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Summary

  1. Brent crude rises after US inventory report
  2. L&G confirms plans to build prefab houses
  3. Woodford: 'Brexit' won't necessarily hut UK economy
  4. Barratt Developments profits up by 40%

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

    That's all for another night. Please join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

  2. Apple chief: Giving FBI access to iPhone 'would be bad for America'

    Tim Cook

    Apple chief executive Tim Cook has told ABC News that giving the FBI the means to access the mobile phone of San Bernardino killer Syed Farook "Would be bad for America."

    Quote Message: We know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities... This would be bad for America. It would also set a precedent that I believe many people in America would be offended by... Some things are hard, and some things are right, and some things are both. This is one of those things."
  3. Oil rebound buoys Wall Street at the close

    A sharp rebound in crude oil prices has lifted stocks on Wall Street at the close.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 53.21 points, or 0.32%, to 16,484.99; the S&P 500 gained 8.53 points, or 0.44%, to 1,929.80, and the Nasdaq Composite added 39.02 points, or 0.87%, to 4,542.61 points. 

  4. Are billionaires more likely to be graduates?

    Hand grabbing dollars

    Are billionaires good with exams as well as their finances? Or are they more likely to have escaped school at the first opportunity and worked their way up to make their fortunes?

    Are they likely to be graduates or to have dropped out from university, wanting to get a head-start in start-ups?

    Read more here.

  5. US stocks pare earlier losses after crude oil picks up

    US stocks have recovered much of earlier losses after a surge in the price of crude oil.

    But much of the market is still weighed down by declines in banks, which remain under pressure due to economic unease and worries about the amount of loans on their books to oil and gas companies.

  6. Moody's downgrades Rio Tinto debt

    Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Rio Tinto debt to Baa1 from A3.

    The ratings firm said "fundamental downward shift in the mining sector" resulted in "increased credit risk" both for Rio Tinto and for the mining sector as a whole.   

    Quote Message: The slowing economic growth rates in China materially impact the demand for base metals while the reducing steel production rates impact demand for iron ore and metallurgical coal - leading to lower prices. Supply imbalances, particularly in iron ore, the major earnings and cash flow driver for Rio Tinto, will maintain pressure on prices for several years." from Moody's Investors Service
    Moody's Investors Service
  7. Nike co-founder donates $400m to Stanford University

    Nike sneakers worn by Pau Gasol - number 16 of the Chicago Bulls and the Eastern Conference during the NBA All-Star Game 2016

    Nike co-founder Phil Knight is donating $400m to Stanford University for a scholarship fund.

    The Knight-Hennessy Scholars programme now has $700m in funding, and is expected to grow to $750m, university officials said.

    "We wanted to create something enduring, that would be unlike anything else currently available to the world's brightest minds, and that would make the biggest impact possible toward solving global challenges affecting the environment, health, education and human rights,'' said Stanford president John Hennessy, who will serve as the programme's director after he steps down later this year.

  8. Target does better than Walmart during the holiday season

    US retailing giant,Target, has reported 1.9% increase in sales, the sixth consecutive quarterly increase, for the period ending 30 January

    Its rival Walmart recorded a 0.6% increase in its stores.

    Chief executive, Brian Cornell, has been focusing the business on a few key categories—baby, kids, wellness, and fashion. That strategy appears to be paying off .  

  9. All change at the tax office HQ

    Two new bosses have been announced for HM Revenue and Customs. 

    Jon Thompson becomes the chief executive and Edward Troup takes up the role of executive chair. 

    Both will start their new jobs in April when the former head Lin Homer, who faced criticism from MPs for "unacceptable" customer service and "disappointing progress" on tax evasion, leaves.

    Mr Thompson joins HMRC from the Ministry of Defence and Mr Troup is already employed at HMRC as the Tax Assurance Commissioner. 

  10. Airbus chief: 'Brexit a leap into the unknown'

    Aerospace giant Airbus Group is a firm which operates across European borders, and has a significant manufacturing base in Britain.

    Airbus Group chief executive, Tom Enders, talks to BBC Business reporter Theo Leggett.

    He said that a UK vote to leave the EU "would be a leap into the unknown" and that job losses could not be ruled out.  

  11. FTSE closes lower after miners drag

    The FTSE 100 has closed 1.60% lower at 5,867.18 after mining stocks dragged on the index.

  12. Deutsche Boerse CEO 'would be chairman in LSE merger'

    Traders work under the index board

    Deutsche Boerse chief executive Carsten Kengeter would become the chairman of a holding company created by the possible merger of the LSE Group and the German exchange operator, the Reuters news agency reports.

    The two companies announced on Tuesday that they were in merger talks, and that the board of the holding company would be composed of an equal number of LSE and Deutsche Boerse directors.

  13. IMF: UK referendum one of 'risks and uncertainties' for UK growth

    The IMF has said that the UK's EU membership referendum is one of the "risks and uncertainties" for UK economic growth in a report:

    Quote Message: Executive directors welcomed the UK’s strong economic performance, which has delivered robust growth, record high employment, a significant reduction in fiscal deficits, and increased financial sector resilience. Directors noted, however, that the relatively positive outlook is subject to risks and uncertainties, including those related to the global outlook, sluggish productivity growth, a weak external position, still-high levels of household debt, and the forthcoming referendum on EU membership. They encouraged the authorities to remain vigilant to the challenges ahead and to continue their policy efforts to promote growth and further boost resilience."
  14. Shell US chairman to step down

    Marvin Odum

    Shell's US chairman Marvin Odum, who is also in charge of shale oil and the Arctic for the firm, is to step down at the end of March, the firm has said.

    Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden said:

    Quote Message: Marvin has had a long and distinguished Shell career and I’m grateful to him for the central role he’s played in the company’s success. He leaves our important businesses in the Americas well positioned for the next phase of their development."
  15. Energy stocks drag on Wall Street as oil slips

    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

    Wall Street is lower as energy stocks took a hit from a slide in oil prices after Saudi Arabia ruled out a cut in output.

    Stocks have closely tracked oil prices this year as investors fret about the health of the global economy.

    The S&P 500 is down 6% for the year, while the Nasdaq composite has shed more than 10%.

    US crude was down more than 3%, also pressured by data showing an increase in stockpiles.

    Shares of Chevron were down 1.68%, while Exxon fell 1.48%.

    "There is very little good news for the market to hang its hat on," said John Brady, managing director at brokerage R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.

    "Unless something happens, my sense is that we're going to continue to break down here a little bit," he added. 

  16. Moody's cuts Brazil debt to junk

    Moody's has become the third major rating agency to downgrade Brazil's debt to junk, cutting its rating by two notches to Ba2, as the country sinks deeper into recession.

    Moody's said there was a risk of further external shocks.

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