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Summary

  1. The pound is trading against the dollar at levels not seen since 1985
  2. UK watchdog investigates online betting firms
  3. BAT proposes full merger with Reynolds
  4. UK government borrowing surges in September
  5. Nintendo shares slide after console reveal
  6. Strong Mercedes sales boost Daimler

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's all from the Business Live page for the week. Join us again on Monday from 06:00 for more business news and views.

Wall Street closes little changed after Microsoft rallies

The S&P 500 and the Dow were little changed, and the Nasdaq advanced, as a record day for Microsoft and earnings from McDonald's helped offset a fall in energy and healthcare shares.

General Electric, often seen as an economic bellwether, weighed on the market as the industrial conglomerate posted results that topped expectations but cut its full-year revenue target to send shares down 0.9% after it touched an 8-month low of $28.33. 

Microsoft was up 4.3% to a record closing high of $59.69, while McDonald's was up 3% at $113.93. 

The Dow Jones closed down 0.09% to 18,145.71 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.01% to 2,141.16, and the Nasdaq added 0.3% to 5,257.40.

New York starts Airbnb clampdown

Airbnb website
Getty Images

New York state enacted one of the nation's toughest restrictions on Airbnb on Friday with a new law authorising fines of up to $7,500 for many short-term rentals. 

The measure signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to rentals of fewer than 30 days when the owner or tenant is not present. 

Supporters of the measure say many property owners use sites like Airbnb to offer residential apartments as short-term rentals to visitors, hurting existing hotels while taking residential units off the already expensive housing market in New York City. 

Airbnb said it would immediately file a lawsuit challenging the law. 

Dublin government: 'We do not want Apple's money'

Radio 4 PM programme

Dublin government rejects EU Commission ruling that Apple must pay extra tax

Why is the Irish government turning down €13bn (£11bn) in unpaid taxes that the European Commission has ordered the multinational company Apple to pay?

The Irish Cabinet say they do not think they are owed that money, and are appealing the European Commission decision.

Many others, including demonstrators against the household water tax introduced two years ago, say there are many good uses for that cash.

Radio 4's PM programme heard from minsters and protesters.

Google 'quietly drops ban on personal web tracking'

Ever felt you were being followed round the web by targeted ads? Well, according to investigative website ProPublica, you may have been.

It says that by tweaking its privacy policy, Google can now link ads to keywords in Gmail.

"It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct."

Google, however, said that people have to opt-in to the changes.

If you use Google services, you may recall that users were prompted to opt-in this summer.

Nissan's Sunderland investment decision 'will have ramifications across the UK'

BBC Radio 5 live

Qashqai
Getty Images

Nissan has said it will make a decision next month on whether to manufacture its next Qashqai SUV model at its plant in Sunderland. The Japanese firm recently suggested that new investment in that plant, which employs nearly 7,000 people, could if its economic efficacy is affected by Brexit.

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, says: "The Qashqai itself is an incredibly important car to the Washington plant - it was started here, and all of the various versions have come from here, so it's very much been the flagship model from the flagship plant. But it's also about the long-term signals that it gives about investment in the plant here, and I think, actually, it has wider ramifications across the whole country about large car manufacturers signalling their intentions to invest in Britain for the years ahead." 

London City Airport says it has now reopened, disruption expected

London City Airport has reopened after emergency services said there was no evidence of a suspected chemical incident which had prompted the evacuation of 500 passengers.

"Airport has now reopened," the airport said on Twitter. "We thank passengers for their patience, access to terminal will be staggered and disruption to flights expected." 

London City Airport has been declared safe - fire service

London City Airport has been declared safe after emergency services found no evidence of a suspected chemical incident.

"Two complete sweeps of the airport building were carried out jointly by firefighters and police officers both wearing protective equipment," the fire bridge said.

"No elevated readings were found and the building was ventilated, searched and declared safe," it added. 

Theresa May 'optimistic' she can get right Brexit deal for UK

Theresa May
BBC

Theresa May has predicted "difficult moments" ahead in Brexit negotiations but said she is optimistic she can get a deal "that is right for the UK".

Speaking at a summit in Brussels, she said she felt it could be achieved, despite the continuing deadlock over a landmark EU-Canada trade deal .

Mrs May said she had played an active role in discussions and was not "backwards in coming forwards".

It is her first EU summit since she became PM following the Brexit vote.

Read more here.

London City Airport evacuated in 'chemical' scare

City airport
Chris Daly

London City Airport has been evacuated in a suspected chemical incident which has left people needing treatment for breathing difficulties.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said about 500 people were forced to leave the east London airport after some passengers felt unwell.

