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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. US markets open higher
  3. Surprise upturn in UK retail sales
  4. Italy bridge firm shares fall

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan and Laura Heighton-Ginns

All times stated are UK

G'night

We're closing the live page a little early, so that's it for now. We'll be back tomorrow at 6.00 am sharp. See you then.

FTSE edges higher to the close

Graphs
Thinkstock

The FTSE 100 index ended up a fraction - 0.8% up at 7,556.38. The upward momentum came largely from the mining stocks, which were encouraged by news of new talks between China and the US on the trade "war".

Shares in Antofagasta, Glencore, Fresnillo , Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton all rose between 0.9 and 2.5%

The pound was stronger - but it was too weak a recovery to be convincing. Retail sales numbers came in better than had been expected, which encouraged sterling to raise its head from its sick bed, wavering above $1.27, but looking as though it might fall back at any moment.

But such weakness only inspires dollar earning stocks: the miners I have mentioned, but BP and Royal Dutch Shell also added points to the index, rising 0.6% and 1% respectively. The big loser was of the day was the retailer Kingfisher. The shares were down 4.8% as its poorperformance in France upset its investors

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Brazil's Soybean "disaster"

Soya bean harvest
Getty
Not a weed in sight - the soybean harvest underway in Brazil

With all the noise around Monsanto losing its court case over its glyphosphate weed killer - known more familiarly as Roundup, a decision by a Brazilian judge to suspend the use of the stuff seems to have been scarcely noticed. The decision by the federal judge in Brasilia has sent shock waves through the soybean farmers of the country who seem to sprinkle the stuff on their crops like the average child puts sugar on their cereal. Indeed Monsanto sells not just Roundup but a Roundup resistant soybean which thrives as the glyphosphate kills the weeds around it. Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi has said a full ban would be a "disaster" for the country's agriculture. Monsanto, understandably thinks the judge is "wrong" and there's an appeal going ahead against the decision. But soy bean isn't just any old crop in Brazil. The country is the world's biggest exporter of the bean. And with China putting tariffs on American soybeans, Brazil is hoping to cash in. Or at least it had been.

Tesla production "on track" despite troubles

Some comforting words for Tesla after the traumas of the last few days. To recap: Elon Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private at a cost of tens of billions of dollars for which financing had been "secured". This caused much confusion among investors. The Saudis were said to be involved. The Tesla board said nothing formal had been said. The New York Times said the Securities and Exchange Commission has served Tesla with a subpoena. So the words of the analyst George Galliers of Evercore ISI are particularly welcome for Mr Musk. Mr Galliers toured the Tesla factory and said the much heralded Model 3 is on track, production should hit 5-6,00 units a week and all the bits and bobs needed to produce 7-8,000 a week "seem well within reach".

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Tesla car
Getty

Motorola accused of 'shameless' copying

A Motorola P30 and iPhone X
BBC
Spot the difference: the P30 and iPhone X

Smartphone brand Motorola has been criticised for revealing a "shameless" copy of the iPhone X as its new model.

Many phone-makers have copied the look of the iPhone X, which has a smaller bezel around the screen and a "notch" at the top that houses a camera.

However, reviewers said the new Motorola P30 was a "brazen" and "egregious" rip-off of Apple's flagship device.

News site Mashable said Motorola "even went so far as to adorn the screen with a wallpaper that's a dead ringer for Apple's default wallpaper".

Lenovo, which owns the Motorola brand, has not yet responded to the criticism.

Debenhams confirms job losses

Debenhams store
Gett

More details are emerging of Debenhams' retreat from empire: it has just confirmed 80-90 jobs will go at its headquarters, less than half the number some newspapers had been suggesting. This is what the retailer said about what it's doing: "We announced our intention to restructure our organisation around three business units: Beauty & Beauty Services, Fashion & Home and Food & Events earlier this year. Our work to create a simplified and consistent structure across these units, reducing complexity and driving efficiency in order to deliver our Debenhams Redesigned strategy, is continuing."

JCPenney hits historic low

JCPenney shop front
Getty Images

JCPenney has just lost a quarter of its market value on the New York Stock Exchange.

The department store, which is currently without a chief executive, posted results earlier today that disappointed investors.

The shares have hit a historic low in today's trading session.

JCPenney is one of a number of traditional department stores losing ground to online and discount retailers.

This too shall pass, says Turkey

Turkish finance minister Berat Albayrak
Getty Images
Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak

International investors have had a bracing talk on the phone from Turkey's finance minister Berat Albayrak (who also happens to be President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law).

Turkey, he told them in a tele-conference, would emerge 'stronger' from its currency crisis.

