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Summary

  1. Wall Street closes sharply lower as oil price dips briefly below $30
  2. 'No compensation' for UK Volkswagen drivers
  3. General Motors raises profit forecast for 2016

Live Reporting

By Richard Anderson

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye for now

    That's all for today folks. We'll be back bright and early in the morning at 06:00.

  2. Wall Street closes sharply lower

    US traders

    After a bright start, Wall Street has spent the day in reverse, ending the session down sharply after the oil price dipped below $30 a barrel, albeit very briefly.

    The main Dow Jones index closed down 365 points, or 2.2%, at 16,151.41. Only one stock - energy giant Exxon Mobil - gained ground, rising 0.6%.

    The wider S&P 500 was down 2.5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq was 3.4% lower.

    Brent oil is currently trading at $30.22 a barrel, with US light crude at $30.62.

  3. Fed Reserve sees modest growth

    The US Federal Reserve's Beige Book - the bank's regular survey of the state of the American economy - has painted a generally positive picture of moderate growth.

    Improvements in the labor market and slightly stronger consumer spending were, however, partially offset by the strong dollar, it said.

    Meanwhile energy companies continued to suffer from low oil prices.

  4. 'Sweetners' to tempt GE

    Being the "centre of ecosystem" is one thing, but reports suggest other factors may also have contributed to GE's decision to move.

    Reuters reports that the state of Massachusetts offered the company $120m in grants and other financial incentives to persuade it to move to Boston, with the city kicking in another $25m in tax relief.

  5. GE confirms HQ move

    General Electric has confirmed that it will move its headquarters to Boston. Chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said:

    Quote Message: "We want to be at the centre of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations. Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities. Massachusetts spends more on research and development than any other region in the world, and Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world. We are excited to bring our headquarters to this dynamic and creative city."
  6. Al Jazeera America pushes the off button

    Al Jazeera America will close by the end of April, less than three years after the cable news channel first went to air. Management said that the channel's business model was "no longer sustainable", Capital New York reported

    The channel's Qatar owners paid a reported $500m for Current TV, the struggling news channel co-founded by Al Gore in 2005, in January 2013 and rebranded it.

  7. BreakingHomebase set for £340m sale

    Homebase

    Home Retail Group, the owner of Homebase, has confirmed it is in advanced talks to sell the DIY chain to Australian retailer Wesfarmers for £340m.

    It owns Australia's biggest home improvement retailer, Bunnings, as well as the Coles supermarket chain.

    Talks with Wesfarmers, which made a firm offer in November and has now completed due diligence, were continuing and a deal could still collapse.

  8. Wall Street sinks

    US traders

    The bright start to US trading is now but a distant memory, with the Dow Jones index falling pretty consistently ever since. The index is now down 220 points, or 1.3%, at 16,295.

    "It's becoming quite apparent that any strength is being used to trim or exit positions as opposed to taking on new positions in the market," says Ryan Larson at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.

    The broader S&P 500 is faring even worse, shedding 1.55%.

  9. Bank of England denies FCA intervention

    Bank of England

    The Bank of England has denied it had any role in the decision by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to scrap a review into the culture of the banking sector. 

    The move follows a Financial Times report on Tuesday that a senior official at the Bank, Megan Butler, oversaw plans by the FCA - the City watchdog - to drop the inquiry into whether banks had changed their working culture. 

    A statement read: "The Bank of England had no influence or role in the Financial Conduct Authority's decision to drop its thematic review on culture and it would be wrong to suggest otherwise. The Bank of England has consistently raised issues around banking culture and over the last year has completed its review into fair and effective markets and introduced rules on the senior managers' regime and bankers' bonuses which aim to improve accountability across the sector." 

  10. Nissan websites driven offline

    Nissan

    Two Nissan websites have been driven offline by a cyber-attack. The Japanese car maker said it had suspended its global and Japanese sites on Wednesday after they were bombarded with traffic.

    Hacktivists linked to the Anonymous collective have claimed responsibility. They tweeted the attack was "punishment" for Japan's killing of whales and dolphins.

    Nissan has said that it has no view on such hunting activities.

  11. GE to move HQ

    GE headquarters

    The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that US conglomerate General Electric will announce on Thursday that it will move its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston, citing the usual "source familiar with the situation".

    The company declined to comment on the speculation.

  12. Oil at $10 a barrel?

    We're back at $10 again. Listen here to a discussion with Eddie Mair on Radio 4's PM programme about what might be if the oil price plummeted...

    Video content

    Video caption: What would the world look like if oil fell to $10 a barrel?
  13. Germany 'betting big' on electric cars

    Electric car

    The German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to put €2bn ($2.2bn; £1.5bn) towards encouraging drivers to buy an electric car, according to Die Zeit newspaper.

    This would be in the form of a government subsidy, the paper says.

    The German government, which is betting heavily on renewable energy and has turned its back on nuclear power, wants to speed up the take up of electric cars as part of its overall plans to move away from fossil fuels.

  14. FTSE 100 closes higher despite late dip

    London Stock Exchange

    A late dip on the FTSE 100 wiped out some of the gains made earlier in the day, but the index closed up 31.73 points, or 0.5%, at 5,960.97.

    BP led the way, rising 4% after the oil price recovered slightly. The market closed before traders could react to a late dip in oil.  

    Drugmaker Shire also performed well, rising 3.8% after recovering some of the sharp losses it sustained earlier in the week following the announcement of a £22bn deal to take over Baxalta.

    In France, the Cac 40 closed up 0.2%, while Germany's Dax was down 0.4%.

  15. Dutch police 'crack Blackberry'

    Dutch police have confirmed reports that they have hacked into messages on Blackberry data-encrypted smartphones, reports the AFP news agency.

    The reports first surfaced in December, but today the Netherlands Forensic Institute said: "We can confirm that these reports were indeed from NFI".

    Blackberry has long prided itself on being the most secure mobile service.

    In reponse to the NFI's claim, the Canadian company said: "We are confident that BlackBerry provides the world's most secure communications platform to government, military and enterprise customers." 

    "We cannot comment on this claim as we don't have any details on the specific device or the way that it was configured, managed or otherwise protected".

  16. Wall Street heads south

    US traders

    The early morning optimism didn't last long - Wall Street has slipped into the red and seems to be taking European markets with it. The Dow is down more than 40 points at 16,475.78.

    The oil price has also dipped, with Brent now down more than 1% at $30.50 a barrel and US crude at $30.26.