Ambulance staff treated 26 patients on the site and the LFB sent appliances used to deal with chemical incidents.

In a tweet, London Ambulance Service said two people had been hospitalised.

Read more here.

Citigroup 'considers leasing Canary Wharf space'

Citigroup is considering subletting space at the 25 Canada Square building at Canary Wharf after job cuts, Bloomberg reports. Apparently, HMRC is interested.

Twitter goes down again

Twitter is again unavailable for some users around the world again.

Domain name system firm Dyn says it is subject to another cyber attack.

Earlier today a number of internet firms including Twitter, Spotify and SoundCloud were affected by distributed denial of service attack, where servers are flooded with traffic.

Time Warner shares soar after AT&T deal reports

Shares in media giant Time Warner have hit a 15-year high after the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is in advanced talks to buy the company. 

Time Warner shares were up about 12% at $92.97.

Canada EU free-trade deal falls through

A container ship is docked at a crane in the Port of Montreal
Getty Images

Canada says its attempts to strike a free trade deal with the European Union have failed.

Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters it had become evident that the EU was not capable of reaching agreement - even with a country with values as European as Canada.

The EU says the process is not yet over.

Earlier, the Belgian region of Wallonia scuppered the EU's latest efforts to win approval for the deal from all twenty-eight of its member countries.

The Wallonian government fears that small businesses could be destroyed by competition from North American multi-nationals. Belgium's federal constitution stipulates that all three regions must be in agreement. 

Those apples don't pick themselves

BBC News Channel

Steven Munday
BBC

The apples and pears industry in England needs an estimated 12,000 seasonal workers per year, but they are being put off by the slump in sterling following the Brexit vote, says Steven Munday, chief executive of English Apples and Pears.

"We're already seeing an impact [from Brexit]," he says. "We have had issues with regards to the availability of labour recently - largely, number one, when there is a degree of uncertainty and people are not sure whether they want to come because they're uncertain of what actions are going to happen after the vote, and secondly also because of the currency changes, it's perhaps more enticing for them to seek seasonal work in Germany, or France, or elsewhere in Europe."

Wall Street heads downwards

US stocks veered lower in morning trading as investors looked through earnings from General Electric, McDonald's and other big companies.

Cyber attack 'could hit firms in the pocket'

BBC technology correspondent Mark Ward writes...

Internet outage map by Level3
Level3
Internet outage map by Level3

Web attacks are ten a penny but the one that just hit Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, Reddit, SoundCloud and countless others might end up costing a bit more than that.

It was aimed at the firm they use, DynDNS, to help users find them online.

When that got hit, access to all the sites was spotty too. It’s not clear who carried out the attack or why nor what method was used to take Dyn down.

'Services restored to normal'

More on that cyber attack on domain name server firm Dyn, which reportedly affected sites including Twitter, Netflix and Visa.

The firm has said "services have been restored to normal".

Cyber attack disrupts some Twitter and Spotify services

The logo of social networking website 'Twitter'
Getty Images

Twitter and Spotify are among websites affected by a cyber attack that has disrupted service for some users around the world.

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on domain name system provider Dyn has left some users - mainly in the US - unable to access services including SoundCloud, AirBnB and Reddit.

In a DDoS attack, a server is flooded with requests until it falls over.

Pound continues to slide

The pound is continuing its fall against the dollar, and is now down at around $1.2191. Investors continue to worry about a "hard" brexit - where the UK leaves the single market.

Prime Minister Theresa May, at her first European Council meeting in Brussels, said negotiations to leave the European Union would take time and that she was ready for some "difficult moments", but that the government would like to remain part of the bloc's single market.

A solution for drug-resistant diseases?

BBC World Service

Could immunology defeat drug resistant bugs? Shawn Iadonato of biotech Kineta thinks so.

Could immunology help defeat drug resistant diseases?

Shawn Iadonato, head of biotech firm Kineta, certainly thinks so, and he talks to Ed Butler on Business Daily.  

Courts back minimum alcohol price in Scotland

Cans of beer and cider on shop shelf
PA

Plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland have been backed by the Scottish courts.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled against a challenge by the Scotch whisky industry, who claimed the plans were a breach of European Law.

The ruling now paves the way for the Scottish government to implement its policy, passed by MSPs in 2012. 

Under the plans, a price of 50p per unit of alcohol would be set, taking a bottle of spirits to at least £14. Read more here

McDonald's shares rise in pre-market trading

McDonald's burger and chips
Getty

Fast food chain McDonald's has reported a 3% fall in revenue to $6.42m (£5.26) for the three months to the end of September. 

