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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 closes down as sterling trades lower
  2. WTO rules against Boeing over US state subsidies
  3. Financial watchdog to probe Sports Direct
  4. JD Sports buys Go Outdoors

Live reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's it from us tonight. Join us from 6am sharp when we''ll be reporting on the government's plans to crack down on corporate governance as well as a trading update from Alton Towers owner Merlin. 

Profit taking blamed

Analysts have blamed profit taking for Wall Street's drop today, which ends a four-day winning streak. 

"This is basically profit taking. We've been high for a lot of days, so I think it is just a little bit of a pause," says Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

Wall Street sees worst performance in a month

Amazon wasn't the only losing stock. All three of the major Wall Street indexes have fallen today, marking their worst performance in almost a month.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54.24 points, or 0.28%, to 19,097.9, the S&P 500 lost 11.63 points, or 0.53%, to 2,201.72 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 30.11 points, or 0.56%, to 5,368.81.  

Amazon falls on Cyber Monday

Amazon warehouse
Getty Images

As US stocks end trading, the mighty Amazon is one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq. 

Shares in the online giant have dropped 1.8% despite reports suggesting Cyber Monday will have seen total sales hit a fresh record of a hefty $3.4bn.

Oil prices rise on hope of output cuts

Oil prices rose by more than 2% on Monday, after falling by as much as 2%, as the market reacted to the shaky prospect of major producers being able to agree output cuts at a meeting on Wednesday. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled up $1.02, or 2.21% at $47.08 a barrel. Brent crude rose $1 or 2.12% to $48.24 a barrel. 

Analysts expect prices to remain volatile until OPEC's meeting on Wednesday when it should become clear whether OPEC and non-OPEC producers can agree on cuts in output to tackle global oversupply.

India tries to get tax dodgers to come clean

BBC World Service

Demonstrators against rupee withdrawal
Reuters

The Indian government has introduced plans to tweak tax laws to provide an incentive for tax dodgers to come clean, hoping the offer will bring a huge amount of money back into the economy, reports BBC World Service.

The move comes just weeks after the government suddenly withdrew high-value bank notes, in an attempt to curb corruption. The finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has tabled proposals to impose a 50% tax on cash that cannot be accounted for, as long as it's surrendered by 30 December. 

Any disclosure made after that date will attract a punitive 75% tax, or 85% if the cash is unearthed in a tax raid. 

The recent withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 value rupee notes brought large parts of India's cash economy to a virtual standstill. A day of nationwide protests called by the main opposition Congress party resulted in sporadic demonstrations in many parts of the country(pictured). 

Government aide's Brexit notes glimpsed

A handwritten page of A4 notes being carried by a government adviser leaving Downing Street today, seemed to suggest the Government has already given up on staying in the European single market and will not go for a Norway-style deal, reports the Daily Mail. 

Instead they indicate the UK is looking at a 'Canada-plus' trade arrangement, and will leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice as it does not 'fit' with the PM's determination to curb immigration.

Number 10 dismissed the document and stressed that it did not represent government policy. 

The notes were being carried by an adviser to Mark Field a pro-Remain  Conservative MP who represents the City of London. 

Read more here

New energy companies need more'scrutiny'

BBC Radio 5 live

Gas ring
BBC

A former chief executive of one of the UK's biggest energy suppliers has said that greater scrutiny of new entrants to the market is needed before they get their licence.

Paul Massara, who was in charge of Npower from 2013 to 2015, told BBC Radio 5 live Drive that Ofgem needs to do more to protect consumers.

At the weekend, GB Energy Supply ceased trading.

It said recent energy price rises had made its business untenable.

Ofgem said: "Applicants have to go through a rigorous process to secure a supply licence. We carry out a number of checks before issuing a licence."

Lufthansa pilots' strike

Vereinigung Cockpit badge
Reuters

A quick reminder that Lufthansa pilots go on strike (again) tomorrow. It's part of a two-year-long pay dispute. The Cockpit union has called out members scheduled to fly short-haul routes from Germany on Tuesday and is adding long-haul routes to the walkout on Wednesday. 

