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Summary

  1. Low oil prices hit profits at ExxonMobil
  2. Construction firms agree blacklisting settlement
  3. Eurozone economic recovery gathers pace
  4. Government dividend payment keeps RBS in the red
  5. Brussels terror attacks dampen IAG quarterly profits

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Puerto Rico on the brink

    Alejandro Garcia Padilla

    Puerto Rico's governor says that the US territory is bracing itself for multiple lawsuits as a major default looms over a $470m (£322m) bond payment. The money is due on Sunday, but Puerto Rico is running out of cash.

    Alejandro Garcia Padilla says he would like judges to take Puerto Rico's economic and humanitarian crisis into account when ruling on the anticipated lawsuits. "I hope the judges use their conscience," he told reporters. 

    The self-governing territory has been in a recession since 2006, and has been dubbed the Greece of the Caribbean.

  2. Wall Street ends the week on a low note

    US stocks posted their largest weekly drop in nearly three months as weak corporate earnings announcements continued to weigh on markets. On Friday the Dow Jones fell 56.98 points, or 0.32%, to 17,773.78, the S&P 500 lost 10.5 points, or 0.51%, to 2,065.31 and the Nasdaq dropped 29.93 points, or 0.62%, to 4,775.36. 

    For the week, the Dow fell 1.3%, the S&P 500 also lost 1.3%, and the Nasdaq declined 2.7%.

  3. Italy to speed up 'bad bank recovery'

    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government has passed a decree to speed up the recovery of unpaid credit for a banking system saddled with billions of euros in bad loans. 

    Italy's lenders have some €360bn in bad loans on their books that can take years to recoup, and the decree aims to accelerate the process, Reuters reports.

    "This will reduce the time it takes to recoup credit from six to eight years to six to eight months," Mr Renzi told reporters after the decree was passed. "This decree aims to resolve... definitively the problems of our country's banking system," he said. 

  4. Renault faces shareholder backlash

    carlos ghosn

    It's not just in the UK where shareholders are revolting over executive pay. In France, 54% of shareholders have voted against Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn's €7.3m (£5.7m) package. It matters little, however. The vote was non-binding.   

  5. Wall Street on course to finish down

    US stocks are slipping as technology companies suffer from falls for the second day in a row. Healthcare firms are also falling after weak first-quarter profit numbers from drug and health insurance companies.

    The Dow Jones was down 148 points, or 0.8%, to 17,682 in mid-afternoon trading. The S&P 500 fell 22 points, or 1%, to 2,053. The Nasdaq lost 52 points, or 1.1%, to 4,753.

    Losses over the last two days have wiped out the Dow and S&P 500's gains from earlier this month. And the Nasdaq is set to fall for the seventh day in a row. 

  6. Chinese consortium 'offers €700m for AC Milan'

    AC Milan players

    Reuters is reporting that a group of Chinese investors has offered to buy AC Milan football club, owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The offer values the club at around €700m (£500m), sources have told the news agency.

    The identities of the Chinese investors, who first expressed interest in buying the club last year, were not immediately clear. The offer is said to be for the whole club, not a minority stake.

  7. Oil prices hit 2016 high

    Nodding donkey

    Oil prices have hit their highest levels of the year today, driven up by lower US production and a weak dollar.

    Both US and Brent crude prices hit 2016 peaks, trading as high as $46.27 and $48.30 a barrel respectively.

    US domestic crude production has continued to fall in recent months, easing concerns about oversupply.

    Meantime the dollar has lost almost 2% of its value against other global currencies over the past week.

    A weaker US dollar typically contributes to a rise in oil prices, because oil is priced in dollars. When the dollar weakens against other currencies, oil becomes cheaper to buy, pushing up demand.

  8. Why high pay is bad for the health

    Lettering

    The roar of shareholder disapproval became deafening yesterday as Weir Group became only the second company in UK history to lose a binding vote on executive pay.

    We have seen other insurrections - most notably at BP - but these have been non binding. What's the difference?

    Shareholders get to vote on pay every year but only once every three years does their vote have any teeth.

    This is the moment when the company presents the pay policy. In other words when it lays out the method by which pay will be calculated for the next three years. If shareholders reject this - as Weir's did yesterday - its back to the drawing board 

    Read more from Simon here.

  9. S&P says it expects UK to reject Brexit

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor's says it expects that "by a small majority, the referendum will deliver a vote to remain in the EU", when Britons vote on 23 June.

    However it says the possibility of leaving the EU is a negative for the country's creditworthiness. 

    S&P is the only major ratings agency to maintain a triple-A rating for the UK, but it has a negative outlook.

    "The United Kingdom ratings affirmed at 'AAA/A-1+" said S&P.

  10. Why being second best could be good for Leicester

    Leicester City's finances could be even stronger if they don't win the Premier League, according to Kieran Maguire, a specialist in sports finance at Liverpool University.

    Finishing second would mean they wouldn't pay out as much in bonuses to the manager and players, but they would still cash in on being in the Champions League next season. Listen to the interview below.

    Video content

    Video caption: The Foxes' finances could be improved by not winning the title, says Kieran Maguire.
  11. FTSE 100 records second straight week of losses

    FTSE 100 graph

    The FTSE 100 closed down, hit by a fall in the shares of Royal Bank of Scotland and airline group IAG. The index ended 1.3% lower at 6,241.89 points, recording its second straight week of losses.

