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Summary

  1. UK consumer price inflation rises to 1%
  2. UK airport expansion vote next year
  3. Wall Street rallies after strong earnings results
  4. FTSE 100 rises to about 7,000 points
  5. Ryanair blames pound fall for profit warning
  6. William Hill and Amaya abandon merger talks

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's all from the Business Live page for tonight. See you again tomorrow from 06:00 for more business news and views.

Wall Street closes higher after earnings optimism

Wall Street rallied on Tuesday after better-than-expected results from a number of companies

Netflix rose more than 19% after posting much higher-than-expected subscriber growth, and Goldman Sachs rose 2.15% after the bank's results beat Wall Street estimates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.4% 18,161.94 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.6% to 2,139.60, and the Nasdaq gained 0.85% to 5,243.84.

Yahoo profit and revenues rise

Yahoo sign
Getty Images

Yahoo's quarterly profit has more than doubled to $163m, with revenues up 6.5%, positive news for the beleaguered company whose deal to sell its core business to Verizon Communications has been shaken by a massive data breach.

Verizon's general counsel said last week that the hacking, which affected at least 500 million email accounts in 2014, could have a material impact, possibly allowing Verizon to withdraw from the $4.83bn deal.

Yahoo's revenuse rose to $1.31bn in the three months to 30 September, from $1.23bn a year earlier. 

After deducting fees paid to partner websites, revenues fell to $857.7m from $1bn.

Intel revenues rise on PC demand

Intel Corp reported a 9.1% rise in quarterly revenue, helped by improving PC demand and growth in its data centre and cloud businesses. 

The world's largest chipmaker said net income rose to $3.38bn in the three months to 1 October, from $3.11bn a year earlier.

The company's net revenue rose to $15.79bn from $14.47bn.

Astronaut Tim Peake opens space thruster facility

The British astronaut Tim Peake has opened a new space thruster facility in Belfast.

Astronaut Tim Peake put a rocket under the UK space industry today.

He was guest of honour at an event to launch a specialist factory in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that will manufacture state-of-the-art electric thrusters to power satellites into orbit.

Thales, the French company, claims the technology will be a game-changer for the industry.

Susannah Streeter spoke to Thales's chief executive Victor Chavez, and asked him to explain what the thrusters look like, and how they work.  

Volkswagen emissions deal?

A federal judge in San Francisco says he is "strongly inclined" to approve a proposed deal, costing $10bn, in which Volkswagen will buy back the cars of, or compensate, 475,000 owners of two-litre diesel vehicles. A final decision will be issued on 25 October.

VW has set aside $17bn for the various costs in the US of the diesel emissions scandal which emerged last year.

Sir Philip Green 'sad and sorry for BHS hardship'

Sir Philip Green
ITV

Sir Philip Green had said he is "sad and very sorry" for the hardship caused by the BHS collapse and that he still wants to sort out the pension deficit.

The billionaire told ITV News that he "did everything possible" to keep the business from going under.

BHS, sold by his Arcadia Group for £1 last year, collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a big pension deficit.

Earlier on Tuesday, lawyers for Sir Philip hit back at MPs over a report into the BHS failure.

Read more here.

Sony Music names new chief

Rob Stringer of Columbia Records has been promoted to chief executive of Sony Music after successes including Adele's latest album, Billboard reports.

Current chief Doug Morris will become chairman in April 2017.

Banana Republic shops to shut in UK

Banana Republic website
Banana Republic

The last eight Banana Republic clothes shops in the UK will be shut soon. The stores' owner - Gap - is shutting them down as part of a wider revamp of its brands.

Former minister defends abandoned policy

Steve Webb
Photoshot

The former pensions minister, Steve Webb, who is now a director at the life insurance firm Royal London, told Radio 5 live that the idea of letting people sell their annuities to insurers, for a lump sum, was not a bad idea in principle.

"The reason there weren't people queuing up to buy these annuities is, pension firms were scared," he said.