Lufthansa sought an injunction today from a Munich labour court to stop Tuesday's strike, but the court rejected the idea. The airline also failed to convince two Frankfurt courts to halt last week's strikes. Lufthansa said it was "examining further possible legal steps". 

Lufthansa says it is now scrapping 816 flights on Tuesday and another 890 on Wednesday. This will affect around 82,000 and 98,000 passengers respectively.

Reagan Rally vs Trump Trade

The stock market rally kicked off by Donald Trump’s victory at the presidential election in November is “no Reagan bull market”, David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff has told the Financial Times.  

Having hit record highs at the end of last week, stock indexes in the US have fallen in Monday trade.

Mr Rosenberg told the FT that circumstances today were different to the eighties, including the fact that interest rates at that time were on the way down, whereas now they're on the way up.  

The Reagan Rally lasted six years,” Mr Rosenberg said. “I give the Trump rally six weeks …at best”.  

Tough times for savers

Piggy bank
PA

If you've got money to save you won't really need to be reminded that interest rates for savers are abysmal.

But the leading financial price comparison service, Moneyfacts, points out that five years ago some of the top rates on savings accounts paid three times as much interest as they do now.

"Providers simply lack the need for savers’ deposits, and there doesn’t appear to be much help on the way to address this problem," says Rachel Springall at Moneyfacts.

“Savers might well be treated to the much-anticipated investment bond from NS&I in the spring, paying 2.20%, but the maximum investment is £3,000, fixed for three years, so it is unlikely to appeal to those with a much larger pot, or those who do not want to tie up their cash over the longer term."

UK rates to stay unchanged

Interest rates in the UK will not change any time soon, if the views of Gertjan Vlieghe prevail.

He is a member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee which cut the UK's base rate to 0.25% in August in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, with the stated prospect of more cuts to come.

But he and the Bank have changed their tune recently.

Speaking at Sheffield University, he said: "For now, given our current economic outlook, and given the level of the exchange rate... the best contribution that monetary policy can make to returning inflation to target while avoiding undesirable volatility in output growth is to keep interest rates where they are now."

Where now for Fairtrade?

Cadbury Dairy Milk wrappers
Matt Cardy

News that the UK's best known chocolate brand, Cadbury, is abandoning its Fairtrade certification has caused some concern in the food industry.

Parent company Mondelez says it plans to bring all Cadbury lines under its existing in-house fair trade scheme, Cocoa Life.

As a result, it says it will offer five times more sustainable chocolate in the UK by 2019.

But critics warn this could confuse consumers.

They also fear that shared standards for ethical trading will be lost if more firms drop Fairtrade. Read more here

End of 'Trump trade'?

Wall Street sign
Getty Images

As at the open, US shares are still trading lower at the moment. 

Kathleen Brookes, Research director at City Index Direct points out that stocks "tend to pull back once they reach record highs as investors take a breather". 

But also, she adds, investor focus "appears to be shifting away from Trump’s shock Presidential win, to political risk elsewhere, notably Italy". ahead of Sunday's referendum. 

"If Italy does not vote to change its constitution at its referendum on Sunday, then the market could be on high alert for the collapse of the Italian government, the potential collapse of Italy’s bank bailout program, which poses a risk to eight of Italy’s major lenders," she says. 

"Overall, the outcome of Italy’s referendum could be bad news for risky assets globally, at least in the short term, which is another reason why the market is slightly cautious at the start of a new week.

However, while she says "the Trump trade", which has boosted US shares and the dollar since the election, could start to slow down, she doubts it will disappear completely. "As political risk crosses the Atlantic to Europe, this makes US assets continue to look attractive to traders."

Deutsche Telekom hit by hack attack?

BBC World Service

Deutsche Telekom logo
Getty Images

The German phone service provider Deutsche Telekom says hackers may have cut the internet connections of almost a million users, reports BBC World Service.

