The Business: Wednesday July 23 2014

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

US & EURO AIRLINES SUSPEND ISRAEL FLIGHTS

US and European airlines have suspended flights to Israel's main airport after a Hamas rocket landed one mile away. The US Federal Aviation Administration ordered three US carriers that fly to Israel - Delta, United and US Airways - to halt flights for 24 hours. Europe's aviation regulator is encouraging airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv. The development deals a considerable financial and symbolic blow to Israel.

MICROSOFT SOLD MORE PHONES THAN APPLE

Microsoft sold more phones than Apple during the past quarter, reports the Daily Telegraph. In its latest statement, the company said that it sold 5.8m Lumia smartphones and 30.3m non-Lumia phones, totalling 36.1m - higher than Apple's 35.2m iPhone sales. However, the victory is being seen as one achieved on a technicality, as the phones were made by Nokia, which sold its handset business to Microsoft for £4.6bn in April.

ROYAL MAIL SHARES FALL AFTER PARCELS STUMBLE

Royal Mail shares have fallen 3.4% as price changes and competition from rivals affect its parcels business. Shares closed at 450p, below the level they hit on the first day of trading as a public company. "The weakness in the parcels performance is a concern, and may prompt questions as to whether this is transient, or whether the change is structural," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

OSBORNE SET TO MISS DEFICIT REDUCTION TARGETS

George Osborne is likely to miss his deficit reduction targets this year after borrowing jumped in the first three months despite the economic rebound, raising the spectre of more austerity. Judging by present trends, the government will borrow nearly £10bn more in the current year than in 2013-14, rather than reduce the bill by £10bn, as forecast in March. Meanwhile, national debt has passed £1.3tn for the first time, hitting a record 77.3% of GDP.

QUOTE OF THE DAY… RBS ‘WILFULLY OBTUSE’ WITH MPS

“So it now appears that RBS has been wilfully obtuse with the committee. If this is how RBS deals with a parliamentary committee, how much can customers and regulators rely on it to be straightforward with them?” Treasury select committee chair Andrew Tyrie after RBS ‘clarified evidence’ it gave to MPs last month.

COCA-COLA QUARTER REPORT LACKS FIZZ

Coca-Cola released a disappointing report yesterday, despite posting a 2% increase in the amount of fizzy drinks sold in the second quarter on the back of its sponsorship of the World Cup. Profits and revenues at the soft drinks giant fell amid higher marketing and restructuring costs and increased commodity prices. Net revenues in the three months to June 27 fell by 1% to $12.57bn, with operating income down 2% to $3.17bn.

THE NUMBERS... AT 0715 BST


FTSE-100: up +0.99 to 6795.34
Dow Jones: up +0.36 to 17113.54
Dax: up +1.27 to 9734.33
Cac-40: up +1.50 to 4369.52
Nikkei: down -0.10 to 15328.31
Hang Seng: up +0.54 to 23911.65
US dollar: buys €0.74260 and £0.58580
Sterling: buys $1.70700 and €1.26750
Oil: $107.21 down -0.4