Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. European markets end lower after 5% fall in Tokyo
  2. UK goods trade gap biggest on record
  3. Fracking public inquiry to begin
  4. Uber offers black cab 'olive branch'
  5. Google boss becomes America's best-paid chief executive

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. End of the road

    Stop sign

    That's all from me today - join us again from 06:00 for all of Wednesday's business news and views.

  2. The Force is with Disney

    Walt Disney reported a 13.8% rise in quarterly revenue to $15.2bn, driven by the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Net profit for the three months to 2 January rose $700m to a record $2.88bn. 

  3. Burberry sues JC Penney

    Burberry

    Burberry is suing US retailer JC Penney, accusing it of trademark infringement for selling outerwear with exact copies of its famous "Burberry check" pattern. 

    In a complaint filed in US district court in Manhattan, Burberry accused JC Penney of illegally selling "quilted jackets" with the pattern, as well as "scarf coats" in which scarves carrying the pattern were sold with matching coats.

  4. Brent sinks 7.8%

    Brent crude ended the day down 7.8% at $30.32 a barrel - the biggest fall in a day since 1 September. US crude, meanwhile, fell 5.9% to finish at $27.94. 

    Scott Shelton, at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina, said: "It's very difficult for anyone to be positive on this market." 

  5. Wall Street ends mostly lower

    New York has ended the day slightly lower, with the S&P 500 almost flat and the Nasdaq falling about 0.3%, but the Dow Jones is up 0.5%. 

    Viacom continued to slide to close about 20% lower, with Chevron the biggest faller on the Dow with a 3.5% fall. 

  6. Canary in the coal mine?

    Lloyd Blankfein

    If even Goldman Sachs is thinking about cutting costs, then this global slowdown thingy might just be getting real. An insider tells Reuters that the investment bank intends to cut at least 5% of its total workforce this year. 

    Speaking a day after Goldman shares fell close to 5%, chief executive Lloyd Blankfein (pictured) said that the bank can "absolutely do a lot more on the cost side if we have to". He told at a Credit Suisse financial services forum in Miami: "We take a particular and energetic look at continued cost cuts when revenues are stalled.... Necessity is the mother of invention."

    Despite reducing the number of traders and bankers, Goldman has had to hire more staff to deal with new regulatory requirements, meaning the total dealing with those issues has risen 11% in the past four years to 36,800 people. 

  7. The only way is down

    City AM's Emma Haslett tweets a sobering look at what banks' share prices have done so far this year. Good news for Deutsche Bank: it's been beaten - if that is quite the right word - by Italy's Unicredit.

    View more on twitter
  8. Mind the Gap

    Gap store

    Gap reported slumping sales at all three brands for the crucial Christmas season. The company, which owns Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores, said that like-for-like sales fell by 7% in the November to January period. 

    Sales for the Gap brand slid 3%, while Banana Republic fell 14% and Old Navy was down 8%.

    The retailer reports full-year results on 25 February. 

  9. Slowdown fears stalk the markets

    The US stock markets woes are largely because investors fear a sustained global slowdown. 

    Steven Baffico, chief executive at Four Wood Capital Partners in New York, says: "Over the last couple of days, that [concern] has spread into the financial system. It's difficult to find a lot of momentum to the upside for any sustained period of time."

  10. Viacom slides 17%

    Chevron is the biggest faller of the day on the Dow Jones, off 3.2%, although the real story in New York today is found on the Nasdaq, where Viacom is down an astonishing 17% - by far the biggest loser on the tech-focused index today. 

  11. Brent crude sinks 7%

    Brent crude has now sunk by just over 7%, or $2.34, to $30.54 a barrel in New York trading, while US crude fell $1.45, or 5%, to $28.23. 

    Prices have been hit by weak outlooks issued by the US Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Information. "The longs have withdrawn from the market and the sellers are back in full force," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. 

  12. FTSE sinks 20% since record high

    The FTSE 100 is now at its lowest for about three years and down 20% from its record high of 7,122.7 in April 2015. The index has lost nearly 10% since the start of 2016. 

     "There are worries about global growth, and fears of a recession are starting to emerge. The banks are getting hit hard," said Richard Griffiths at Berkeley Futures. 

  13. Oil slips further

    Oil pump

    The slide in oil prices is gathering pace, with Brent crude now down 5.5% at $31.07 a barrel, while US oil is back down to the $28 a barrel level. 

  14. Wall Street update

    Wall Street

    Things aren't too bad in New York: both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes are down 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite is 0.8% lower.

    Viacom is still something of a mess, however, with shares now 15% lower. 

  15. Happy Birthday set to be free

    : Thomas Heinze, Nora Rochlitzer and Dana Schweiger attend the 40th birthday party of Franziska Knuppe

    Happy Birthday to You is set to become free to use if an agreement by Warner/Chappel Music to pay $14m to end a lawsuit is approved by a US court.

    The settlement would eliminate the music publisher's claimed ownership of the song. It also specifies that once the settlement is approved by the federal court in Los Angeles, the song will be in the public domain.

    A group of artists and filmmakers who filed a lawsuit in 2013 against the publisher called the settlement "unquestionably an excellent result".

    The $14m will be distributed among those who paid licensing fees for the song dating back to 1949. 

  16. Wendy's wanes

    Wendy's

    Poor old Wendy's. Not even a better-than-expected 4.8% rise in like-for-like sales for the quarter to 3 January could satisfy investors in the US fast food chain today. It seems they are concerned about the effect of the all-day breakfast introduced in October by McDonald's, which helped the Golden Arches post its biggest quarterly US sales growth in nearly four years.

    Shares in Wendy's fell about 4% in afternoon trading in New York to $9.73. One share would buy you two of its lovely "4 for $4" meals, at least, giving you a Jr. Bacon cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, fries and a drink, by the way. 

    The chain has about 6,500 stores worldwide. 

  17. Is the FTSE now 'reasonable value'?

    Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, comments: 

    "The Foostie is now wallowing at the level it stood at in 2012, with the usual suspects in the mining sector dragging the index down, after they survived Monday’s sell-off unscathed. There’s no doubt that confidence has been shaken, but the upshot is investors are seizing opportunities and buying more shares when stock prices are lower.

    "The UK stock market looks reasonable value, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fall further in the short term. However investing when the market is around this value has yielded attractive returns over ten year periods in the past."

  18. FTSE ends 1% lower

    The London market has ended the day down 57 points at 5,632 - a 1% decline. Anglo American - yet again - was the biggest faller, down just over 11%, with other mining stocks also taking a hammering.

    Next was the biggest riser, up 3.6%.