"They thought that if they actually tried to buy these and some years later the regulator came back and said 'oh, you didn't give a fair price' and they get done for compensation. 

"So actually, because they were worried about reputational damage, most companies wouldn't enter the market and that was part of the problem," he said.   

Chuck Berry celebrates 90th birthday by announcing new album

Chuck Berry
Getty Images

Rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry has announced, on his 90th birthday, that he's going to release a new album next year - his first in 38 years.

The album's going to be called "Chuck". We on the Business Live page like his style.

That pension U-turn

Pound notes
PA

Steven Cameron at insurers Aegon said he welcomed the Treasury's decision to perform a U-turn on annuity re-selling: "All the signs were the secondary annuity market would have been a pension freedom too far," he said.

"Giving up a guaranteed income for life is a huge decision and not the right one for the vast majority. 

"The risks and complexities for the many far outweighed any possible benefits for the few," he added.

Open for business...

This tweet from Duncan Weldon, head of research at Resolution Group, sums up the government's carefully planned communications strategy about airport expansion today:

View more on twitter

Unexpected item in bagging area

Douglas Fraser

Scotland business & economy editor

Inflation at 1% is still short of target. But the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics don't capture the October plunge in sterling.

And as we could learn from the Great Day-Long Marmite Crisis, most of those extra import costs can be expected to feed through gradually.

Read more here.

Foreign firms profits hit by Brexit vote and weak sterling

A contractor works on the engine production line at a Ford factory in Dagenham
Getty Images

Foreign firms are saying the Brexit vote has eaten into British profits, and have been saying they may have to bring in additional cost cuts, raise prices, and cut down operations.

Firms including carmaker Ford, technology group HP, Ryanair and Delta Air Lines have said they may have to reassess profit targets.

"Brexit we think in the short term, will hit Ford's margins by a couple [of] hundred million dollars this year," said Ford's EMEA vice president Jim Farley. "We think it's going to be more like $600m next year," he added.

Secondary pensions annuities 'risks outweigh benefits'

They don't want to say "we told you so" but...

Hargreaves Lansdown has welcomed the government decision to ditch plans to allow pensioners to sell their annuities.

Tom McPhail, the firm's head of retirement policy, says:

"After extensive research, at the beginning of September Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest annuity broker announced that it would not be participating in the secondary annuity market... The risks to the vast majority of annuity holders outweigh the benefits for the small minority who could benefit.”

Risks include people living longer than they expect and running out of money; not getting value for money out of a new deal; costs eating into lump sums; and people being ripped off.

'Give green light to more than one airport'

Liz Jenkins, a partner at law firm Clyde & Co, says there are a number of legal and practical hurdles to overcome for any airport expansion in the UK:

"Apart from the political opposition, there will be opposition from activist local residents, local authorities and environmentalists on a host of legal, planning and regulatory issues, such as noise and emissions."

"There is also the major issue of the acute skills shortage facing the industry. This could lead to delays if contractors are unable to tap into the large pool of talent in Europe, post Brexit, as easily as they can now."

"Given the likely delays and legal challenges, together with the time taken to reach this decision and the forecasted capacity issues, there is a very strong argument for giving the green-light to more than one airport."

Airports decision news 'not a delay' says Heathrow

Low-flying aircraft
Getty Images

Both Heathrow and Gatwick have said that the government final decision on airports expansion not being taken for another year was not a delay.

A Heathrow spokesperson said:

“It is the expected and appropriate political process, there is no delay."

Government ditches annuities sales plan

Piggy bank
PA

Government plans to allow pensioners to be able to sell their annuities for a lump sum from April 2017 have been ditched.

"Over the past few months, following a wide range of discussions, it has become increasingly clear that creating the conditions to allow a vibrant and competitive market to emerge, with multiple buyers and sellers of annuities, could not be balanced with sufficient consumer protections," the Treasury said.

In other words, people could make a bad decision too easily.

