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  1. Dow Jones breaks thorough 19,000 for first time ever at start of trade
  2. S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 also hit new highs at open
  3. UK government borrowing falls in October
  4. US President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to quit TPP
  5. UK cuts Lloyds stake to below 8%
  6. BT to invest in broadband infrastructure
  7. Get in touch:

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all for another Livepage. Join us again from 6am tomorrow, when we may have one or two things to write about something called the Autumn Statement.

A record day for the Dow

The Dow Jones index has finished above 19,000 points for the first time. At the closing bell, the Dow was up 0.4% to 19,024.25. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq joined the Dow in closing at a record for the second day in a row.

The S&P 500 gained 4.73 points, or 0.22%, to 2,202.91 and the Nasdaq added 17.49 points, or 0.33%, to 5,386.35.

BHS: Could Green's assets be seized?

Sir Philip Green

The chairman of a committee probing the collapse of BHS has asked the Pensions Regulator if Sir Philip Green's assets could be seized.

In a letter to Lesley Titcomb, MP Frank Field asks if the BHS pensions crisis could be sorted by "acquiring assets other than cash" from Sir Philip.

Ms Titcomb is due to appear before Mr Field's Work and Pensions Committee early on Wednesday.

Sir Philip, whose assets include yachts, could not be reached for comment.

What will US firms do with their piles of repatriated cash?

On the campaign trail, US President-elect Donald Trump said he would get US firms to repatriate more of the cash they hold offshore by charging them a one-off 10% tax payment.

So, assuming he manages it, what will US firms do with the oceans of cash they bring back?

They will probably use it to boost financial engineering schemes like share buybacks, rather than funding expanded capacity, analysts say.

Goldman Sachs is projecting that S&P 500 companies will bring back $200bn of the $1tn in cash they hold outside the US and use $150bn for share buybacks.

Autumn Statement: an animated guide

What's the Autumn Statement all about?

Malware is making ATMs 'spit cash'

BBC World Service

A Russian cyber-security firm has warned that a group of hackers has targeted bank cash machines in coordinated attacks across Europe and elsewhere, forcing them to spit out notes, reports BBC World Service.

The security firm, Group-IB, says the hackers manipulated the ATMs via the banks' central networks. 

It said accomplices nicknamed "money mules" would be stationed outside the cash machines to gather the proceeds from the technique - known as "touchless jackpotting." The firm said 14 countries were affected, including Russia, the UK, Spain, Poland and Malaysia. It did not name the banks.

Two manufacturers of ATMs  - Diebold Nixdorf and NCR - said they were working with customers to tackle the issue.

500 jobs may go at Kwik Fit Insurance

Exterior of Kwik Fit Insurance Services office

More than 500 people face redundancy with the planned closure of the Kwik Fit Insurance Services office in Uddingston.

Belgium-based Ageas, which owns the firm, told staff it was consulting on closure by the end of next March.

Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish government are understood to be seeking another company which could use the insurance firm's contact centre skills.

Five years ago, the firm had more than 900 staff in North Lanarkshire.

It now employs 521 people at the Tannochside Business Park site. Read more here

Lufthansa makes court appeal to halt strike

Lufthansa logo
Getty Images

More on the Lufthansa strike that we reported on earlier.

The airline is making an eleventh-hour court appeal to halt a planned pilots' strike that will cancel 900 flights on Wednesday.

Lufthansa lost an appeal to a Frankfurt labour court, but is making a further legal challenge that could go late into Tuesday evening. Read more here

'Time to build new engineering talent'

Construction work at Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road, London
Getty Images

The UK is promised new roads, railways and runways, but we will need more engineers to build them, say experts.

A report, from the Institution of Civil Engineers and construction giant, Costain, is calling for a "recruitment revolution" to avoid a skills gap.

It says the solution is to attract a new wave of engineers, including ex-military personnel and young offenders.

"New blood" could also come from among data scientists, social scientists and planners, it suggests.

A report, backed by construction giant Costain, calls for a "recruitment revolution" to attract more engineers.

Construction work at Crossrail station at Tottenham Court Road, London

'Time to build new engineering talent'

A report, backed by construction giant Costain, calls for a "recruitment revolution" to attract more engineers.

