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Live Reporting

By Dan Ascher

All times stated are UK

  1. British Gas owner to cut 700 jobs

    British Gas van

    Centrica, which owns British Gas, is planning to slash 700 management and back office jobs as it faces "growing challenges".

    The firm said staff had been told of the news, part of a previously-announced plan to cut the workforce by 4,000.

    "This difficult decision was made because we need to respond to the growing challenges we face," a spokesman said.

    "The energy market is going through continued rapid change, competition is fierce, our energy customers are leaving us and we're operating under a price cap."

    But unions described the job losses as a "terrible blow" for the workforce.

  2. Adidas loses 'three stripe' trademark row

    Adidas shoes

    Adidas has lost a legal fight to trademark its famous three-stripe brand in the EU.

    The sportswear maker argued that European countries should protect its exclusive right to use three equally-spaced parallel lines.

    Adidas had described its mark as consisting of "three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width, applied on the product in any direction".

    But the courts took a different view, finding the design was not distinctive enough to deserve protection. Shares in the sports brand dipped 2% on the news.

  3. UK manufacturing hit by Brexit

    BMW's mini factory in Oxford

    British factory orders have dropped off in June as quarterly manufacturing figures for the quarter look set to fall to their lowest level in three years, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

    Manufacturing has been hit by a sharp fall in car production for the last three months after a number of plants halted assembly lines in April, fearing a disorderly exit from the EU in March - before Brexit was postponed.

    "Brexit uncertainty is holding back growth in key industries," said Tom Crotty who chairs a CBI manufacturers' panel.

    "The first item in the new prime minister's in-tray must be to quickly resolve the Brexit deadlock."

  4. Saga shares sink after trading update

    Saga share price graph

    Shares in Saga, which exclusively targets the over-50s, fell by as much as 15% earlier today after the firm said political uncertainty around Brexit had sent tour bookings plummeting.

    Shares have recovered slightly to trade down around 12% at £0.33 a piece, which still makes it the worst performing stock on the FTSE 250 today.

  5. US markets open flat


    US stocks remained flat immediately after the opening bell rang on Wall Street as traders await an announcement on interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

    The central bank's chairman, Jerome Powell, is expected to leave the rate unchanged in an announcement later today, however traders are hoping he will pave the way for a rate decrease later this year.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 40 points at 26,505. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq was down 12 points at 7,944 and the S&P 500 added 3 points to hit 2,921.

  6. American Airlines to order 50 new Airbus jets

    Computer rendering of new Airbus A321

    American Airlines is set to order 50 of the newly-launched Airbus A321XLR jets, according to Reuters.

    The plane maker unveiled the new single-aisle plane, which is a long-haul upgrade to the A321neo, at the Paris Airshow on Monday.

    And it has already revealed a number of orders. British Airways owner, International Airlines Group, wants eight of the jets for its Iberia brand and another six for Aer Lingus, which it also owns. Quantas plans to buy ten of the planes, an order worth $1.3bn at the list price.

  7. Facebook urged to pause currency project

    Facebook wallet app

    A US lawmaker has said Facebook should delay the launch of its Libra crypto-currency - hours after the social network formally announced the project.

    Libra, set to be launched next year, will let people make payments via Facebook's apps and WhatsApp.

    But the company should wait until the US Congress has examined the project, according to the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

    Facebook said it looked forward to responding to policymakers' questions.

    Read more here.

  8. Czech payout from VW scandal


    A court says Czech owners of Skoda and Volkswagen cars qualify for 533m Czech crowns (£18.5m) in payback after VW's diesel emissions scandal, Czech website Seznam Zpravy reported.

    An appeal could be lodged against the suit, which was filed by 2,435 people, it reported.

  9. BoE demands Lloyd's harassment improvement


    The Bank of England says it wants to see progress from Lloyd's of London, the insurance market, when it comes to sexual harassment.

    A Bloomberg investiation earlier this year uncovered allegations of harassment and bullying among employees in the still male-dominated market.