The lira plunged last week after US President Donald Trump doubled tariffs on its aluminium and steel.

Mr Albayrak went on to insist the economy’s fundamentals remained strong - and he isn’t planning to turn to the International Monetary Fund.

Walmart drives Dow higher

The Dow Jones has jumped at the start of trading in New York.

It's 274 points higher, a rise of 1.09%.

Walmart is a big gainer, up around 9.21%, after posting its best sales figures in over a decade.

Tourists return to Turkey

Turkey holidaymakers
Getty Images

There's at least one upside to the Turkish lira's decline - the attractive exchange rate for tourists.

One holiday comparison website is reporting a 19% increase in searches for trips to Turkey over the last week.

Emma Coulthurst from TravelSupermarket says holidaymakers are looking to "capitalise on the plunge in the lira".

"Turkish resorts were already some of the cheapest places for families," she adds. "[Now] British pounds will go even further.”

Banks still untrustworthy, say Brits

Canary Wharf
Getty Images

Ten years on, we haven't forgotten.

According to a new survey, a majority of Brits don't trust banks, nor think they've faced severe enough penalties for the 2008 financial crisis.

It showed 66% of adults in the UK do not believe banks to work in the best interests of society.

The findings are from a poll of 2,250 adults by YouGov.

Next month will see the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

'No such thing as a no-deal'

Iain Duncan Smith MP
Getty Images

Vote Leave supporter and former conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith has claimed there is "no such thing as a no-deal" in a televised interview.

Speaking on Bloomberg TV, he said that regardless of how Brexit talks go, "there will be an arrangement."

He went on to refer to the so-called Chequers plan touted by Prime Minister Theresa May as "neither fish nor fowl."

Mr Duncan Smith serves as an MP for Chingford and Woodford Green.

EU reacts to Genoa bridge accusations

Genoa bridge collapse
Getty Images

The EU has reacted to claims that its spending rules were to blame for the Genoa bridge collapse.

A spokesperson for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has pointed out that €2.5bn in development funds were granted to Italy under its long term budget running from 2014-2020 - with a further €8.5bn approved in April.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, has claimed “external constraints” on spending on “safe roads and schools” inadvertently led to the disaster.

The Genoa bridge collapse has killed at least 39 people with up to 20 still missing.

Trump relaxes US cyber-attacks rules

Cyber
Getty Images

President Trump has signed an order relaxing rules around the use of cyber-weapons,the Wall Street Journal reports.

It is a reversal of guidelines, drawn up under President Obama, which required a large number of federal agencies to be involved in any decision to launch a cyber-attack.

Specific details of what the new rules will be are classified information.

One official said the US was taking "an offensive step forward".

Read more here.

Newspaper circulation falls

BuzzFeed UK media and politics reporter Mark Di Stefano tweets:

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed

JC Penney misses forecasts

JC Penney
Reuters

While Walmart's sales jumped, US retailer JC Penney reported second quarter like-for-like revenues up 0.3% - below expectations of a 1% rise.

The US department store chain also said that losses widened to $101m (£79.5m) from $48m.

Brexit could have 'damaging' effect on football clubs

BBC Sport

Brexit could be "damaging" to English football, the chairman of Stoke City has claimed.

Peter Coates says the Premier League could be hit by freedom-of-movement restrictions.

Peter Coates
Getty Images

Responding to questions in Parliament on Wednesday, Sport Minister Tracey Crouch said the government "absolutely recognises the value of sport to the UK" and "is determined to ensure that our sport sector continues to flourish".

Currently, players from the EU are allowed to play professional football in England as part of freedom-of-movement rules, while those from outside the EU need work permits.

Depending on the Brexit deal, the Premier League, one of our country's success stories, could be damaged by freedom-of-movement restrictions. This could also affect the Championship. If this goes badly, it will be places like Stoke that suffer the most."

Peter CoatesStoke City chairman

BreakingAsda like-for-like sales rise 0.4%

Asda
Reuters

Asda, the Walmart-owned supermarket group in merger talks with Sainsbury's, has reported a 0.4% rise in like-for-like sales in the second quarter.

Total sales rise by 2.4%.

Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart, said: "In the UK, comp sales were positive for the fifth consecutive quarter.

"We're focused on improving the experience in our stores and providing great value for customers through lower prices, especially within our private brand offerings."

Walmart lifts full-year guidance

Walmart
Reuters

Walmart, which owns UK supermarket chain Asda, says that total sales in the second quarter rose 3.8% to $128bn.

