted the Dow, but Facebook dragged down the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day at 25,527.07, a arise of 13 points or 0.44%.

    The S&P 500 closed at 2,837.61, a fall of 8 points or 0.30%.

    And finally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 7,852.18, that's 80 points or 1% lower.

  5. US warns of supply chain cyber-attacks

    Globe illustration

    The US intelligence community has issued a new warning about cyber-espionage risks posed by attacks made via the technology supply chain.

    A report said China, Russia and Iran were the most capable and active states involved in such economic subterfuge.

    Software supply chain infiltration had already threatened critical infrastructure, it warned, and was poised to imperil other sectors.

    It added that sensitive data owned by US bodies had been put at risk.

  6. Edinburgh health tech firms raise millions from investors

    A doctor treating a patient wearing a medical health monitor

    Two Scottish health tech start-ups have raised millions of pounds from investors.

    Edinburgh-based Snap40 announced on Thursday it had secured $8m (£6.1m) in seed financing.

    The firm uses a predictive analytics software platform to identify, in real-time, those whose health is at risk of deteriorating.

    Earlier this week Edinburgh digital tech firm Care Sourcer reported it had raised £8.5m in a funding round.

  7. Papa John founder sues firm

    Papa John founder John Schnatter

    Papa John's founder John Schnatter is suing the pizza chain over the way he was forced to exit the company.

    Mr Schnatter stepped down as chairman after using the N-word in a conference call in May. His face is now being removed from all branding.

    He is now suing the firm demanding internal documents pertaining to how directors handled the decision to oust him from the firm.

    "The company's refusal to provide the requested documents to Mr. Schnatter demonstrates that the company, board and the special committee, instead of standing behind its founder and chairman, did just the opposite by failing to engage with the news media to explain what actually occurred," his attorney Patty Glaser told CNBC.

  8. L'Oreal sales boosted by Asia


    Cosmetics giant L'Oreal has reported higher profits for the first half of 2018, thanks to strong sales in Asia and from its luxury cosmetics unit.

    L'Oreal said that operating income rose 1.8% to €2.58bn, compared with the same period in the previous year.

    Revenue fell 0.2% compared with the same period in 2017, but climbed 6.6% like-for-like, while currency fluctuations cased a negative impact of -7.2%.

    "Across the geographic zones, the new markets accelerated once again, especially in Asia. North America is gradually improving, while Western Europe is affected by persistent difficulties in France, and by the slowdown in the United Kingdom," said L'Oreal's chairman and chief executive Jean-Paul Agon.

    "In a beauty market which remains dynamic and is becoming more premium, L’Oréal is continuing to achieve strong growth."

  9. The precious metal sparking a new gold rush

    An open pit mine in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, where cobalt and copper is extracted

    Gold once lured prospectors to the American west - but now it's cobalt that is sparking a rush.

    Cobalt mining has not happened at any sort of scale in the United States for decades.

    But a handful of mining companies are now staking claims at sites in Idaho, Montana and Alaska in search of the silvery blue mineral.

    They are striking examples of the growing interest in cobalt - a key component in the lithium-ion batteries that power electronic devices and electric cars.

  10. Brics back 'open world economy'

    Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Cyril Ramaphosa, Michel Temer and Vladimir Putin
    Image caption: From left to right: Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Cyril Ramaphosa, Michel Temer and Vladimir Putin

    The leaders of the Brics emerging economies have signed a declaration stressing the importance of an "open world economy", in which all countries benefit from globalisation.

    Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa also backed an "open and inclusive" multilateral trading system under World Trade Organization rules.

    But they said the multilateral trading system faced unprecedented challenges.

    Their comments come amid mounting trade tensions sparked by US tariffs.

  11. O2 opens up 5G testing

    Pepper the robot

    Mobile operator O2 has announced that it is opening up its 5G testbed for trials, and it has issued an invitation to all FTSE 100 companies to come and test various use cases.

    Network measurement technology firm Viavi Solutions says the move is a good one.

    "Following the recent 5G spectrum auction in the UK, operators want to claim a leadership position in the development of 5G. In order to do this, they must understand the impact of real-life conditions and scenarios on their network," said Viavi Solutions' 5G research and technology director Li-Ke Huang.

    “In the connected automotive industry, for example, operators need to ensure that a connected car is receiving and prioritising safety-critical communications. In the healthcare industry, 5G network reliability could be the difference between life and death.

    "By testing the performance and security of their entire networks against a variety of use cases – which should include millions of end-user devices – operators can be confident that their networks will perform in any commercial setting.”

  12. Bargain breaks?

    Jess Quayle

    Radio 4 You and Yours

    three people eating an ice cream

    The heatwave and football's World Cup have put a brake on last-minute flight bookings - but it could mean more bargains are available.

