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Summary

  1. Ford to cut jobs to save $200m in Europe
  2. Brent crude rises 2.3% to $33.47
  3. GlaxoSmithKline reports annual pre-tax profit of £10.5bn
  4. Yahoo to cut its workforce by 15%
  5. FTSE 100 index lower by 0.23% at 5,908.13

Live Reporting

By Matthew West

All times stated are UK

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  1. Foxtons to pay special dividend

    Foxtons sign

    Estate agent Foxtons has said it will pay a special dividend to shareholders, after a year of strong sales growth despite a fall in property transactions in London. Foxtons said sales rose 4% in the year to the end of December.

    The FTSE 250 firm says it will pay a special dividend for 2015 at 6.23p per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 11p per share - an increase of 13.4% on 2014.

  2. SSE 'likely' to close Fiddler's Ferry coal powered station

    Energy firm SSE says it will probably close three out of four units at its Fiddler's Ferry coal-fired power plant near Manchester from 1 April. It blames competition from other forms of electricity generation as well as the advanced age of the station.

    If SSE decides to shut down the units, the company will face a penalty of around £33m for breaching a capacity delivery agreement, it says.

    Quote Message: Although a final decision has not yet been taken, SSE's expectation is that (subject to consultation) it is likely to close three of the four units from 1 April 2016 and it is informing the market accordingly. from SSE statement
    SSE statement
  3. FT journalists call off strike action

    Financial Times newspaper

    Journalists at the Financial Times have called off their planned strike over changes to their pension scheme, the National Union of Journalists has announced.

    Senior management from the FT and NUJ bosses met over two days at the offices of arbitration service, ACAS. 

    ACAS says the two sides were able to work together to achieve a revised pensions offer sufficient for the NUJ to call off the strike planned for Thursday.

  4. Mondelez reports $729m quaterly loss

    Cadburys chocolates

    Mondelez International, the maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies, has reported a loss of $729m in the three months to the end of December, compared with net income of $500m a year earlier.

    The company says it took a charge of $778m due to a change in its accounting methods for its Venezuela operations. But it was also hurt by the strong dollar and weak demand in Europe. 

    Shares in the company have fallen nearly 5% to $39.88 on Wall Street.

    The company has been raising prices in markets such as Europe and Latin America to cushion the impact of the strong dollar, but this has led to lower sales.

    Sales in Europe, the company's biggest market, fell 1.1% in the quarter.

    Total revenue fell 16.6% to $7.36bn in the period.

  5. FTSE 100 closes down for third day

    London's FTSE 100 has closed down 1.46% at 5,837.14 having clawed back some losses from earlier today when it was around 2% lower.

    Banks have suffered steep losses with Barclays down 4.7% at 165.60p, and Royal Bank of Scotland down 3.6% at 232.80p. HSBC shares were 3.88% lower at 449.45p, Standard Chartered shares were 4.3% lower at 414.20p and Lloyds Banking Group down just over 2% at 60.69p

  6. German bond yields hit all time low

    The yield on German two-year government bonds has dipped below minus 0.5% for the first time, as global market volatility is leading investors to look for safe havens.

    Expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) may increase or extend its massive bond buying programme are also driving yields lower and lower, according to the Financial Times.

    Yields now stand at a new all time low of minus 0.505 per cent after dropping another 2 basis points today (meaning prices have risen).

    Global government bond yields have been on the march lower after the Bank of Japan decided to cut interest rates into negative territory for the first time in history last week. Meanwhile, the ECB could announce an extension to its quantitative easing programme as early as March.

  7. Why are bank shares down today?

    Blame former hedge fund managerRaoul Pal. He's been on CNBC today telling the US broadcaster that he thinks a lot of European banks can't handle negative interest rates and, as a result, the European Central Bank isn't helping them much. He also thinks their balance sheets aren't as well capitalised as they want investors to believe and that they may be holding quite a bit of commodity and oil firm debt, which could go bad if commodity prices don't recover soon. 

    Mr Pal thinks things are "terrifying". Deutsche Bank, Santander, Barclays, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland are among those banks he thinks are in genuine trouble. He thinks part of that has to do with their ownership of European government debt combined with low bond yields, the slowdown in China and collapse in energy prices.