Read more

Preventing the next big financial crisis

BBC World Service

Shares in US banks have surged since Donald Trump won the presidential election. It's partly in expectation of his proposed bonfire of what he believes are rules and regulations that hamper business.

But of course a lot of those rules were put in place after the last financial crisis, and their purpose was to stop banks ever again needing a bailout from the taxpayer.

One man whose thinking may be in line with Mr Trump is Neel Kashkari, the head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. He wants to see a lot of the regulations that govern banks replaced by a huge increase in the cash they are obliged to hold in case everything goes wrong at once. 

Alex Ritson spoke to Mr Kashkari for World Business Report.

Neel Kashkari of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve is proposing new bank reforms.

French construction firm hit by hoax statement

Vinci share movement graph

Shares in French construction group Vinci fell by 18% just after 15:00 GMT today after a hoax statement was published in its name.

The statement claimed Vinci was going to revise its accounts for last year and is, and fire its finance director.

In a statement on its website the company said: "A fake press release was published today by Bloomberg at 4.05 PM [Central European Time]. Vinci denies formally all the information contained in this fake press release and is investigating all legal actions in furtherance thereof."  

The statement helped the shares - which are traded in Paris - to recover and as the graph above shows, they closed down by 3.76%.

Greek debt on the agenda

Graffiti on a closed Attica Bank branch reads "No to the debt" as a worker pushing a cart walks by in Athens, 13 July, 2015.

The saga of Greece's huge debts rumbles on. 

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reports that the crisis will be discussed when the finance ministers of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands meet in Berlin on Friday, along with officials from the International Monetary Fund.

Up or down?

Screwfix logo

B&Q owner Kingfisher has reported good sales in the UK, but declining sales in France.

Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst George Salmon says:

"With significant interests in both the UK and France, Kingfisher has one foot on either side of the channel.

"Performance continues to diverge between the two main divisions.

"UK like-for-like sales growth remains strong, driven by Screwfix in particular, however sales at the French businesses are heading in the wrong direction.

"While the British and French businesses are similar, at present there is little cross-over in product range, meaning that the group isn’t taking advantage of its significant scale.

"Understandably, Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury is planning to change this, and is targeting efficiencies that will see a £500m per annum uplift to profits by 2021."   

Time for tea?

Gordon Brown had his whisky when he was chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne had his burger.

Philip Hammond, however, has gone for a restorative cup of tea as his comestible of choice ahead of tomorrow's Autumn Statement. 

The Press Association has just released these pictures or the chancellor relaxing on the eve of his big day.

Philip Hammond drinking tea in front of window
Philip Hammond sitting down with cup of tea on table beside him
Philip Hammond working at desk

What does business want from the chancellor

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Train on track
Getty Images

Just about everyone agrees that extra investment in transport infrastructure, delivered locally and immediately, is a good idea. Because this is so universally popular, the chancellor is almost certain to deliver - but on a pretty limited scale.

As my colleague Kamal Ahmed has explained, the forecast for the public finances is likely to make depressing reading and Treasury coffers are emptier than projected six months ago.

We expect a billion or so for transport improvements.

Everyone likes lower taxes - right? That's true, but with an existing plan to reduce corporation tax to 17% by 2020, the UK is already on course to have the lowest tax rate in the G20, (unless Donald Trump cuts taxes in the US from 35% to 15% - possible but unlikely).

Not only that, but there is relatively little clamour among business groups for further cuts here. Read more from Simon here 

Scrapping TPP 'cuts both ways'

BBC Radio 5 live

Jeffries Briginshaw, chief executive of ‘British American Business’, an organisation which helps companies to trade between the two countries, has been talking to BBC 5 live about President-elect Donald Trump’s commitment to scrap the TPP trade deal and what that could mean for a possible future deal between the UK and the US following Brexit.

“It cuts both ways," he said.

"On one hand yes, big regional trade deals appear to be in the line of fire but that doesn't mean with good political relations and good relations between our two countries which have been underlined by President-elect Trump that we can't get talking quite soon about what UK/US trade and investment deal would be like. 

"There's a huge base already, we're hugely invested in each other's economies with millions of people working in [each other's countries] already. I wouldn't worry too much about the protectionist threat. I know it's there but you can overdo it as well”

Mother-of-three Cathryn Scott has concerns about her children's future in uncertain times

Chancellor Philip Hammond will update MPs on the government's taxation and spending plans during the Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

The penny drops?

