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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

  1. Amazon mulls UK insurance comparison site - report

    Amazon sign

    Reuters is reporting that Amazon is considering setting up a UK insurance comparison site.

    The news service reports that Amazon has been "sounding out" insurance companies to see if they would contribute products to a UK price comparison website.

    Reuters reports that thee three industry executives say they have held talks with Amazon about a possible launch of a site.

  2. Carlsberg cheers World Cup sales

    Two football fans with pints of beer

    Fans at the Russian World Cup sent Carlsberg sales 10% higher between April and June.

    And the Danish brewer has raised its full-year profit outlook.

    Carlsberg is the world's third largest brewer, behind Anheuser Busch InBev and Heineken.

    Russia is a big beer market, accounting for a fifth of Carlsberg's sales - but the country's weak economy, restrictions on advertising and tax hikes designed to curb drinking threaten the longer-term view.

    "We remain cautious on the Russian market," chief executive Cees 't Hart told investors on a call.

    Carlsberg's total sales in the three months to June hit $2.8bn (£2.2bn).

  3. UK stocks open higher

    The FTSE 100 opened up 0.28% at 7,518.70.

    The FTSE 250 gained 0.38% in early trade to 20,397.04.

  4. UK insurers must not become EU 'rule-takers'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Royal London chief executive Phil Loney says that one of the biggest uncertainties the insurance industry is facing is the shape of any Brexit deal.

    "I think the particular concern of the UK insurance industry is that we don't end up as rule-takers from Europe with no kind of say in the setting of those rules," he says:

    "The British insurance industry is, bluntly, far more dynamic and a much bigger world-player than any parts of the European insurance industry and it is important that we're able to influence the regulatory agenda and not end up taking rules from Europe."

  5. Lacklustre close for Asia stocks

    A man walks past a board in Tokyo showing stock movements

    Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 ended Thursday's session down 0.05% to close at 22,192.04 points, dragged down in part by telecommunication stocks.

    In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.72% in late afternoon trade while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.4%.

  6. Brexit 'raises uncertainties' for insurers

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Union Jack and EU flags

    Royal London, the life insurance and pensions provider, has reported a 9% rise in pre-tax profit to £358m for the six months to 30 June.

    Chief executive Phil Loney tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The business has been one of the fastest growing in the sector for a while."

    But he said that Brexit raises "some uncertainties".

    "Most insurance companies have been preparing for a hard Brexit for the last two years, so we've all been setting up subsidiaries in the EU, in our case in Ireland, and we've been moving customers around different domiciles to make sure we can continue to pay claims."

  7. Castorama weighs on Kingfisher

    Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury

    While Kingfisher's second quarter sales rose across most of its operations, Castorama in France continues to experience problems.

    Its like-for-like sales fell by 3.8% in the three months to 31 July, impacted by weaker footfall.

    Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury, says: "The performance of Castorama France has been more difficult and as a result we have put additional actions in place to support our full-year performance in France with the benefits expected to come through in the second half of the year."

  8. Turkey finance minister to hold talks with investors

    Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak

    Turkey remains in focus and its Finance Minister Berat Albayrak - the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - will speak to international investors later on today to provide some reassurance.

    The Turkish lira is currently trading at 5.9 against the US dollar.

  9. Sun shines on Kingfisher sales

    B&Q basket

    B&Q-owner Kingfisher has reported a 1.6% rise in like-for-like sales during the second quarter after the weather improved.

    The company said same store sales at B&Q in the UK and Ireland rose 3.6% during the three months to 31 July. Comparable trade at Screwfix, which sells to professionals, rose by 5.5%.

    Kingfisher chief executive Véronique Laury, says: "In the second quarter, I'm pleased that we grew our sales after the exceptionally harsh weather conditions in the first quarter."

  10. Bitcoin - bubble, burst, repeat?

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    A bitcoin coin

    It's not just conventional currencies that have been suffering in recent days. Spare a thought for their digital cousin, Bitcoin.

    This week the world's largest crypto asset briefly fell below $6,000 for the second time this year. The price is down almost 70% from its highs at the end of last year.

    Dr Garrick Hileman, head of research at Blockchain, tells the Today Programme that the volatility of cryptos is unprecedented.

    "We've probably seen, in Bitcoin's almost ten years of existence, six bubbles," he says. "We've really not seen anything quite like [it] to my knowledge."

    Why? "Part of it's just the pace at which the ecosystem is evolving," he adds.

  11. China to send senior delegation to US for trade talks

    US and China flags flying

    Beijing says it will send a senior delegation, led by vice commerce minister Wang Shouwen, to the US for trade talks towards the end of August.