Net income was also down by 3%, to $1.275m.

However it said globally sales at restaurants - both company owned and franchises - open for a least 13 months, rose by a better than expected 3.5%. 

In the US sales  they were up by 1.5% helped by the introduction of the All Day Breakfast and Chicken McNuggets without artificial preservatives and the McPick 2 for $2 promotion.

China sales were down in part because of the the "temporary protests related to events surrounding the South China Sea and comparison against very strong prior year results".

The results are being seen as an indication that McDonald's turnaround is gathering pace. Chief executive Steve Easterbrook, has introduced all-day breakfasts, simplified complicated menus and improved service to turn around its business in the face of fierce intense competition.  

The company's shares rose by 3.6% in pre-market trading. 

Indian banks hit by massive cyber breach

An investigation has begun in India into how debit card details were stolen in the one of the country's biggest ever breaches of cyber security, BBC World Service reports.

The authorities believe more than 3.1 million may have been compromised in the breach. 

They think it was caused by malware on an ATM network. Some of India's top banks are asking customers to change their PIN numbers, or are offering replacement cards. But there have already been complaints that large amounts of money have been withdrawn from some accounts. 

Ericsson suffers

Ericsson shares
Bloomberg

Ericsson - one of the world's biggest makers of kit for mobile phone networks - is going through a very bad patch.

Earlier this month it warned that quarterly profits would almost be wiped out.

Today it said that sales in North America, its biggest market, have fallen 8% in the most recent quarter.

It has gone almost three months without a chief executive.

Shares in the Swedish firm have tumbled 4% today. 

The chart above shows that shares this year have halved in value.

Burberry shares jump on merger speculation

Burberry bag
Reuters

Burberry has now overtaken BAT and Imperial Brands as the top winner among FTSE 100 shares.

Burberry shares jumped 5% after the Betaville blog reported that US luxury goods firm Coach is working on a possible merger with Burberry.

The UK company is not commenting on the report.

Profits fall at General Electric

GE sign
Reuters

US industrial giant GE has released third quarter results.

Net earnings fell 20% to $1.99bn, for the three months to 30 September.

Sales at its oil and gas division fell by 25%, transportation was down 22% and energy and lighting all fell 22%.

The company says growth is "slow" and the environment is "volatile".

For the year GE has cuts its forecast for growth this year to between zero and 2%.

Gold mining firm leads FTSE 250 higher

Gold mine, Acacia, North Mara
Acacia

With a 12% gain, the biggest winner on the FTSE 250 is Acacia Mining.

Not heard of them?

Well the company owns gold mines in Africa and today it raised its forecast for production from its Tanzania mines.

Shares in gold mining firms have done well this year, as gold has risen strongly following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

What now for the tobacco industry

Some reaction now to the news that British American Tobacco is to snap up the share of Reynolds American that it doesn't already own for $47bn (£38bn).

Cigarette tips poking out of box
PA

M&A has been central to the [tobacco] industry’s success in recent years, as companies look to grow scale in the face of ever increasing competition. However, today’s deal also raises questions about where the industry turns next. There are just a handful of independent or semi-independent operators left (notably including Swedish Match and ITC) that could be snapped up. That could leave Imperial – the smallest of the big four tobacco companies – watching its back.

Nicholas HyettEquity analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown

Bombardier to cut 10% of global workforce

Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier is to cut about 7,500 jobs globally over the next two years - that's 10% of its workforce - it has announced. 

Two thirds of the job losses will go in Bombardier Transportation, which is focused on train manufacture. The rest will go in the aerospace division. 

It's the second time the company has cut jobs this year as it tries to turn around its rail division. In February, the company cut 10% of its workforce, also over two years. Nearly half of those cuts came in its rail arm, which has a large workforce in Europe.

"We understand these are difficult decisions ... but in the end what we are going to be left with is a leaner, stronger organisation," said Bombardier Chief Executive Alain Bellemare.

He also said the company would simultaneously be "strategically hiring" for its growth areas. 

'Five years' to turn around Petrobras

Petrobras boss says oil firm can rediscover its "best days"

Here's a chance to hear the whole of that interview with Pedro Parente, the new chief executive of Brazil's troubled state oil giant.  

He spoke to the BBC's South America business correspondent in Rio de Janeiro,Daniel Gallas.

He says the company will return to its best days in five years' time, once his new governance and business measure have been implemented