BreakingAirport decision grounded for 12 months

Norman Smith

Assistant political editor

A final decision on whether to give the go ahead to Heathrow or Gatwick will not be taken for another year.

In a letter to cabinet colleagues, the Prime Minister said a final decision would be made in the winter of 2017/18. 

This would follow a decision next week by the cabinet sub-committee and then "a full and fair public consultation".

However, "an exceptional and limitied arrangement" would be put in place for those ministers "who have previously expressed strong opinions" to allow them to make their case.

Cabinet ministers, however, will have to ask the PM's permission first. Then they will also be not allowed to criticise the government in the House of Commons or to "actively campaign" against the government.   

More on Eurotunnel

So far six Eurostar trains have been cancelled this afternoon between London, Brussels and Paris.

The power failure in the tunnel was due to a problem with the overhead power supply, but no trains have been stuck in the tunnel.

Services are suspended in both directions while engineers are at work.

Meanwhile passengers are being offered alternative routes by ferry via Dover and Calais.

Lufthansa bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from all flights

Burnt Note 7
Ariel Gonzalez

German airline Lufthansa has banned Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 mobile phones from all of its flights with immediate effect.

"Transport of the devices is forbidden on all flights, both in checked bags and in hand luggage," a spokeswoman said.

Lufthansa had previously only banned the smartphones from flights to and from the US.

Samsung scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 last week after reports of incidents where the phones began smoking or caught fire.

Tesco boss: Food price inflation 'could be lethal'

Trollies at a branch of Tesco supermarket in Brixton
Getty Images

Tesco UK boss Matt Davies has said that food price inflation could be "lethal" for people struggling to make ends meet, the Guardian reports.

"Everybody should be very very clear how damaging food inflation is to the economy, to retail businesses and manufacturing businesses and how lethal it could be for millions of people struggling to live from week to week," he said. 

Eurotunnel services disrupted by cable problems

Screens displaying information regarding cancelled Eurostar connections
Getty Images

Eurotunnel has suspended its Le Shuttle car and passenger transportation service, and says Eurostar train services have been delayed, after a problem with overhead electrical power lines in the tunnel.

Eurotunnel said: "Our passenger service is temporarily suspended due to a technical fault in the Tunnel which is in the process of being resolved. We regret that we are currently unable to sell tickets to non reserved customers. This information will be updated as soon as the service resumes.

"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this will cause to your journey," the company added.

Passengers are being advised to delay journeys if possible.

Eurostar said: "Our trains are currently delayed because of overhead power supply problems in the Eurotunnel."   

Wall Street rallies after strong earnings reports

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Getty Images

US stocks have rallied after better than expected earnings reports from the likes of Netflix and health insurer UnitedHealth.

Netflix was the biggest gainer on the S&P 500, rising 18% to $117.83 after the video streaming website added many more subscribers in the third quarter than expected.

UnitedHealth rose 6% and Goldman Sachs rose 2%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 86.94 points, or 0.48%, at 18,173.34. The S&P 500 was up 12.78 points, or 0.60%, at 2,139.18 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 48.58 points, or 0.94%, at 5,248.48. 

Pound bounces after suggestion of UK Brexit ratification

House of Commons
BBC

Sterling has jumped by almost 1% - quite a large movement - against the dollar after a rise in inflation and a suggestion that parliament would have to ratify the UK's Brexit deal.

The pound briefly touched $1.23 after lawyer James Eadie, representing the government in a High Court challenge over who has the right to trigger Brexit talks, said parliament would "very likely" have to ratify any deal with the EU.

It's still a very minor rise compared with the $1.46 level sterling was at just before the Brexit vote.

Eurostar plans 80 job cuts after terror attacks

Eurostar train
PA

Eurostar plans to cut 80 jobs and axe a number of services after a reduction in passengers following terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Trains with a larger capacity have also given an impetus to reducing services, the rail operator said.

A Eurostar spokesman said: "The timetable in December will have a reduction in some services. We haven't said which trains they are." 