It said that during the three months to 31 July, its US like-for-like sales enjoyed the strongest growth in more than ten years led by grocery, clothing and seasonal goods.

It also lifted its guidance for the full-year.

Behold, the Avozilla

Avocado on toast
Getty Images

Here's something to help millennials forget about student debt and the unreachable housing ladder - the 'avozilla'.

Yes, it's a giant avocado variety being grown in Australia.

Farmer David Groves produces the fruit - which is about five times the size of a standard avocado.

Mr Groves claims one avozilla is enough for - wait for it - twenty-three slices of toast.

Here he is proudly showing them off.

BreakingWalmart US like-for-like sales rise 4.5%

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has reported a 4.5% rise in like-for-like sales for the second quarter.

US-China talks calm markets

Stock market trader in US
Getty Images

Could it be a smoother trading day on the US markets? Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are pointing upwards.

Thu Lan Nguyen, currencies strategist at Commerzbank, says: "That China and the US are beginning to talk again is supporting the market.

"As the [Turkish] lira did not depreciate further, that has taken out some tension from the market."

Da ya think I'm thrifty?

Rod Stewart
Getty Images

Sir Rod Stewart is auctioning off some furniture in what he calls a "good old-fashioned clear out".

Items in the sale include a teak lounge armchair with leopard print upholstery.

A chair being auctioned off by Sir Rod Stewart
Sworders' Fine Art

Sir Rod, 73, who was knighted at Buckingham Palace in October 2016, is famous for such hits as Maggie May, Sailing and Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

The items are being auctioned by Sworders' Fine Art of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, in a sale which could raise up to £40,000 in September.

Kingfisher slides, FTSE rebounds

Kingfisher owns B&Q
Getty Images
Kingfisher's B&Q saw stronger sales during the hot weather

Industrial conglomerate Melrose is leading the FTSE 100 risers as trading heads towards midday, up 2.3% at 218.05p.

Russian steelmaker Evraz led the blue chip fallers, down 4% at 469.6p, closely followed by Kingfisher whose shares dropped 2.9% to 279.8p despite reporting a turnaround in second quarter sales.

The FTSE 100 is up 0.67% at 7,548.15.

The FTSE 250 is ahead 0.86% at 20,494.43.

Deutsche Bahn drops Iran projects

Deutsche Bahn train
Getty Images

German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn is phasing out projects in Iran after the US reinstated sanctions against the Middle East country.

The US has said that companies must stop doing business with Iran if they want to keep trading with the US.

President Donald Trump tweeted: "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States."

Mr Trump reinstated sanctions after pulling out of the Iranian nuclear agreement earlier this year, ignoring pleas from the other world powers.

Toll road operators shares slide

The Morandi bridge collapsed during torrential rain, killing 39 people
AFP
The Morandi bridge collapsed during torrential rain, killing 39 people

Shares in Atlantia, the company that owns the operator of the collapsed toll bridge in Genoa, are now trading down 11% following sharp falls earlier.

Other toll road operators also saw their stock fall after Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the government would have to take over operating the country's motorways if the companies that hold the contract could not do the job properly.

SIAS's share price fell 8.52% while ASTM's stock lost 6.8%.

Mr Di Maio said: "It's not possible that someone pays a toll to die. Those who were supposed to do the maintenance work did not do it properly. That bridge should have been closed before this tragedy happened."

"The profits that these companies make as monopolies anger many people ... a lot of money should have been invested in security, but instead it went towards dividends."

Turkish lira continues ascent

Istanbul street
Getty

The Turkish lira is continuing to claw its way higher and is currently trading at $5.79.

Over three days, the currency has pulled back about 17.5% of its losses against the US dollar.

Berat Albayrak, finance minister and son-in-law of the president, is due to speak to investors in a call this afternoon.

'Consumers to the rescue'

"Once again it looks like UK consumers may be riding to the rescue of the Brexit economy... It is possible that the July increase in sales was due to online discounting and hotter than expected weather. Non-food sales recovered 0.7%, after a 1% fall in June, so we are hardly looking at a boom in consumer spending... However, the temptation to discount good data due to temporary effects must be taken with a pinch of salt, and this was certainly a good report that bodes well for Q3 growth as a whole."

Ranko BerichHead of market analysis at Monex Europe

Stormzy releases a scholarship fund

Rapper Stormzy
Getty Images

Rapper Stormzy will help fund two black British students to go to the University of Cambridge.

The Stormzy Scholarship will pay for tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant for up to four years of an undergraduate course.

"It's so important for black students, especially, to be aware that it can 100% be an option to attend a university of this calibre," he said.

The rapper will fund two students this year and two in 2019.

