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Summary

  1. European Central Bank reveals wider than expected stimulus package
  2. CMA says low-income households need cap on energy bills
  3. Morrisons annual profits tumble by £103m
  4. Bonuses for John Lewis Partnership staff fall from 11% to 10%

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodnight

    That's all for tonight from the Business Live page. Join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

  2. Wall Street little changed after volatile session

    Wall Street ended little changed in a volatile trading session after the European Central Bank reduced interest rates.

    The Dow Jones fell 5.3 points, or 0.03%, to 16,995.06, the S&P 500 gained 0.31 point, or 0.02%, to 1,989.57, and the Nasdaq dropped 12.22 points, or 0.26%, to 4,662.16. 

  3. United Technologies says Honeywell merger 'faced real obstacles'

    United Technologies, maker of jet engines, elevators, air conditioners and other building control and aircraft products, said a rebuffed merger proposal from Honeywell International faced "very real" obstacles, and was not necessary for growth.

    "We don't need M&A for growth," chief executive Gregory Hayes said at an investor meeting.

  4. US government calls Apple rhetoric 'false' in iPhone case

    The US Justice Department has again hit out at Apple over the tech giant's bid to block government attempts to unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino killers.

    In a court filing, federal prosecutors said Apple's stance was "corrosive" of institutions best able to safeguard "our liberty and our rights". The department also said Apple "deliberately raised technological barriers" to prevent the execution of a warrant.

  5. Pipeline merger 'in the pipeline'

    TransCanada, the Canadian energy-pipeline operator, is in talks to buy US natural-gas peer Columbia Pipeline Group, news agency Reuters reports.

    TransCanada said in a statement it was in discussions with a third party about a possible transaction, but that no agreement had been reached.

    Columbia Pipeline's shares rose more than 15% after the news, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

    TransCanada's stock price fell almost 4%. 

  6. Donald Trump's Campaign Marches on Florida and Ohio

    BBC World Service

    Video content

    Video caption: Donald Trump's presidential campaign continues to divide the Republican Party.

    Donald Trump's outspoken style during the race to win the Republican Party's nomination to run for President continues to stoke up controversy. Economic commentator Irwin Stelzer, at the Hudson Institute in Washington, has watched many presidential campaigns and he gives us his take on developments.  

  7. Iran calls for full access to international banking

    Mohammad Nahavandian

    Iran needs full access to the international banking system, the president of the country's Chamber of Commerce has said, adding that London has a role to play in restoring it following the lifting of sanctions.

    Mohammad Nahavandian, speaking at the Royal United Services Institute, said there should be greater clarity about the application of secondary US financial sanctions to allow non-US banks to conduct business freely with Iran. 

  8. McDonald's in worker retaliation trial

    Demonstrators outside a McDonald's restaurant near New York's Times Square

    A highly anticipated trial over whether McDonald's USA could be on the hook for its franchisees' alleged retaliation against employees who participated in fast-food worker protests across the US has begun.

    At issue is whether Illinois-based McDonald's is a "joint employer" of workers at its independently owned franchises, as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says.

    That would make the company liable for any labour law violations by the franchisees, which operate 90% of McDonald's US restaurants.

    The trial before an administrative NLRB judge in New York has attracted national attention because it is expected to show how the board's new standard for joint employment applies to the franchisor-franchisee relationship, although the ruling in the case will apply to McDonald's only.

    In his opening statement, NLRB lawyer Jamie Rucker described the level of control McDonald's has over its franchisees, setting everything from cleaning requirements and the number of seconds for order-taking to pre-packaged interview questions for prospective hires.

    "If McDonald's is involved in determining working conditions at its franchised operations, it is responsible for what happens to workers subject to those conditions," Mr Rucker said.

    McDonald's lawyer Willis Goldsmith said that the company "is not now and never has been" a joint employer and that its franchises are independent.

    Workers began filing complaints with the Washington-based NLRB in 2012, alleging that McDonald's and some franchisees threatened, surveilled, disciplined and fired them for protesting for higher wages and union rights in the demonstrations. 

  9. WSJ: Twitter 'trying to hold onto talent with stock and bonuses'

    Ceramic figurines representing Twitter logo

    Twitter is trying to hold onto staff by giving out stock and bonuses, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier.