    RBS fell 6.05% and IAG was down 4.72%, dragged lower by disappointing trading figures. Glencore, up 4.12%, was the main gainer, with other commodities stocks also rising on the back of gains in the price of oil and metals.

    Outside the top flight, Restaurant Group sank 26.5% after the owner of the Chiquito and Frankie & Benny's chains warned of "a further deterioration in trading conditions".

  12. Tycoon Mallya breaks his silence over 'exile'

    Vijay Mallya

    Embattled Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines collapsed, has broken his silence in an interview with the Financial Times.  

    Creditors are trying to recover about $1.4bn, and a warrant is out for the arrest of Mr Mallya, who is now in London.

    He tells the paper: "We have always been in dialogue with banks saying: 'We wish to settle'. But we wish to settle at a reasonable number that we can afford and banks can justify on the basis of settlements done before.

    "By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money." Mr Mallya, who built a drinks empire and owns a Formula One team, says he was in "forced exile" and has no plans to leave Britain.

    He denies wrongdoing. "I am absolutely not guilty of any of these preposterous charges of diverting funds from Kingfisher, buying properties or stuff like that," he tells the FT.

  13. Quick trade deal is 'for the birds' - Lord Hill

    Lord Hill

    European Union Commissioner Lord Hill has told the BBC’s Tony Bonsignore that the idea of a swift trade deal with the EU post-Brexit is “for the birds".

    Lord Hill - who looks after financial services and capital markets for the EU, and plays a key role in negotiating trade deals with non-EU countries – said that after all the concessions made to the UK, “it's a very optimistic person who would think that after all that we would kiss and make up very quickly”.

    Lord Hill has been in Manchester, talking to local businesses and taking part in a roundtable on financial services and the EU.

    You can listen to the full interview on BBC Radio 5 live at 4.45pm (so hurry).

  14. Blacklist deal: firms say they want to 'draw a line' under matter

    Blacklist protesters

    More on the settlement involving construction companies accused of blacklisting workers. 

    The eight firms - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI - say they now want to draw a line under the controversy.

    A statement says: "The construction companies have offered financial settlements which all claimants represented by Ucatt, GMB and GCR [a legal firm] have now accepted as fair and reasonable. The parties have also agreed a joint statement to be read in court as part of this settlement.

    "These construction companies now wish to draw a line under this matter and continue to work together with the trade unions at national, regional and site level to ensure that the modern UK construction industry provides the highest standards of employment and HR practice for its workforce."

  15. Blacklisted construction workers settle four-year dispute

    construction workers

    Construction firms have offered financial settlements for workers who said they were blacklisted, ending a four year campaign for compensation. The GMB and Ucatt unions announced they have settled outstanding claims.

    The action began against eight construction firms following the discovery in 2009 of a blacklist of building workers held by the Consulting Association. The unions, and law firm Guney, Clark and Ryan, acting for the Blacklist Support Group, announced they have also accepted an apology. 

    A statement said: "The construction companies have offered financial settlements which all claimants represented by Ucatt, GMB and GCR have now accepted as fair and reasonable. The parties have also agreed a joint statement to be read in court as part of this settlement. The construction companies have also agreed to pay the claimants' legal costs." 

  16. US share markets start the day in the red

    Wall Street opened lower as investors assessed earnings announcements, and data showed that US inflation barely rose in March as consumer spending remains weak. Meanwhile, the oil price hit new recent highs earlier in the day and was poised for its biggest monthly gain in seven years as a weak dollar and falling US production eased worries about over-supply.

    The Dow Jones was down 52.53 points, or 0.29%, at 17,778.23, the S&P 500 was down 3.91 points, or 0.19%, at 2,071.9, and the Nasdaq was down 0.50 points, or 0.01%, at 4,804.79. 

    Exxon was the Dow's biggest riser, up 1.3%. Amazon jumped 10% following well-received profit figures announced late on Thursday.

  17. More than 100 City figures sign EU exit letter

    UK and EU flags hanging outside builiding

    More than one hundred City figures and leading business people have thrown their weight behind leaving the European Union, arguing that the euro and red tape threatens to hold back UK firms.

    Signatories to the letter in today's Evening Standard newspaper include Crispin Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management, Peter Hargreaves at investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown, Paul Marshall, chairman of Marshall Wace, Michael Geoghegan, a former chief executive of HSBC, Pizza Express entrepreneur Luke Johnson, and the founder of buyout firm Better Capital Jon Moulton.

    The letter says: "The EU is now shackled to the euro, a project doing damage to the social and economic fabric of member countries, including high youth unemployment. Many of us worry that the eurozone's problems may prove insurmountable.

    "Meanwhile there is scant evidence that the EU will foster or support the kind of innovation which is essential if Europeans are to compete with the rest of the world."

    The move follows a letter sent by business leaders to the Times in February who want the UK to remain inside the EU. That letter - backed by bosses at BT, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone - said leaving the EU would threaten jobs and put the UK's economy at risk. 

  18. FTSE 100 remains in negative territory

    There are still couple of big fallers in top flight this afternoon. RBS and airline group IAG are down close to 5%, both due to investors' concerns about trading. Commodities groups are among the top gainers, with Anglo American and Glencore up about 1.5%. The FTSE 100 is down 47.52 points at 6274.88.