The Business: Thursday July 4 2014

Company news, markets and financial talking points, available from 8am Monday to Friday

AMAZON DRAGGED INTO EU TAX PROBE

The Financial Times reports that Amazon is embroiled in a EU tax crackdown. European officials are demanding that Luxembourg hands over paperwork relating to Amazon’s tax affairs as the online retailer is drawn into a web that already has Starbucks, Apple and Fiat’s financial wing in its grips. “We are looking into what kind of arrangement Luxembourg has with Amazon,” said an EU official as the investigation continues.

DOW CLOSES AT 17,000+ RECORD HIGH

The Dow Jones has closed at above 17,000 for the first time ever, reports Sky News. Shares soared after a government report showed unemployment was at its lowest rate in six years. The American economy added 288,000 workers in June, far more than analysts expected. The Dow closed up 92 points at 17,068, while the S&P 500 also closed at a record level, hitting 1,985. The Nasdaq ended at its highest since 2000.

OSBORNE: ANTI-BUSINESS AGENDA HARMS JOBS

George Osborne claims there is an “anti-business agenda” on both sides of the political divide which is “destroying jobs”, reports The Times. As the chancellor committed to providing more support for small businesses and exporters, he said: “There are some who want to pull up the drawbridge and shut Britain off from the world. There are those who call for higher taxes on business, higher income taxes, more spending, more tribunals, more trade union power.”

FRANCE SPIRALS BACK TOWARDS RECESSION

Recession is looming again for France as the IMF warns of a negative spiral in the country’s economy. Services have contracted sharply and the country is bracing itself for a fresh round of austerity measures. Record levels of unemployment are also likely to continue for many years to come. The IMF has cut its growth forecast for France, warning that “volatile and uneven leading indicators point to the risk of a stalled recovery".

QUOTE OF THE DAY… HOUSE PRICES ‘BIGGEST RISK TO UK’

“It’s not the risk around house prices as such, it's the risk that we get a sustained rise in house prices - and this is very important – [the risk of] house prices rising faster than people’s incomes. That leads to the sustained increase, a big increase in the amount of debt in the economy, in the amount of debt that mortgage holders have.” The BOE deputy governor Jon Cunliffe on the “biggest risk” to the UK economy.

FORMER OWNER BIDS FOR PIZZA EXPRESS

A former owner of Pizza Express is considering a joint bid for the business, reports the Daily Telegraph. The private equity group Cinven has lowered its expectations for a £1bn price tag for the chain after the offers submitted by various bidders were closer to £850m. TDR Capital, which owned a stake in the chain between 2003 and 2007, is among those to table an offer. Chinese firms have also handed in bids for the chain, which opened a restaurant in Beijing last month.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0730 BST


FTSE-100: up +0.72 to 6865.21
Dow Jones: up +0.54 to 17068.26
Dax: up +1.19 to 10029.43
Cac-40: up +1.02 to 4489.88
Nikkei: up +0.52 to 15427.53
Hang Seng: up +0.12 to 23559.04
US dollar: buys €0.73530 and £0.58270
Sterling: buys $1.71650 and €1.26210
Oil: $111.07 down -0.2