Retail sales data is 'solid'

Looking at the bigger picture a year-on-year increase of 3.5% compared to 2.9% forecast is no doubt pleasing and while there may have been some one-off factors which contributed to the improvement it is a solid data point nonetheless. After reaching its lowest level against the US dollar in over a year below $1.27 yesterday the pound clearly remains under pressure, but this release has caused a positive, albeit small, reaction which may hopefully lay the foundations for a more sustained recovery in sterling."

David Cheethamchief market analyst at XTB Ltd

Consumer spending growth may accelerate

Shopping online
Getty Images

Andrew Wishart, UK economist at Capital Economics, says that robust retail sales for July suggest "some recovery in consumer spending is in the pipeline".

He says: "Of course, retail sales only account for about a third of total household spending, so the strength of spending on the high street could be offset by households reducing their outlay elsewhere."

"Admittedly, still-weak real wage growth will weigh on consumer spending," he says. Nonetheless, the retail sales data provides reason to think that consumer spending growth could post a slightly improved performance in the third quarter."

Watchdog to investigate celebrity endorsements

Kim Kardashian
Reuters
Kim Kardashian has made a lot of money from product endorsements. There is no suggestion she has failed to disclose payment for an endorsement

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into concerns that social media stars are not properly declaring when they have been paid or rewarded to endorse goods or services.

It says that online endorsements from celebrities and influencers can help brands target large audiences and boost sales.

It says: "Where influencers are paid or rewarded to promote, review or talk about a product in their social media feeds, consumer protection law requires that this must be made clear.

"If they do not label their posts properly, fans or followers may be led to believe that an endorsement represents the star’s own view, rather than a paid-for promotion."

Online retail sales offset high street gloom

Commenting on the increase in retail sales, Rhian Murphy, senior statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said: "Many consumers stayed away from some high street stores in July, but online sales were very strong, supported by several retailers launching promotions.

"Food sales remained robust as people continued to enjoy the World Cup and the sunshine.”

The pound edged up against the dollar to $1.2724.

BreakingRetail sales rise by 0.7%

Retail sales rose by 0.7% between June and July, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That compares to a 0.5% fall in June and is above forecasts for a 0.2% increase.

Over the year to July, retail sales rose by 3.5%.

The ONS also said that sales grew by 2.1% in the three months - the biggest expansion since February 2015.

Weedkilling chemical found in children's cereals

The Guardian

Cheerios
Getty Images

The weedkilling chemical glyphosate has been found in a number of breakfast cereals aimed at children, according to a range of oat-based products tested by the Environmental Working Group.

The Guardian reports that nearly three in four of the products exceeded what the EWG classes as safe for children to eat and that the products with some of the highest levels of glyphosate include granola, oats and snack bars made by the likes of Quaker, Kellogg’s and General Mills, which produces Cheerios.

Some comfort for A-level students?

The Spectator

View more on twitter

News magazine The Spectator is one of a growing number of businesses that doesn't solicit CVs - instead recruiting based on aptitude tests.

In the words of its editor Fraser Nelson; "We don’t care where, when or even whether you went to university."

Why your next flight may go via China

China Southern plane
Getty Images

Booking a flight from London to Sydney can paint a telling picture of the big change in global air travel in recent years.

It is the same if you are looking to fly from Bangkok to Los Angeles. Or from Singapore to New York.

In all three cases, the cheapest tickets these days are often offered by a Chinese airline.

Read the full story here.

McDonald's goes all posh

BBC business and & economics producer Katie Hile tweets:

Genoa bridge operator issues warning

Bridge collapse in Genoa
Getty Images

The parent company of Autostrade, the firm that operated the collapsed motorway bridge in Genoa, Italy, has warned its investors that a financial penalty may have an impact on shareholders and bondholders.

Shares in Atlantia tumbled by 21% in early trading.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that he will revoke Autostrade's licence to run the country's toll motorways after the Morandi Bridge gave way, resulting in the deaths of 39 people.

Atlantia said that if the contract is terminated early, it should receive a payment equal to the remaining value of the licence.

Atlantia counts the Benetton family as its largest shareholder, through it investment vehicle Sintonia.

Madge marks her 60th

Madonna
Getty Images

Happy 60th birthday to Madonna - the best-selling female recording artist of all time, according to the Guinness World Records.

Full name Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone, she has performed on 10 concert tours and flogged over 300 million records.

After some initial setbacks, she released 'Holiday' in 1983, which became a breakthrough hit.

In 2017, Forbes estimated Madonna's net worth at $580m, making her the richest female artist based in America.