The disruption has been going on since Sunday and is affecting routers - the devices that connect households to the internet. 

The company says the number of affected customers has now fallen to 400,000 as security measures have been implemented.

Boeing claims 'victory'

Aerospace company responds to WTO tax order

Today's decision is a complete victory for the United States, Washington State and Boeing. The WTO found in September that Airbus has received $22bn in illegal subsidies from the EU and that without these subsidies neither Airbus itself nor any of its airplanes would even exist today. By contrast, in rejecting virtually every claim made by the EU in this case, the WTO found today that Boeing has not received a penny of impermissible subsidies. The WTO has repeatedly found that Airbus is entirely a creature of government, and they must now bring themselves into compliance with the international laws or risk massive sanctions. In light of today's decision and the massive liability that the WTO has found against the EU and Airbus, we expect the EU and Airbus to appeal today's decision. After any appeal, we fully expect Boeing to preserve every aspect of the Washington state incentives, including the 777X revenue tax rate.

J. Michael LuttigGeneral counsel, Boeing

FTSE 100 closes down

Blurred woman walks past London Stock Exchange sign
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 has closed down by 41.28 points or 0.60% at 6,799.47.  

One of the biggest fallers was Royal Bank of Scotland, which fell by 2.93%, ahead of the publication of the Bank of England's stress test results on Wednesday.   

In Europe banking shares have come under pressure ahead of Sunday's referendum in Italy.If the government loses then the country's bank bailout programme could collapse. 

The three top gainers of the day were all mining companies, Randgold, up by 4.37% and Fresnillo - up by 3.49% and Polymetal International up by 3.42%.

They were boosted by a more than 1% rise in gold prices.

Do umbrellas cause rain?

Sterling notes and coins
Getty Images

Are low interest rates counterproductive, either for the economy as a whole, or for a particular sector of the economy? Independent Bank of England Monetary Policy member Gertjan Vlieghe  is giving a speech at Sheffield University in which he examines the very question. 

The MPC has kept the bank rate at 0.25% even though inflation is expected to be 0.5% above its target at the end of the forecast period because, he says, if the MPC tried to bring inflation down faster by putting up rates then that would hit growth and push up unemployment. 

"The reason why the current policy rate is so low relative to history in the UK as well as in many other advanced economies, is that monetary policy is responding to persistent global disinflationary forces. It has been raining, so we have all opened our umbrellas,” said Mr Vlieghe.

However, some people argue that lower interest rates cause the problems.

Mr Vlieghe disagrees. “Umbrellas together with rainfall are observed in many countries. Nobody actually believes that umbrellas cause rainfall," he says. 

“We have had several low interest rate, low inflation countries that have raised interest rates over the past decade. This was not followed by an escape from the alleged confidence trap. Higher interest rates, far from boosting demand and inflation, have caused growth to slow and inflation to fall,” he says.

The argument that low rates hurt savers ignores the fact that savers hold non-deposit assets which benefit from low interest rates, he says. Addressing the idea that pensioners suffer as a result of low interest rates, he argues that pensioners have seen faster income growth than non-retired households since the financial crisis.

Having examined the effect of low interest rates on different groups Mr Vliegh concludes that “there is no evidence that monetary stimulus has hurt them, once the broader effects of monetary policy on employment, wages, profits and the prices of widely held assets are also taken into account”.

Read the speech here

Online-only challenger bank launches

A New online-only challenger bank "Masthaven" has launched today.

Eighty per cent of Masthaven's staff are shareholders in the bank, and it describes itself as the "only owner-managed challenger bank with a partnership model".  

Masthaven got its retail banking licence in April and has since been recruiting close to 100 people, building the technology platform and testing the products with customers.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby said: “We want our financial services industry to be the most competitive and innovative in the world, delivering greater choice and value for customers. 

"New digital banks entering the market are a key part of this vision and help to cement the UK’s leading position as a global FinTech hub. I am delighted that Masthaven is now open for business and look forward to seeing it flourish as a new player in retail banking.”

