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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 holding on to early gains while German and French markets power ahead
  2. JD Wetherspoon see profits down slightly at £37m
  3. British Chamber of Commerce downgrades UK growth forecast for 2016 to 2.2%
  4. Nikkei closes up on the day, down on the week
  5. China lands big US rail contract

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodnight

    That's all for this week's Business Live coverage. Join us again on Monday from 06:00.

  2. Wall Street closes higher after oil price boost

    US stocks have closed higher after a boost from oil prices.

    The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 217.70 points, or 1.28%, at 17,212.83. The S&P 500 was up 32.60 points, or 1.64%, at 2,022.17. The Nasdaq Composite was up 86.31 points, or 1.85%, at 44,748.47. 

  3. New Zealand bans zero-hours contracts

    Protestors

    Earlier, New Zealand passed legislation banning zero hour contracts, in what is thought to be one of the first laws in the developed world to end the use of deals criticised as exploitative.

    Opposition Labor MP Iain Lees-Galloway was joined by his political opponents in supporting the Employment Standards Legislation Bill to end the use of the deals under which employees are required to be available for work but have no guaranteed minimum hours.

  4. Wall Street rally boosted by higher oil prices

    US stocks are higher, boosted by rising oil prices.

    US crude was up 2% after the International Energy Agency said oil prices might have bottomed out. Output in the US and other non-Opec countries was beginning to fall quickly, IEA said.

    The Dow Jones industrial average was up 203.39 points, or 1.20%, at 17,198.52. The S&P 500 was up 26.74 points, or 1.35%, at 2,016.3. The 2,000 mark is considered a key psychological barrier for the index. The Nasdaq Composite was up 68.87 points, or 1.48%, at 4,731.0. 

  5. Brazilian president rejects call to resign

    Dilma Rousseff

    Brazil's president has rejected calls for her to resign and accused her opponents of causing a political crisis that has damaged the economy. 

    President Dilma Rousseff, who is facing impeachment proceedings, also defended her mentor, the former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

  6. 'Shocking reports' of Whirlpool tumble dryer serial number confusion

    BBC business reporter Clare Matheson writes...

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Retail Ombudsman Dean Dunham has told Radio 5 Live that they have had “shocking reports” that replacement tumble dryers provided by Whirlpool have serial numbers that flag up on the Whirlpool website as faulty machines.

    Whirlpool says the new machines are modified and safe and marked with a green sticker. However, the Ombudsman says he is getting reports from consumers that some new machines have no sticker.

    Mr Dunham’s advice is to ask the manufacturer to provide a written assurance that the machine is not faulty.

  7. Tesco 'threw away 55,400 tonnes of food in 2015'

    Groceries are prepared for distribution at Tesco's distribution plant

    Around 55,400 tonnes of food were thrown away at Tesco stores and distribution centres in the UK last year, of which around 30,000 tonnes could otherwise have been eaten, equivalent to around 70 million meals, the retailer has said.

    Tesco, which is trying to improve its image after an accounting scandal and delaying payments to suppliers, has pledged to give future leftover food from its stores to charity so that by the end of 2017 nothing is thrown away.

    "We believe no food that could be eaten should be wasted - that's why we have committed that no surplus food should go to waste from our stores," said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis.

  8. FTSE recovers from two-week low

    The FTSE 100 closed up 1.71% at 6,139.79 after financial stocks lifted the index.

    "We turned positive on financials last week and they should get some relief from profitability concerns linked to negative interest rates, after [ECB President] Mr Draghi indicated further rate cuts were less likely," Credit Suisse analysts said.

  9. VW branded sales fall 4.7% and group sales fall 1.2% in February

    A Volkswagen logo

    VW branded sales fell 4.7% in February, the German carmaker has said.

    Group sales fell 1.2%, with VW taking a big hit in Brazil - sales there were down 35.8% to 21,700 cars.

    VW is enmeshed in an ongoing emissions scandal which started in the US. Sales there fell 7.2% in the month.

  10. FT: Network Rail 'could sell 18 stations including Waterloo'

    Commuters wait for trains at Waterloo Station

    Network Rail could sell off 18 stations, including London Waterloo, Paddington and Birmingham New Street as part of efforts to raise £1.8bn, chief executive Mark Carne has told the FT.

    Network Rail said in a statement:

    Quote Message: We are looking to generate some £1.8bn of funds from our property assets by 2019 enabling us to invest in building a bigger, better railway. We're taking a long hard look at which assets, ensuring we keep what we need to grow and expand the railway, but then looking at ways we can realise best value from the rest to reinvest."