The firm is offering voluntary redundancies and sabbaticals to minimise the impact on colleagues, a spokeswoman said.

A boost for Belfast?

BBC News business reporter Susannah Streeter writes...

Thales hopes electric propulsion technology, which will be developed in Belfast, will be a game changer for the satellite industry.

It gives engines a lot more thrust enabling the payload spent on fuel to be cut by a factor of five, which ultimately should enable satellites to be put into orbit more cheaply and be kept there for a longer period.

Thales looked at sites across Europe before deciding to set up the facility in Belfast. It's part of its expansion in the space technology sector in the UK from just 10 staff in 2014 to a projected 350 by 2018.

So is this a vote of confidence in a post-Brexit vote Britain?

Chief executive Victor Chavez told me it's a vote of confidence in the investment environment created by the UK government in recent years to foster the space and aerospace sector.

“The most important issue is less about any tariffs that might appear but just how committed the government is to take practical steps to change the way industry invests in technologies that are at the cutting edges of physics and engineering.”    

Space rocket booster deal for east Belfast company Thales

Tim Peake
BBC

A Belfast-based factory is to be the first in the UK to make electric-powered rocket boosters for the space industry.

The new work for Thales in the east of the city, is also delivering a jobs boost.

Astronaut Tim Peake is in Belfast for the announcement which was due to have been made by First Minister Arlene Foster.

Invest NI are understood to be grant-aiding the expansion.

Read more here.

Inflation to rise above 3%?

Shoppers
AFP

Economists and analysts appear to be having an arms race to forecast higher inflation.

The "top" forecast we have seen so far comes from Henderson, the big City fund management firm.

Its chief economist, Simon Ward says: "An increase to more than 2% [in the core rate] is plausible by mid-2017, in turn suggesting a headline inflation rate of over 3% by then. RPI inflation would probably exceed 4%."

"Sterling weakness and recovering commodity prices are the proximate causes of rising inflation but strengthening monetary growth is a more fundamental driver. 

"All significant upswings in inflation since WW2 were preceded by a pick-up in money growth, typically by two to three years. 

"Unless monetary trends slow, the coming inflation overshoot is likely to be sustained - contrary to the claims of Bank of England officials," he adds.

State pension to rise above £122 per week?

Cash in a till
AFP

The Basic State Pension is likely to be raised by 2.5% from next April, taking it over £122 a week. The calculation is made according to the government's promise that the pension would be uprated by the highest rate of increase of earnings or inflation, with a minimum uprating of 2.5%. The formula is known as the Triple Lock. The latest official figures indicate that the 2.5% minimum will be applied, subject to confirmation by the Department for Work and Pensions next month. The current weekly pension of up to £119.30 is expected to rise to £122.30. Those who have reached pension age since April this year qualify for the New State Pension of £155.65 a week, which also benefits from the Triple Lock. However, these new pensioners could be being paid more or less than this amount during a transition phase, so actual increases will vary.

Simon GompertzBBC Personal finance correspondent

DB Cargo spells it out

DB Cargo website
DB Cargo

DB Cargo, the German-owned firm that runs the UK's freight railway service, has been explaining why it plans to cut 893 job - more than a quarter of its workforce.

It blames the continued rapid shrinking of both the coal and steel industries.

"Between January and 30 September 2016 DB Cargo ran 1,353 coal trains compared with 6,163 trains in the same period in 2015. This is a reduction of 78%," it said.

"Government energy policy has resulted in the early closure of numerous coal-fired power stations and a proposed complete phase out of all UK coal-fired power plants is planned by 2025.

"The number of steel trains run by DB Cargo from 1 January to 30 September 2016 was 5,820, compared with 8,733 for the same period in 2015. This is a 33% reduction.

"Volumes in UK steel production also continue to drop at a much quicker rate than predicted. There is significant structural instability in the UK steel manufacturing sector which has resulted in the closure of, or reduction in capacity at, major plants and job losses," it explained.