WTO rules Boeing tax break was prohibited

Boeing factory
Reuters

More on that story we were reporting on earlier - and the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled that a tax break from Washington state to help Boeing develop its new 777X jetliner was a prohibited subsidy.

The WTO said the subsidy came in the form of a renewed cut in Washington state's main business tax for aerospace agreed in 2013, when Boeing was deciding where to base the jet's assembly plant.  

The WTO rejected a complaint by the European Union against six further tax measures.

It didn't put a value on the prohibited aid, but the EU reckoned it was $5.7bn (£4.6bn) out of an $8.7bn package of tax measures in Washington, where most of Boeing's factories are based. Airbus said the measures had cost it $50 billion in sales.

Fukushima 'clean-up costs double'

BBC World Service

Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 after it was hit by a tsunami
Getty Images

Japanese officials estimate the cost of cleaning up radioactive material in Fukushima and compensating victims who lived near the damaged nuclear site have more than doubled, reports BBC World Service.

Japanese media reports say the country's trade ministry estimates it will now cost more than $180bn (£145bn) to clean up towns and villages around the plant that was destroyed in 2011's earthquake and tsunami. 

Tens of thousands of people who were forced to flee the zone around Fukushima will also receive long-term compensation.

The Japanese authorities had promised that TEPCO, the company that owns the plant, would pay for the cleanup, but now it says that Japanese citizens will foot most of the bill for the clean up operation through higher electricity bills. 

US stocks fall at open

Wall Street traders
Reuters

The three key US stock indexes which ended last week at record highs have all kicked off the new trading week lower.  

The Dow Jones was at 19,092.90 - a fall of 59.24 points or 0.31%.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 18.04 points or 0.33% at 5,380.88. 

And the S&P 500 was at 2,207.62, that's down 5.73 points or 0.26%.

Financial and consumer companies performed the worst.

The three indexes have been hitting record levels following the surprise election of Donald Trump as investors anticipate he introduce business-friendly policies and pump money into infrastructure spending. 

Skills shortages worry SMEs

Finding skilled staff is the biggest challenge facing small firms with five employees or more, a new report has found. 

London-based small firms are worst hit by the skills shortage, followed by those in the South-east and North-west of England, according to independent venture capital company Albion Ventures. 

The manufacturing sector was the most worried about finding skilled staff, followed by the technology & telecoms sector and the construction sector. 

On the other hand recruiting unskilled staff ranks fifteenth in the list of the challenges facing small and medium sized companies. 

The report says half of all firms with more than five employees intend to increase staff numbers over the next two years.

China's cultural commitment

BBC World Service

China will invest more than $2bn (£1.6bn) to build a film and television studio as part of the country's push to expand its cultural influence, reports BBC World Service.

The studio will include multiple production facilities, a theme park and a training centre. China is already the world's second-largest film market. 

Chinese investors have already bought significant shares of major Hollywood studios and cinema chains.

Bird's CEO Secrets

Big Issue founder John Bird shares his business advice:

CEO Secrets: Big Issue founder on the key to success

Norway talks 'next month'

Britain and Norway will begin a dialogue on trade policy in December, the UK ambassador to Oslo told a business conference in Oslo. 

Ambassador Sarah Gillett said: "What's really is important [in Norwegian-British trade relations], is the launch of a trade policy dialogue, which we expect to begin next month".

Norway twice voted n" to joining the EU in referendums, but has a comprehensive trade agreement with the bloc through its membership of the European Economic Area.  

Dollar strength hits sterling

Cash
Getty Images

Sterling is down sharply today and is now just under $1.24.

How come? Neil Wilson at ETX Capital says:

We have dollar strength renewed today, with the greenback bouncing back up close to 14-year highs. That’s put pressure on GBP/USD again, which is down more than 0.6% today. Today’s OECD report saying Britain would have one of the lowest growth rates has only added to concern about the health of the UK economy post-Brexit. Meanwhile, the OECD gave firm backing for Donald Trump’s economic plans."