BBC Radio 5 live

Just in case you've missed it Wednesday is the day of the Autumn Statement.

It's Philip Hammond's first big set-piece event as Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reveal more of the government’s thinking on the economy and Brexit. 

5 live Money's Sean Farrington talks through the growth of the UK’s national debt ahead of the Autumn Statement.

A look at the growth of the UK’s national deficit - using pennies.

S&P 500 falls

In the US the Dow Jones is still trading higher - though only just at 18,973.30, a rise of 16.61 points or 0.09%.

The Nasdaq is also clinging on to positive ground at 5,371.36 - a rise of 2.50 points or 0.05%.

But the S&P 500 has fallen - a short while ago it was trading at 2,196.28, which is a fall of 1.91 points or 0.09%.

FTSE 100 holds onto gains to close higher

London Stock Exchange sign
Getty Images

FTSE 100 has closed up 0.57% or 38.86 points at 6,816.82. 

It was boosted by the dip in the pound and higher commodity prices.  

The biggest gainers - as they were earlier - are mining stocks. Anglo American rose 7.62%, Glencore, was up 5.33% and BHP Billiton, up 4.92%.

But several companies closed down after poorly received earnings reports.

Support services company Compass Group (CPG.L) was the biggest faller, ending the day 4.67% lower, another support services firm Babcock International Group fell by 4.64%, and retailer Kingfisher was down 3.08%.

Pound still down against euro

Pound euro graph

Against the euro the pound is also still down, though again it has picked up as the day has gone on. 

A short while ago it was at €1.1723, that's down 0.26%.

Pound recovers some lost ground

Pound dollar graph

Let's check in on how the pound is doing and - as this graph shows - it's still down against the dollar, but it has recovered some of its earlier lost ground.

A short while ago it was at $1.2437 - that's a fall of 0.45%.

Hauliers may face pre-Christmas driver shortage

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

Lorry wheels
Getty Images

Hauliers could face a driver shortage in the run-up to Christmas, according to research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

In early November, the organisation surveyed 29 specialist recruitment agencies supplying temporary drivers to supermarkets, retailers and delivery firms. Eighty three percent said they anticipated a shortage of hauliers being a 'significant problem' over the Christmas period. 

The Freight Transport Association says a lack of qualified drivers in the UK is nothing new - it has been the case since the financial crisis, when many gave up and moved into other professions. 

The situation has generally been improving, but at times of peak demand, and particularly over Christmas, it is still likely to become acute because of short-term demand. This could lead to longer delivery times. 

Both organisations say the skills shortage could get a lot worse if there are restrictions on EU migration as a result of Brexit. Ten per cent of UK lorry drivers are EU nationals. Filling the skills gap will take time, because HGV drivers have to be trained.  

Fitch retains negative outlook for India's banking sector

India 500 rupee note

Fitch has re-affirmed its "negative" outlook for India's banking sector, saying the financial standing remained "fragile" without bigger capital injections and that the government's action on banknotes could end up having a mixed impact.

Fitch said the government move to remove higher-value banknotes from circulation would lead to a surge in deposits, allowing lenders to eventually lower lending rates and lower costs to service the sector's debt.

But it also noted that the overall impact on the banking sector remained uncertain, given that borrowers in sectors that rely on cash could struggle to service their loans, while deposits could eventually be withdrawn again.

Brexit wipes $1.5tn off UK wealth

London skyline
Getty Images

Around $1.5tn was wiped off Britain’s wealth in 2016 following the Brexit vote, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2016.

The study blamed the collapse in sterling and shares that immediately followed the referendum - although the recent recovery in equities should have pared some of the losses.

It also claimed the falling value of high-end property has resulted in about 400,000 Britons losing their status as dollar millionaires.

That said, it found the UK still had the third highest number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals of any country - behind the US and China.

Tesco denies discriminating against state school pupils

Tesco Metro, Bruntsfield

Tesco has denied claims it has been discriminating against state school pupils at one of its stores in Edinburgh.

Parents raised concerns that students from Boroughmuir High School had to queue outside at lunchtime while pupils from nearby private school George Watson's College were allowed in.