    Twitter's shares have dropped more than 60% in the past 12 months as user growth has stalled.

  10. Labour announces 'fiscal credibility rule'

    John McDonnell

    Labour is to announce a new "fiscal credibility rule" which will oblige any future Labour government to balance "day-to-day" spending with the amount it raises in taxes.

    Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the BBC that over a five year Parliament borrowing would only be allowed for investment.

    Labour sources said it was aimed at regaining "economic credibility".

    The deficit on "current spending" would be eliminated, he said.

    Read more here.

  11. John McDonnell explains Labour's new 'fiscal credibility rule'

    Video content

    Video caption: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell explains Labour's new economic policy
  12. Wall Street follows Europe lower

    NYSE

    Mario Draghi might be regretting his comments about the ECB ruling out any further rate cuts, given that appears to be the reason why stock markets have headed firmly south after initially rising sharply this afternoon.

    The gloom has extended across the pond as well, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 106 points, or 0.6%, and the S&P 500 down 0.5% to 1,973.85. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1%.

  13. Brussels clears new Hinkley Point power station

    he sun sets behind Electricite de France SA's (EDF) Hinkley Point B nuclear power station

    French power company EDF and Chinese nuclear firm CGN have won regulatory approval from the EU's competition authority to build and operate a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

    The European Commission said it did not see any serious competition issues.

    "The Commission's investigation found that competition in the wholesale supply of electricity in the UK will not be hindered by the transaction given the moderate market share of EDF, the very limited market shares of CGN in this market and the presence of other competitors," it said.

  14. Why negative rates can make loans more expensive

    Video content

    Video caption: Former FSA head Lord Turner explains problem with negative interest rates

    Lord Turner, the former head of the Financial Services Authority, explains the problem with negative interest rates.

  15. Rolls-Royce to cut more senior jobs

    A jet engine in the Rolls-Royce Mechanical Testing Operations Center

    Rolls-Royce, the aerospace company under pressure after consecutive profit warnings, is set to shed another 150 senior management roles as part of a turnaround plan,

    The cuts come on top of the 50 positions it has said it would cut in the past four months.

  16. VW 'to cut 3,000 office jobs'

    Thousands of German carmaker Volkswagen employees

    Volkswagen plans to cut about 3,000 office jobs in Germany by the end of 2017 as the carmaker strives to offset the cost of its emissions test-rigging scandal, Reuters reports.

    VW employs about 120,000 workers at its Western German plants and its financial services division, with about a third of those being office positions. 

  17. Hacker's typo 'helped stop billion dollar bank heist'

    A spelling mistake in an online bank transfer instruction helped prevent a nearly $1bn heist last month involving the Bangladesh central bank and the New York Fed, the Reuters news agency reports.

    Hackers still managed to get away with about $80m, one of the largest known bank thefts.

    The hackers first breached Bangladesh Bank's systems and stole its credentials for payment transfers. They then sent nearly three dozen requests to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money from the Bangladesh Bank's account there to entities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

    Four requests to transfer a total of about $81m to the Philippines went through, but a fifth, for $20m, to a Sri Lankan non-profit organisation was held up because the hackers misspelled the name of the NGO, Shalika Foundation

    Hackers misspelled "foundation" in the NGO's name as "fandation", prompting a routing bank, Deutsche Bank, to seek clarification from the Bangladesh central bank, which stopped the transaction.

  18. US and Canada leaders make trade and investment pledges

    US President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

    President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are promising to make it easier for their respective countries to trade and invest in one another, share more information to prevent the flow of foreign fighters and promote clean energy as a central focus of economic growth.

    Mr Obama said the two leaders instructed aides to make it easier for goods and people to move back and forth between the two nation's borders.

    Mr Trudeau focused on their shared desire to curb global warming. He said they both want a "clean-growth economy". "I'm confident that by working together, we'll get there sooner than we think," Mr Trudeau said. 

  19. FTSE 100 loses earlier gains

    UK stocks have given up early gains that driven by a rate cut and other stimulus measures announced by the European Central Bank.

    The FTSE 100 closed down 1.78% or 109.62 points, at 6,036.70.