The slide in sterling has also dragged the FTSE 100 lower, down 0.5% to 6,807 points.

Southern boss condemns ballot

In the wake of the Aslef strike ballot, Charles Horton - chief executive of Southern operator Govia Thameslink - said it was "wholly unnecessary and unjustified".  

"It’s perfectly safe for the driver to have sole responsibility for the operation of a modern train, and that's how a third of the trains up and down the country - with the full agreement and support of Aslef - already operate today," he said.

"The travelling public has already suffered months of misery and hardship as a result of the RMT's pointless series of strikes. We urge Aslef to get round the table with us to continue our talks and resolve their dispute without causing further unnecessary grief to passengers."

Tata Steel talks

Steel
Getty Images

Tata Steel has moved closer to selling its speciality steels business in a move that would secure jobs across the UK. 

The Indian-owned firm said it had signed a letter of intent with Liberty House Group for exclusive talks about the potential sale of the business for £100m.

It covers several South Yorkshire-based assets, including the Rotherham electric arc steelworks, the steel purifying facility in Stocksbridge and a mill in Brinsworth, as well as service centres in Bolton and Wednesbury. 

Speciality Steels employs about 1,700 workers, who produce steel for the aerospace, automotive and oil and gas industries. 

BreakingSouthern drivers to strike

Southern trains
Getty Images

Drivers on Southern Railway have voted to strike in a dispute over driver-only trains, according to the union, Aslef.

Union leaders will meet shortly to decide what to do next.

Southern has suffered a series of walkouts since April over the role of conductors.

Lufthansa seeks strike ban

Lufthansa
Getty Images

Lufthansa has asked a labour court in Munich for a temporary injunction to avert further strikes by its pilots.

On Sunday pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit announced further Lufthansa strikes for Tuesday and Wednesday, after talks at the end of a four-day walkout failed to settle a long-running pay dispute. 

A labour court in Frankfurt last week rejected a request for an injunction.   

More on the row here.

High Street's win Black Friday battle - report

Black Friday signs
Reuters

High Streets seemed to have faired better than retail parks and shopping centres over the Black Friday weekend, according to research from Springboard.

It tracked how many shoppers were out (footfall) over the three days.

From Friday to Sunday its data showed a 1.4% increase in footfall on UK High Streets compared with last year.

But visits to retail parks were down 1.8% and shopping centres saw a 3.2% fall in footfall over the Friday to Sunday period, compared with last year.

According to Springboard's report, online transactions rose by just 2.3% "indicating that the growth in the event appears to have largely peaked".

Why plane makers need subsidies

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Airbus factory
Getty Images

The reality is that neither Boeing nor Airbus can exist without government subsidies - the development costs of new aircraft are just too big, the risks and rewards too great for them to stay out of it. Boeing gets money from NASA and the Department of Defense, Airbus from very, very cheap government loans. 

For years this was the case and an uneasy truce reigned over the world aerospace market throughout the 1990 and beyond. Then in 2004, all hell broke loose and the lawyers on both sides have been at each others throats for 12 years - a nice little earner for them.

The world's longest running and costliest trade dispute does shed some interesting light on the workings of the World Trade Organisation - a body the UK may get to know a bit better in the coming months and years if the UK leaves the EU without striking a replacement trade deal.

The lessons are this. Disputes take years, are rarely conclusively settled and do not take the heat out of international trade disputes.

FTSE 100 heads lower again

FTSE 100
Bloomberg

As you can see from the chart above, it's been down, up and down again for the FTSE 100 so far this morning.

A short while ago the benchmark index was down 0.7%, with banks leading the market lower.

Sky is also a notable loser, down more than 2%.

When improbables become reality

Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor at Allianz, tells the BBC's Dominic O'Connell why everyone should get used to less certainty in the world following the election of Donald Trump in the US and Brexit.  

Mohamed El-Erian