Tesco said there was no discrimination but it had to put restrictions in place at its busiest time.

One father told BBC Scotland he wanted an apology for his son. Read more here

'TPP exit pledge sends Dow higher'

The one big event this afternoon was the striking, however brief, of 19000 by the Dow Jones. Though it has only managed a 0.2% to 0.3% rise after the bell that was all it took to take the US index above that landmark level, a price is has teased ever since its initial rampage post-election. As to what is actually sending it higher despite the dollar taking half a percent back off the pound, it seems that Trump’s promise to exit the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement might have caused investors to cheer the potential safe-guarding of jobs in the US (whether or not that will be the result is another discussion altogether).

Connor CampbellFinancial analyst, Spreadex

Key US share indexes all hit record highs

It's not just the Dow Jones that's been hitting records again on Tuesday - the S&P 500, the Nasdaq also hit new records, as did the Russell 2000 index - which is for firms with lower market capitalisations. 

All four closed at record highs on Monday, the first time that's happened since December 1999, and their upward march has continued today. 

Donald Trump has pledged to cut taxes, spend more on infrastructure and simplify banking and healthcare regulations - and these promises have pushed up shares in those sectors, in particular. 

"Optimism is returning because of the potential that exists in the form of fiscal stimulus, infrastructure spending and tax cuts and is renewing confidence on the part of investors and consumers," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York. 

Dow Jones goes over 19,000 for first time ever

New York Stock Exchange exterior
Getty Images

The Dow Jones Industrial Average went above 19,000 for the first time ever when trading started on Tuesday. It has since fallen back. 

Wall Street has been performing strongly as investors expect companies to benefit from President-elect Donald Trump's pro-growth policies. The Dow hit a high of 19,013.12 shortly after the open. 

As short while ago the Dow Jones was at 18,999,18 a rise of 42.49 points or 0.22%.

The Nasdaq was at 5,387.85 - that's up 18.99 points or 0.35%.

And the S&P 500 was at 2,202.63, a rise of 4.45 points or 0.20%.

Ashtead buys some Hewden assets

More on the news that loss-making plant hire company, Hewden, has gone into administration. 

EY said three divisions had been sold today to Ashtead Plant Hire Company: the access and power generation assets, the on-site plant business and the business and assets of Interlift. As a result 133 staff will be taken on by the new ower.

Joint administrator Sam Woodward said: “We are assessing the optimum strategy for maximising value in the remainder of the Group. In the meantime, we will continue to work with stakeholders to maintain service levels to customers who have assets on hire."

EY is asking for anybody who is interested in buying the remaining assets to contact it. 

Hewden goes into administration

Heavy machinery firm Hewden gone into administration, just weeks after saying the Brexit vote was hitting its business. Administrators EY say 251 jobs will go as a result.

The firm, which is based in Manchester said last month that it had been affected by "market uncertainty following the vote to leave the EU". It said the vote had "adversely affected" a number of large construction and investment projects.

“Management has been attempting to operationally reshape the business to focus on higher margin and quicker returning assets and services," said joint administrator Sam Woodward.

"However, this has proven challenging with the Group’s capital structure and the recent trading environment. Management recently undertook a number of initiatives including approaching new funders and potential acquirers to recapitalise the business, but unfortunately these efforts proved unsuccessful.”

Barclays: Fewer retailers to participate in Black Friday

Shoppers vie for Black Friday offers

Fewer retailers plan to run Black Friday promotions, suggesting that "parts of the industry may be starting to resist what some see as an unwelcome discounting event in the run up to the all-important Christmas trading period", according to Barclays bank.

However, its annual Christmas survey also found that just over half of retailers who were taking part in the annual shopping frenzy thought Black Friday revenues would rise.

In addition, 63% predicted that the Brexit vote would not affect Christmas spending this year.

Will VW manage to hit its electric car target?

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel chats with German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer (L) and Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn
Getty Images

German carmaker Volkswagen has announced it wants to produce one million electric cars a year by 2025, as it attempts to distance itself from last year's scandal over cheated emissions tests.

Setting out its plans for the next 10 years, it said it intended to play a key role in the breakthrough of the electric car. It was not, it said, aiming for "niche products, but for "the heart of the automobile market".

