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Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

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Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all from today. More tomorrow, including Sainsbury's results and and update from Majestic Wine on how much plonk they shifted during Christmas. Join us from 06:00.

Serious clowning

John Oliver
Getty Images

In the US if you want to be a serious broadcaster, then start out as a comedian. US satellite radio network SiriusXM is launching a whole channel to discuss politics and policy, news agency AP reports. But learning from the success of the John Stewart's Daily Show and Last Week Tonight hosted by John Oliver (pictured), the channel will use comedians to present weighty issues in a digestible manner, the report says.

HTC results


Taiwan smartphone maker HTC posted $14.7m profit for the final three months of 2014, up more than 50% on a year ago, but down on the prior three-month period. In October HTC began selling new products including the Desire Eye smartphone.

Pension scheme deficits

Pension deficits in defined benefit schemes (the nice ones you don't see any more) at FTSE 350 firms almost doubled during 2014 to £107bn, according to research by pension consultants Mercer. Falling returns on government and corporate debt investments were partly to blame, according to Mercer.

All the answers

piggy banks

Economists at Goldman Sachs answer five questions concerning the UK economy this year. They think the recovery will be sustained, wage growth will pick up, inflation will remain low and interest rates will rise. They are less sure about the General Election result, saying the likelihood of any party gaining an overall majority "appears low".

Oil price

World Service

Kuwaiti oil trader
Getty Images

How low can it go? The oil price is down at $50 a barrel and oil watcher Amrita Sen tells

Business Daily on the World Service that "panic" in the markets means traders don't know where the floor is anymore. Listen again to this morning's programme

Via Email

Shopping season

Jon Copestake

Retail Analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit

House of Fraser's success highlights the sustained period of sales shopping, especially online, that began with Black Friday... Yesterday John Lewis added a note of reason to the shopping frenzy that took place over Black Friday weekend, and the positive sales figures may be dampened by the erosion of margins that a month of discounting brought... There was little or no let-up in the opportunity for consumers to shop during the entire month, which could mean an even sharper fall-back in demand in January.

Via Twitter

How to spend it?

Richard Taylor

North America Technology Correspondent


tweets: The $6000 Android smartphone from @Lamborghini -calf leather, gold-rim, shatter-proof. Heavy, solid, pricey! #CES2015

Lloyds seeks exemption

Lloyds sign

Lloyds Banking Group wants an exemption from one key part of a new set of rules designed to stop a banking crisis, reports

the Financial Times on its front page today. Under the rules banks have to separate their high-street banking operation from more riskier parts of the business. Also, both of those areas are required to have separate boards of directors, a measure which Lloyds thinks, in its case, is unnecessary, the FT reports.

Via Email

UK service sector slows

Chris Sood-Nicholls

Head of Global Services at Lloyds Bank

"While there may have been a small check in December's rebound, the services sector is growing strongly, which is good news for job creation but also another indicator of the UK's robust economic performance as we head into 2015. Businesses will need to exercise caution and keep a close eye on cash flow this year as wage bills push up operating costs, but also be in the right financial position to capitalise on opportunities that the market presents."

'False price' of oil

BBC World News

Iain Armstrong, Brewin Dolphin

"This is a false price," says Iain Armstrong from Brewin Dolphin

about oil at $50 a barrel. He says that over the last four years the cost of finding and developing oil has risen from around $25 a barrel to approximately $33 a barrel. A rule of thumb says that the oil price should be three times that cost, so around $90 a barrel, would be a more realistic level according to Mr Armstrong.

Credit card lending

Bank of England credit survey
Bank of England

Lenders saw the sharpest rise in demand for credit card lending since records began in the final quarter of last year. That's according to the

Bank of England's survey of credit conditions. Some lenders attributed the rise to "successful marketing campaigns" and "product enhancements", according to the report. Also criteria for credit card approval loosened and there was a "significant decline" in the credit quality of new lending. Should we be worried?

Clydesdale boss quits

National Australia Bank said David Thorburn has quit as chief executive of the lender's Clydesdale Bank. He joined the bank in 1993 and led it for four years. NAB said last year it was looking for ways to exit the UK, where it also owns Yorkshire Bank.

Safe havens

10 year bund yield

The financial markets are nervous about the Greek election later this month and European growth prospects. As a result investors are buying German government debt, which is seen as a safe bet. Yields on the 10-year bund have hit a record low of 0.4842% - the chart above shows the last three trading sessions. French bond yields have also hit a record low.

Bank lending

UK banks may cut lending growth in the next three months, according to the Bank of England. The bank's survey of credit conditions indicated the sharpest fall in household demand for mortgages since the third quarter of 2008. Meanwhile, there was the biggest increase in demand for credit card lending since records began in early 2007.

Asda price cuts

Asda store
Getty Images

Asda has announced its biggest single price drop. The supermarket chain is spending £300m on price cuts in the first three months of this year. It will focus on "essentials" including fruit, vegetables, cereals, nappies, toilet rolls, milk, eggs, meat and fish.

UK service sector slows

Momentum in the UK services sector slowed at the end of last year according to the

latest purchasing manager's index from Markit and CIPS. Its business activity index registered 55.8 in December the lowest reading in 19 months. However, any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

"What's going on at Ibrox? No, I dunno either. But now into takeover territory.

Concert parties + 3 Bears explained"

Entertainment One deal

Entertainment One website
Entertainment One

The production company behind hit TV shows Grey's Anatomy and the movies Saving Private Ryan and Speed is selling control to Canada's

Entertainment One. It is paying $132m for a controlling stake in the Mark Gordon Company with an option to buy the entire company in seven years. Entertainment One distributes the Hunger Games films in Canada and Spain.