Why do people take abysmal tourist currency rates?

Money
EPA

FairFx, which has been supplying us with figures, has been asking that question itself. 

Its survey of 3,400 holidaymakers in August found that nearly 10% of them left it until the day before they travelled, or even the day itself, before buying their foreign currency.

"They’re at the mercy of last-minute currency swings and risk being stung by currency providers at airports which offer some of the worst rates in the country," warned Ian Strafford-Taylor, chief executive of FairFX.

GB Energy Supply speaks

GB Energy Supply website
GB Energy Supply

So, why has this small company put up its tariff so much? It is in fact the firm's second increase this year after a first one in July.

The company blames rising wholesale costs: "The cost of buying electricity has increased significantly in recent months," it says.

"We’ve absorbed that rise for as long as we could, but are now having to increase the price of our variable tariff, as many smaller suppliers will also have to do. 

"This increase won’t happen overnight; we are contacting all customers on the variable tariff to give them 30 days’ notice, in which time they are free to switch without facing any exit fees," it adds.

RT TV - the plot thickens

RT website
RT

Well this is all a bit curious.

The BBC has learned from the NatWest bank that the letter allegedly informing the Russian TV network RT that its bank accounts were to be closed, was addressed not to RT but to a supplier of RT.

RT's bank accounts have not been frozen and have not been threatened with closure, NatWest has told us.

The bank says it is reviewing the situation.

RT's editor-in-chief announced yesterday that its accounts had been frozen.

Goldman Sachs profits surge

Goldman Sachs HQ
Getty Images

Goldman Sachs has reported third quarter net earnings of $2.094bn, up 47% from the same period in 2015.

Like other big US banks, Goldman has benefited from a revival in its division that trades bonds, currencies and commodities.

Sales in that unit were up 34% at $1.96bn.

Airport exchange rates - pound/dollar

Central London bureau de change
AFP

The average dollar rate for your pound on offer today - if you buy at an airport, station or port bureaux de change - is currently $1.12 dollars, says FairFX.

That is a bit better than the $1.08 on offer at such places at the start of last week. But there is a very wide variation in the rates on offer.

The best rate currently is $1.20, from ICE at either Heathrow Terminal 2 or Ashford International station. That is only 2% away from the current market rate of $1.228.

But the worst rate is a frankly abysmal $1.00 from Moneycorp at Bristol airport which is 23% worse than the wholesale rate!

UK retail shares: Next jumps, Asos dives

Traders can't decide what to do with retailing shares today.

Next is leading the FTSE 100 with a 4% rise. Marks and Spencer is also doing well with a 3% gain.

Next might have been helped by a a positive comment from Deutsche Bank.

Some market watchers are also attributing the gains to the latest inflation data which showed that the price of clothes was up sharply in the UK.

But, Burberry has tumbled 7.6% after reporting a fall in sales in the first half of its financial year.

Online retailer, Asos is down almost 7% after its trading update.

Heathrow decision next week

Vicki Young

Chief Political Correspondent

Downing Street has announced that a committee of Cabinet ministers will choose a "preferred option" for airport expansion next week.

After the decision a special arrangement will be put in place, allowing ministers with long-held opinions on the subject to set out and express their views for a limited period.

The Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said a range of views were expressed at Cabinet today but there was a strong consensus around the table on the importance of the decision for the economy. 

Spinal Tap creator sues Vivendi

Spinal Tap
Getty Images

If the name Harry Shearer (pictured left) does not mean anything to you, then you are probably not a fan of Spinal Tap.

To bring you up to speed, Mr Shearer played the bass player Derek Smalls in the film This is Spinal Tap.

The 1984 film about the antics of a fake rock band was a massive hit.

Now Mr Shearer is suing Vivendi, the parent company of Universal Music and StudioCanal, for £125m.

He claims the companies have withheld millions of dollars in profits owed to the creators of the film.