    Research shows year-on-year bookings down 4.6% in June and almost 13% down in the first couple of weeks of July.

    Travel agents were hoping for a sales surge after the World Cup, but with temperatures soaring it looks like people are staying at home.

    David Tarsh, a spokesman for travel data company Forward Keys, which analyses 17 million flight booking transactions every day, said the subdued demand "was not what the industry expected".

    He told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours it should mean that more deals are available but some hoteliers may be wary because they don’t want too much of a reputation for discounting “at the last minute".

    Simon Calder, Travel Editor of the Independent, said he’s seen some “amazingly low, late package deals” but that prices “are rising".

    But Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, says overseas holiday bookings are very healthy, and are up 6% year-on-year.

    “The good weather in the UK may have had a limited impact on late bookings, though the World Cup had a much more marked effect, as shown by the significant increase in business after England was knocked out.”

    He also says late deals are always available and holidaymakers need to “shop around".

    You can hear more on this story on You and Yours here.

  13. The EU's concerns

    Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier

    The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said during the European Commission press conference that the EU does have some concerns with the Brexit white paper.

    "There are other points on which we have a problem because they contradict, they clash with, the European Council guidelines," he said.

    "They contradict my clear negotiating guidelines. Indivisibility of the four freedoms, the integrity of the single market, these are key points. This is our main asset. We are not going to negotiate on that. The United Kingdom has know that from the outset."

    One of the issues the EU has concerns about is dual taxation.

    Mr Barnier and Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will next meet in mid-August, and then hold weekly meetings to clear away obstacles in the way of a deal by October.

  14. More about the proposed customs arrangement

    Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier

    During the press conference, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier discussed the UK government's proposed customs system, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement for goods and agri-foods, where it plans for the UK to collect some EU tariffs.

    But Mr Barnier said retaining control of the money, law and borders also applied to the EU's customs policy.

    "The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy and and rules and VAT and excises duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU's governance structures," he said.

    "Any customs arrangements or customs union ... must respect this principle. A customs union, which would help to reduce friction at the border, would come with our common commercial policy for goods."

  15. 'No deal until we do the whole deal'

    Dominic Raab and Michel Barnier

    During the Brexit talks press conference at the European Commission just now, British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was asked what is happening with the £39bn "divorce bill" that the UK is meant to be paying as part of its withdrawal from the EU.

    Mr Raab replied: "We have been clear, as the EU is, that there is no deal until we do the whole deal.

    "The various different aspects - the Withdrawal Agreement, the protocol (on the Irish border) and the political declaration (on future relations) - come as a package as a whole.

    "We had a good and constructive conversation today about how we make sure in practice that there is that link between those two key areas, the Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration on the future framework."

    However, Mr Barnier indicated that the amount of the financial settlement made by British PM Theresa May in December is regarded by the EU as being "agreed for good".

  16. London shares end flat

    London Stock Exchange

    London shares have ended flat, as investor positivity on a possible trade deal between the EU and the US was dampened by losses in oil stocks.

    The FTSE 100 closed just 5 points or 0.06% ahead to 7,663.17, led by British American Tobacco, which rose 5.1% to £41.77 due to better-than-expected sales and profits, and an announcement it is launching heated tobacco in the US.

    The FTSE 250 nudged 15 points or 0.07% higher to 20,768.61. Top of the winners is engineered ceramics firm Vesuvius, which climbed 6.7% to 621p after reporting record results for the first half of 2018 and raising its forward guidance for the rest of the year.

  17. BreakingThe UK's customs proposal

    British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab

    British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is now speaking at the same European Commission press conference.

    He says the UK's customs proposal respects the integrity of the EU, and it includes:

    • a free trade area for goods that "avoids checks on either sides of the border"
    • protection of integrated supply chains
    • a "common rule book" for the free trade area
    • new arrangements for financial services
    • mobility and travel arrangements for UK and EU citizens

    "With pragmatism on both sides, I feel confident we can find a way to work it out for both sides," said Mr Raab.

  18. BreakingBarnier speaks about Brexit talks

    EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier

    EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is giving a press conference following a new round of talks on Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in March.

    He said that both the EU and the UK want an "ambitious free trade deal".

    However, he said that many issues still needed to be worked out. On the plus side, Mr Barnier said that the UK's proposals on security "mark a real step forward".

    "We share a clear understanding and core principles that will underline our future economic relationship," he added.

    "Both will preserve their regulatory autonomy. The UK wants control of its money, law and borders. We respect that, but the EU also wants to keep control of its money, law and borders, and the UK should respect that."