House of Fraser

This is what retail analyst Nick Bubb makes of the

Christmas trading update from House of Fraser (HOF): "A good performance, reflecting the strength of HOF's online operation under Andy Harding and they have been quite clever about discounting, avoiding the "price-matching" battle of Debenhams and John Lewis. Unfortunately, HOF still doesn't really make any money and that is because of the rising costs of online distribution and fulfilment."

Affordable homes

BBC Breakfast


According to research done for BBC Breakfast, 37% of Brits can't afford to buy a home where they live. The map above shows affordability, with the darkest areas having the highest percentage of housing beyond the means of residents. You can check where you can afford to live on the

BBC's website.

Market update

Shares in London have edged lower, with the

FTSE 100 down 8 points in the early going. Equipment rental firm Ashtead has slumped 7.6% after shares in a US rival slumped on Monday.

Newspaper review

Business pages

The business pages today are dominated by Monday's slide in oil prices and shares. It is the lead on the Financial Times and the business sections of the Telegraph, Times and Guardian newspapers. In the Times, deputy business editor Andrew Clark looks ahead to Thursday's trading statement from Marks and Spencer. M&S shares dropped 4% on Monday over concern over Christmas trading.



Hyundai Motor Group plans to spend 81 trillion won ($73.7bn, £48bn) in the next four years on factories, research and building new headquarters. The carmaker said that would increase average yearly spend by 35% on 2014.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser has reported like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 3 January, up 8% on the previous year. Online sales were up 31% and stores were up 4.2%. HoF also expects "further growth in full year earnings".

That's ruburb

BBC Breakfast

It's a new year, so how about a new word to bandy around: ruburb. Not to be confused with rhubarb, a ruburb is a suburb in a rural area. On BBC

Breakfast Richard Jenkins from Experian says that rising prices are pushing commuters further and further into the countryside hence the growth of ruburbs.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Business Correspondent


DX buys £1.1m assets from Citylink and says trying to find roles for people made redundant"

Affordable Homes?

BBC Breakfast


Richard Jenkins of credit firm Experian is on Breakfast talking about some new research on home affordability. It will shock no-one that London and the South East has the biggest proportion of people who can't afford a home. The surprise is the South West. Outsiders buying second homes have driven up prices, making it less affordable for locals he says.

CES gadget show

BBC Breakfast

Rory Cellan Jones

Las Vegas is filling up with "all the world's geeks" says Rory Cellan-Jones who is reporting on the CES gadget show. Despite massive hype wearable technology has not really taken off he says. But this might be the year for smart watches and devices which track our health. We learn that Rory has a 28% body fat percentage which we estimate is about the same as a chocolate biscuit.

Rangers bid rejected

The board of Rangers Football Club has rejected a

takeover approach from Robert Sarver, the American owner of the Phoenix Suns. In a statement Rangers said that "notwithstanding the current financial difficulties, the proposal does not adequately value a controlling interest in the Company".

Rolls Royce sales

BBC Radio 4


Rolls-Royce sold a record 4,063 cars in 2014. Chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos told the

Today programme about 80% of buyers are entrepreneurs and business owners. The rest are celebrities. Do they jump in the front seat? "Many drive themselves" rather than getting Parker to do it, he says.

Las Vegas gadget show

Radio 5 live

Samsung TV
Getty Images

This year the average size of TV screens is expected to hit a whopping 43 inches, says Zoe Kleinman, BBC technology reporter. She is at the

CES gadget show in Las Vegas, which gets underway today. Samsung and Sony are both launching "ultra-high" definition TVs which are also very thin.

Ring-fenced banks

BBC Radio 4

Today is the deadline for banks to submit their plans to insulate their retail operations from their more risky operations. But on

Today Peter Hahn of Cass Business School wonders whether the strategy will prevent another banking crisis: "The idea of retail banking is less risky is a myth… it's a different type of risk."

Markets decline

BBC Radio 4

Brenda Kelly, chief market strategy at IG is on the

Today programme talking about the kerfuffle in the markets. Oil is down again. Isn't that good? "For the normal Joe Soap it's a good thing," she says. But it could herald less welcome news. "It looks like China is slowing down and even the US is self sufficient on energy." The other factor spooking investors is the possibility of Greece's exit of the eurozone. "This is a serious possibility," she says.

Rolls-Royce new model?

Radio 5 live

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Torsten Muller Otvos

This will be the year that Rolls-Royce decides whether to build a four-by-four model, the company's chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos (pictured) tells

Radio 5 live. The company needs to be "totally convinced" it fits with its brand he adds.

Greek election

Radio 5 live

There is a "poker game" between Berlin and Greece's Syriza, the left-wing party that has a chance of winning elections later this month, says George Christides correspondent for German news magazine Der Spiegel in Thessaloniki, Greece. If Syriza wins it will bargain hard with creditors and it thinks Germany will "back down" and allow some form of debt cancellation and easing of austerity measures, says Mr Christides on

Radio 5 live.

Markets update

Following a slump in shares on Wall Street yesterday, Tokyo's benchmark
Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 2.6% to 16,953.23 in morning trade. On the currency markets the euro is hovering around a nine-year low. The
Japanese yen, seen by currency traders as a safe-haven, rose to 118.95 to the dollar.

Oil prices

Radio 5 live

West Texas Intermediate Crude

US oil prices have steadied in Asian trading. As the chart above shows, late on Monday West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $50 a barrel for the first time since April 2009. On

Radio 5 live Brenda Kelly from IG says she doesn't see oil prices going any lower than $45 a barrel.

Ben Morris

Business Reporter

The markets are a bit wobbly this morning, so we'll be keeping an eye on that. Do get in touch, you can email us at and tweet us @bbcbusiness.

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

Good morning everyone. Today there will be some Bank of England deposit data. We'll bring you that as well as the rest of today's biggest business news. Stay with us.