    Anna Sweeney, director of insurance supervision at the bank, said in a speech: "No one should have to tolerate such actions or work in the kind of environment suggested by these allegations."

    "We and the FCA will be monitoring progress closely and talking to Lloyd's to see demonstrable progress," she said.

    The firm has set up measures to tackle the behaviour, it has said.

  10. Hargreaves Lansdown: Woodford breached agreement

    The letter from broker Hargreaves Lansdown boss Chris Hill to Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan also sheds some light on how many smaller, unquoted companies Woodford was investing in.

    These smaller firms are harder to sell when clients want their money back. Hargreaves told Woodford to keep the percentage of these investments low as a proportion of the fund.

    Mr Hill writes: "We insisted that they abide by the UCITS guidelines not to breach the 10% level and to inform us immediately if they did, to which they also agreed. We have subsequently, on 18th June 2019 in FCA Chair Andrew Bailey’s response to the Treasury Select Committee, found out that Woodford twice breached this limit in February and March 2018. They did not inform us of this on either occasion."

    UCITS stands for Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities and is used as shorthand for EU law.

  11. Hargreaves Lansdown: 'determined to learn lessons'

    Hargreaves Lansdown will review its "actions in relation" to the closed Woodford Equity Income Fund, it said in a letter to parliament.

    It made £41.1m in fees from 2014 to present from the fund, it said. In 2016, that was 3% of the broker's revenue, it said, although it fell to 1.6% for 2018.

  12. Pensions warning from the FCA

    two people looking at screens

    The Financial Conduct Authority is concerned that firms are recommending that large numbers of consumers transfer out of their defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, despite the regulator's view that transfers are likely to be unsuitable for most clients.

    Defined benefit schemes promise people a certain level of income when they retire, such as final salary pensions, and are often described as "gold-plated".

    Megan Butler, an FCA executive director, said: "We have said repeatedly that, when advising on DB transfers, advisers should start from the position that a transfer is not suitable. It is deeply concerning and disappointing to see that transfers are still being recommended at the levels we have seen.

    "Deciding whether to transfer out of a DB scheme is one of the most complex financial decision a consumer may have to make and it is vital customers get high quality advice".

    The FCA surveyed 3,015 firms and found that between April 2015 and September 2018

    • 2,426 firms had provided advice on transferring their DB pension
    • 234,951 scheme members had received advice on transferring
    • and of those 162,047 members had been recommended to transfer out and 72,904 had been recommended not to transfer
    • 1,454 firms had recommended 75% of more of their clients to transfer.

    The FCA said it had already started visiting some firms and would be writing to firms where the potential for harm had been identified.

  13. Gravy train

    Joe Miller

    Business reporter


    Remember the Eurotunnel no-deal Brexit ferries challenge, which Chris Grayling's Department for Transport settled for £33m? Well the cross-channel operator wasn't the only beneficiary. The government paid Slaughter and May £710,933 (exc VAT) in legal fees, an FOI response has revealed.

    The DfT also paid the Government Legal Department almost £144,000 and counsel (read: barristers and QCs) almost £84,000.

  14. Tesco Finest: No opening date

    Just in case you're salivating at the prospect of visiting one of Tesco's mooted upmarket convenience stores, chief executive Dave Lewis has now clarified that it's very much a concept at present. There is no date yet for any Tesco Finest pilot store openings, he has said.

  15. Weak inflation 'will leave rates unchanged'

    Weak inflation has taken the pressure off the Bank of England to raise rates, but "don’t expect cuts any time soon,” says Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK:

    “Despite the moderating pace of inflation, thanks partly to a late Easter, the Bank of England is unlikely to follow the change of heart of other major central banks. The [Monetary Policy Committee] is expected to keep its sights on the next, albeit delayed, interest rates rise, rather than contemplate an easing at this stage.

    ”Assuming no major Brexit-related disruptions or other external shocks, we expect CPI inflation to remain slightly below the MPC target of 2% over the medium term, leaving scope for the MPC to keep rates unchanged until late next year.”