    The decision has emerged amid an ongoing trade war between the world's first and second largest economies and the talks will be the first since negotiations came to a standstill about two months ago.

    Beijing said on Thursday that the US extended the invitation for Mr Wang's delegation to meet with a US group, which will be led by US Treasury undersecretary, David Malpass.

  12. Enthusiastic people apply here

    BBC Radio 5 live

    IBM

    For IBM, eagerness is a key attribute for their young new joiners who are awaiting their A-level results today.

    Jenny Taylor, who manages the graduate, student and apprenticeship programmes at IBM, tells Wake Up to Money: "We're looking for enthusiasm. Driven, innovative individuals with a passion to work for us.

    "We're not looking for any specific skills. We realise that early professionals don't really have a lot of work experience but we are looking for certain attributes."

  13. Want companies want

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Sign showing career options

    Thousands of students are eagerly awaiting A-level results today.

    No doubt they're feeling a bit sick and very nervous, so Wake Up to Money decided to ask a few employers how important A-levels are for finding a future job.

    Andrea Pattico, chief people officer at business advisory firm MVF, says: "We want a broad mix of people with broad experiences because we want to make sure we have a really diverse business.

    "We're looking at the experience that person has had rather than the university they attended."

    Wilbury Stratton founder Dan Chester says his firm only recruits graduates.

    He says: "The three key things we look for when we interview graduates are first and foremost confidence, secondly we're always very interested in people with good research capability and skills and finally we're always very keen on people who are very collaborative, who understand to how to work well as part of a team."

  14. Turkey, take a hike

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Turkish flag and mosque

    The Turkish lira has staged a slight recovery but is still down about 40% against the US dollar this year.

    Simon Derrick, chief markets strategist at Bank of New York Mellon, thinks there are two issues at play: The tit-for-tat tariffs brought by the US, but also a central bank "refusing to hike rates."

    Can they get away with not raising rates? No is "the simple answer," he says.

  15. Profits plunge at bingo-owner Rank Group

    Mecca bingo hall

    Rank Group, the UK bingo and casino operator, has reported a 40% fall in full-year profits.

    The company issued a profit warning in April, blaming bad weather which it said had reduced visits to its Mecca bingo halls as well as a “negative contribution” from high rollers at its Grosvenor Casinos.

    The company, which is owned by Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group, also said that its annual revenue fell by 2.2% to £691m.

  16. Turkish economy is 'strong and resilient'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Turkish lira

    Despite the problems in Turkey, Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chambers of Commerce in the country says: "I would say the Turkish economy is still pretty strong and resilient.

    "As far as UK exporters and investors are concerned we're now waiting to see what the government is going to do to stabilise the economy, then reduce inflation and hopefully get the Turkish lira back to what would be a fair value."

    He tells Wake Up to Money: "It is a question of taking a deep breath at the moment. We're still seeing interest from the UK. We've got several projects at the moment and interestingly in 2017 we saw growth in terms of exports to Turkey in excess of 20%."

  17. Tencent shares drop on profit fall

    Monster Hunter: World

    Shares in Chinese technology giant Tencent fell 3% on Thursday after it reported a surprise decline in profits due to slower growth in mobile gaming and a drop in PC games.

    The firm has been facing a tough time of late after the government put a stop to the sale of its latest game, Monster Hunter: World (pictured).

    On Wednesday, it said second quarter net profit fell 2% to 17.87bn yuan (£2bn).

  18. Turkey's problems 'started with the coup'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Turkish people commemorate the second anniversary of the attempted coup

    The Turkish lira is recovering against the dollar but is still down around 40% since the start of the year.

    Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chambers of Commerce in Turkey says that there has been "some concern" from British exporters who do business with Turkey.

    But he tells Radio 5 Live: "It didn't start with the recent devaluation. Following the coup two years ago, UK investors took a wait-and-see position for Turkey because we experienced a state of emergency that lasted almost two years."

    He says the devaluation of the Turkish lira "has not been a total surprise given some of the economic data that has been coming out of Turkey".

  19. Good morning!

    Welcome to Business Live.

    It is another big day for economics with retail sales data due to be released at 9.30am by the Office for National Statistics.

    Before that retailer Kingfisher will give a trading update.

    We'll be keeping an eye on currencies - in particular the weaker British pound, the stronger US dollar and the volatile Turkish lira.

    And Brexit talks will resume today in Brussels.

    As always, we'd love to hear from you. Email Business Live at bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk