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Summary

  1. Supreme Court rules in favour of HMRC over tax-free bonus schemes at Deutsche Bank and UBS
  2. E.On reports €7bn loss for 2015
  3. Zara owner Inditex reports fastest profit growth for three years
  4. Trunki suitcase maker Magmatic's case against rival PMS International dismissed
  5. Hotel Chocolat to list on AIM

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Good night

    Join us again tomorrow from 06:00 for more rolling business news coverage.

  2. Wall Street closes higher helped by oil price rise

    US stocks rose in low volume, led once more by the direction of the price of oil and energy shares. The Dow Jones rose 34.48 points, or 0.2%, to 16,998.58, the S&P 500 gained 9.85 points, or 0.5%, to 1,989.11 and the Nasdaq added 25.55 points, or 0.55%, to 4,674.38. US crude traded up 4.9%. 

  3. Greek talks resume

    Greece and its international lenders resumed talks in Athens on Wednesday on the country's fiscal and reform progress.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to conclude the review swiftly to start talks on debt relief.

    Athens has pledged to cut pension spending by 1% of GDP this year and reach a primary surplus of 3.5% by 2018.

  4. Gin 'has record breaking year'

    Scenes of debauchery and drunkenness in 'Gin Lane' by William Hogarth.

    The British gin industry had a "record breaking year" last year, with 49 distilleries opened and consumers spending almost £1bn on the spirit, the Guardian reports.

  5. Wall Street gets boost from crude oil recovery

    Wall Street is higher as a strong recovery in oil prices pushes energy shares up. The Dow Jones is up 0.13% to 16,985.88 points, and the S&P 500 is 0.36% ahead at 1,986.35.

    Brent crude extended gains above $40 a barrel, after US crude stockpiles rose in line with estimates last week and fuel inventories fell more than expected.

  6. Shopworkers 'will be hugely relieved' by Sunday trading vote says union

    The blocking of proposals to allow shops to open for longer on a Sunday has been called "a huge victory for shopworkers" by union Usdaw.

    Quote Message: This is a huge victory for shopworkers and all those who value the special nature of Sundays and we are grateful to MPs from all parties who supported our campaign and voted against the Government this evening." from John Hannett Usdaw general secretary
    John HannettUsdaw general secretary

    Trade association the British Retail Consortium said businesses were more concerned with business rates than Sunday opening hours.

    Quote Message: Sunday trading relaxation was never going to answer the key questions over the future of the high street. Of much, much more importance is the Government’s review of the business rates system which concludes at next week’s Budget." from Helen Dickinson Chief executive of the BRC
    Helen DickinsonChief executive of the BRC
  7. Negative bets against Ocado hit record high

    A laptop displays the Ocado websit

    Short interest in UK online grocer Ocado has surged to a record high - some investors are betting on a further drop in its share price after a fall of 14% so far this year.

    According to Markit data, short interest - which measures the number of shares lent to speculators betting on a fall in the stock - in Ocado has climbed to a high of 23.1% of the shares out on loan.

    To profit from a stock falling, short sellers borrow the stock and sell it, expecting it to drop in value so they can buy it back at a lower price. 

  8. Sir George Martin's 'incalculable' impact on the music business

    BBC World Service

    Video content

    Video caption: TV director Francis Hanly discusses the Beatles producer's legacy.

    Sir George Martin has died at the age of 90. He produced almost all the albums the Beatles made. He also worked with the likes of Sting, Celine Dion, the Rolling Stones and Elton John. Many believe Sir George had a profound impact on the music business, among them, the British television director and producer Francis Hanly, who met Sir George for a BBC documentary about his life in 2012.  

  9. Iran targets single digit inflation in six months

    Tehran's Bazaar

    Iran expects its inflation rate fall to single digits in the next half year, Iranian deputy central bank governor Peyman Ghorbani Aghilabadi said.

    "In order to have a stable foreign exchange market we have to combat inflation," Aghilabadi said at the FT Iran conference, adding the current inflation rate stood at 12.6%.

    "We hope in the next six months we achieve single digit inflation in Iran," he said. 

  10. BBC News wants your views on the Budget – via mobile

    YourBudget

    Ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget on 16 March BBC News is looking for your views and analysis.

    What’s new? Well we want you to share your thoughts via your smartphone.

    It’s for a project called YourBudget2016, which is testing new ways of gathering mobile video for the BBC.

    This is the sort of thing the team behind it, and contributors, have produced so far.

    The best contributions will be featured online and elsewhere on BBC News.

    To find out how you can share your views on the Budget, email YourBudget2016@bbc.co.uk for instructions.

  11. EE's Orange webmail problems

    Orange logo

    EE's Orange webmail has been unavailable for many users for about a day, after the service suffered problems starting on Tuesday evening.

    The firm said a fibre-optic cable had been cut and could not say when it would be fixed.

    An EE spokeswoman said a small proportion of the 30 million users of its network had been affected.

  12. Gazprom aims for 'mutually acceptable solution' in EU antitrust case

    Alexander Medvedev

    Russia's Gazprom and the European Commission are moving towards a "mutually acceptable" solution in resolving antitrust charges against the gas producer, the company has said.

    The Russian state-controlled company is fighting accusations of overcharging customers and blocking rivals in eastern Europe, practices which the European Commission say breach the bloc's rules ensuring a level playing field.

    Gazprom is seeking to avoid a fine, which under EU rules could be up to $7.6bn, equal to 10% of its 2014 revenue, and settle the charges with concessions.

    Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev and European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the concessions, and both sides agreed to continue talks.

    "Thanks to the hard work and constructive approach from both sides, we are making progress towards a mutually acceptable solution," Mr Medvedev said in a statement.

    Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso called the discussion "open and constructive". 

  13. Siemens to cut 2,500 jobs

    Employees of German industrial giant Siemens

    German industrial group Siemens plans to cut about 2,500 jobs related to the oil and gas, metals and mining sectors, mostly in Germany, it said. The cuts will fall mainly in Bavaria.

    The firm also wants to hire at least 25,000 new employees worldwide in each of the coming years.

  14. Chipotle's shares drop after latest food safety incident

    People walk past a Chipotle restaurant on Broadway

    Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill fell almost 6% in morning trading, a day after the popular burrito chain operator said it would temporarily shut a Massachusetts restaurant after four employees fell sick.

    One employee at a closed Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant has been confirmed with a case of norovirus.

    Two more employees at the closed restaurant may have norovirus, Billerica board of health director Richard Berube said.

    Chipotle is trying to repair its reputation after a series of food-safety incidents, including two E.Coli outbreaks that affected 50 people in 10 states and two separate norovirus outbreaks in Massachusetts and California.

    "We suspect that investors and consumers will be sensitive to this announcement, particularly in light of the adverse news flow over the last six months at Chipotle," CRT Capital analyst Lynne Collier said. 

  15. FTSE 100 closes higher

    The FTSE 100 was higher at the close after a rise in Prudential shares.

    The insurer had announced a special dividend with results that beat expectations.

    Prudential rose 2.9%, the top FTSE 100 riser, after its profit was lifted by strong performances at its UK, US and Asian life businesses.

  16. Greece's Piraeus Bank reports fourth quarter loss

    A man walks past a Piraeus Bank branch in Athens

    Piraeus Bank, Greece's second-largest lender, swung to a loss in last year's final quarter after provisions for impaired loans.

    Piraeus, which is 26.2% owned by the country's bank rescue fund HFSF after its recapitalisation late last year, reported a loss of €1.238bn versus net profit of €495m in the third quarter of 2015.

    The group said loan-loss provisions rose to €1.384bn in fourth quarter from €244m in the third.