  8. Dow Jones 150 points lower

    The Dow Jones has fallen 150 points following that weak services data and seems to have dragged European indices with it. 

    It is 0.98% lower at 15,994.93, taking it back below 16,000 after losing 295 points on Tuesday and despite an improvement in oil prices.

    The weak services data has also sent the FTSE down 2% to 5,798.28, while Germany's Dax and France's Cac-40 are down more than 2% at 9,367.09 and 4,183.63 respectively.

  9. US services sector slows for third month

    Activity in the US services sector fell in January for the third month in a row, a closely watched survey has shown.

    The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers' index for non-manufacturing activity fell to 53.5 in January from 55.8 in December. The fall in the PMI index for services was more than expected, Wall Street analysts had forecast a fall in activity but did not expect it to be as sharp.

    That said, the index remains above the 50 mark which indicates growth.

  10. British Airways to begin flights to Tehran

    Heathrow airport

    British Airways has announced the resumption of flights to the Iranian capital. 

    Direct flights from Heathrow airport to Tehran will being on 14 July.

    Six flights a week will be offered initially before BA moves to daily flights from this winter.

  11. Lloyds closing 29 branches

    Lloyds Bank logo

    Lloyds Banking Group is also closing 29 branches although once again the branch closures were announced as part of a three year plan to close 200 branches announced back in 2014. 

    It's not clear yet which branches are being close as the bank won't yet say. It says this is because bank staff are still being informed of the closures. What it has said it the branch closures are across all three of its brands Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank. 

  12. Lloyds Bank axes 1585 jobs

    Lloyds Banking Group has announced the latest round of redundancies as part of its planned 9,000 reduction in headcount. 

    It says 1585 jobs are to go within its retail, group operations, commercial banking, consumer finance, legal and finance teams.

    However, as mentioned the job losses are part of a three year redundancy programme first announced in 2014.

  13. US shares open mixed

    Wall Street traders

    US shares have had a mixed start to trading as oil prices recovered some losses and data showed the US private sector added more jobs than expected. 

    The Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.18% at 16,182.71, the S&P 500 was unchanged at 1,903.03 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.27% at 4,504.788.

  14. General Motors reports record annual profit

    General Motors cars

    General Motors has reported a record net profit of $9.7bn for 2015 helped by strong sales of SUVs and pickup trucks in North America.

    The car manufacturing giant also reaffirmed its profit forecast for this year despite signs car sales are peaking.

    In the fourth quarter GM reported $2.8bn in earnings.

    Despite the strong earnings shares in the car makers fell 1.5% to $29.20, and has dropped 12% so far this year.

  15. Bailey at the Treasury Select Committee

    Andrew Bailey

    The new chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority and current Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Bailey, is being grilled now by MPs on the Treasury Select Committee. I'll keep you posted on anything of significance that he says.

  16. GSK break up 'unlikely'

    Exterior of GlaxoSmithKline building

    Earlier we mentioned fund manager Neil Woodford's comments of a couple of weeks ago when he said GSK should be split up to simplify the structure.   

    Well, he could be disappointed by GSK boss Andrew Witty's pronouncement on the matter. He's told reporters today, following the profits announcement, that a spin-off of the group's consumer division is very unlikely in the short term. 

  17. Late shift

    Matthew West

    Business reporter

    Afternoon everyone and thanks to Tom and Russell once again for manning the livepage this morning. We've still got a fairly busy afternoon ahead of us so do stay with me.

  18. Revenant remains box office hit

    Di Caprio

    Oscar-tipped film The Revenant has held on to the top spot in the UK box office chart for a third week. The film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a frontiersman fighting for survival, took £2.28m. The Revenant's total after 17 days on UK release is now £16.09m. 

    Hot on its heels was the Robert De Niro comedy Dirty Grandpa, which came in at number two with £2.05m, despite having received a critical mauling. De Niro's film, which also stars Zac Efron, also made £605,000 in previews.

  19. Listen: 'You can't just ban Twinkies'

    Dr Darius Lakdawalla tells Business Daily that banning or taxing sugary drinks and junk food does not solve the problem of bad health, because people find alternatives that are often just as bad for their health.

    Video content

    Video caption: Simply banning sugary foods or taxing them won't improve peoples' health, says an expert.