It will also develop its own digital platform for connected cars - which it says will have 80 million subscribers within a decade.

It's powerful stuff. VW has of course already set out plans to build more than 30 new electric models, and it unveiled a sleek battery-powered concept at the Paris Motor Show in September.

It now seems pretty clear that this is a real attempt to transform the company, rather than a bit of post-scandal reputation-polishing.

But its targets are certainly ambitious. To put things into context, the Renault-Nissan alliance, which currently accounts for roughly half of all pure-electric vehicle sales worldwide, sold just 85,000 last year.

Yet the signs are growing that electric cars could soon make their long-awaited move into the mainstream.

Cars are becoming more and more like mobile computers. Traditional manufacturers are looking nervously over their shoulders as the giants of Silicon Valley, led by the likes of Tesla and Google, attempt to move in on their territory - and their focus is clearly electric.

At the same time emissions limits are being lowered by regulators, creating powerful incentives for developing zero-emissions cars.

So it may be that a scandal over dirty cars is the catalyst that turns VW into a market leader in clean technologies. That, at least, is what the carmaker is hoping.

Insider's guide to the Autumn Statement

How does the Treasury put together a big set-piece economic announcement like the Budget or Autumn Statement?

Someone who should know is Rupert Harrison, who was chief of staff to former chancellor George Osborne.

He now works as a managing director at BlackRock in the City of London, where BBC News caught up with him to get an exclusive insider's guide.

Autumn home sales sluggish in UK

UK homes

Sales of homes in the UK remained sluggish in the autumn, compared with the same period last year, HM Revenue and Customs figures show.

Experts have pointed to a lack of homes on the market failing to match demand as a key factor affecting prices and the sector.

A total of 100,300 properties were sold in the UK in October, a 16% fall on the same month a year earlier.

The number of sales has been relatively static each month since June.

Read more.

Morrisons to revive Safeway brand

A Safeway store in 2003

Morrisons has said it will revive the Safeway UK brand as part of its expanding wholesale business.

Morrisons acquired Safeway UK in 2004, leading to the brand disappearing from the high street as Safeway stores were sold or turned into Morrisons.

But from early next year, Safeway-branded products will be sold to independent stores as part of Morrisons' recently-launched wholesale business. The products will not be sold in Morrisons' own stores, however.

"The UK convenience market is very broad and diverse, with around three-quarters held by independents," Morrisons said in a statement.

"The re-introduction of the Safeway brand will enable Morrisons to leverage its sourcing and unique food maker skills to give independent retailers' customers access to great quality products."

BreakingPound dip boosts FTSE 100

London's blue chip index is trading higher thanks to a dip in the pound and a rebound for commodities. 

The index is 0.87%, or 59.06 points, higher at 6,837.02 in early afternoon trade.

At the top of the board are miners Anglo American, up 5.21%, Glencore, up 4.81% and BHP Billiton, up 4.09%.

But several companies have fallen after poorly received earnings reports, with Babcock International Group down 5.35%, Compass Group (CPG.L) down 3.45% and Kingfisher down 3.41%.

Consumers 'to use Black Friday to offset inflation'

Washing machine
Getty Images

Consumers will use this year's Black Friday sale to grab bargains before inflation-linked price rises kick in next year, AO World has said. 

The online retailer - which specialises in appliances - said it expected online businesses to be the big winners of this week's sale, adding that it was stretching Black Friday into a week of promotions this year.

"This year it has been well reported that, obviously with the Brexit currency movements, prices are going to go up in Q1 next year," said chief executive John Roberts.

"So our belief is that [this year's sale] is going to be bigger than ever."

In results for the six months to 30 September, AO World said total revenue had increased by 22.9% to £324.7m as both UK and Europe growth continued.

Lufthansa to cancel a third of flights on Wednesday

Lufthansa plane
Getty Images

German airline Lufthansa to cancel about a third of its flights - or 876 journeys - on Wednesday due to a pilots' strike.

Pilots will stage a 24-hour walk-out amid a long-running dispute over pay and conditions. 

The strike will affect Lufthansa passenger and cargo flights across Germany, and around 100,000 passengers, the airline said.

A separate strike by cabin crew at Lufthansa's low-cost airline Eurowings led to the cancellation of more than 60 flights today.