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Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

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That is all from the Business Live page for today. Join us bright and early again at 6am on Tuesday. 

Wall Street closes ahead

The S&P 500 hit a two-week high on Monday on the back of strong earnings, rising by 10 points, or 0.47%, to 2151.33.

Meanwhile the benchmark Dow Jones was up 77 points, or 0.43%, at 18223.02, and the tech-based Nasdaq up 52 points, or 1%, at 5309.83.

British Steel pension deficit shrinks

Tata Steel plant

The British Steel Pension Scheme's deficit has shrunk to around £50m from around £700m earlier this year, due to currency movements and a change in stock market conditions.

The pension scheme has been seen as a potential obstacle to a  joint venture deal between Tata Steel and Germany's Thyssenkrupp to manage Tata's remaining UK operations.

AT&T-Time Warner merger met with 'scepticism'

Zero Hedge tweets...

Self-assessment tax deadline

Still bothered by the idea of filling in your self-assessment tax forms? If the process applies to you (and it may not) then the consumers association Which? has this useful guide.

Remember, doing it online gives you a deadline of 31 January 2017.

CETA 'not dead'

Canada's potential free trade deal with the European Union is not dead, though "the ball is now in Europe's court for completing the pact", Canada's Trade Minister, Chrystia Freeland, has just told Reuters in Ottawa.

Sales slow at Burger King

Burger King
Getty Images

Shares in the US fast food chain Restaurant Brands - owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons - are sharply lower after it reported a second consecutive decline of sales growth at Burger King.

Total comparable sales at Burger King rose just 1.7% in the three months to September, compared with a rise of 6.2% a year earlier. 

"Burger King has more work to do to increase its appeal - including focusing on core lines and the overall restaurant experience," said Neil Saunders, from the retail research firm Conlumino.

Tusk talks up CETA

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, says he and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau still think they can hold a joint summit in Brussels on Thursday despite Belgium being stymied by its Walloon region, rendering Belgium unable to sign a free-trade deal between the EU and Canada.

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The Walloons stick to their guns

Protesters hold up a placard reading "3.4 million Europeans count on Wallonia - stop CETA" as a meeting on CETA (EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) takes place at the Walloon parliament in Namur, Belgium, on October 18, 2016.

Belgium still cannot sign a key EU trade deal with Canada, Prime Minister Charles Michel says, because of regional objections led by staunchly socialist Wallonia.

His statement appeared to dash hopes the controversial Ceta trade deal could be signed by EU leaders and Canada on Thursday.

Mr Michel said that talks with several French-speaking regions had broken down.

Panorama: The clothes made by child refugees

Government to review 'fixed-odds' gambling machines

Gambling machines

The government is to review gambling machines amid concerns they may harm vulnerable people.

As many as 600,000 people in the UK may take part in "problem gambling", said culture, media and sport minister Tracey Crouch.

The review will take a "close look" at fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) - now common on high streets - and children's access to gambling.

Labour welcomed the review, saying it was "long overdue."

Government figures suggest the gambling industry employs around 100,000 people in the UK and contributed more than £10bn to the economy last year.

Democrats v Republicans, and financial markets

5 live In Short asks how markets will judge the next president

BBC Radio 5 live

How do presidents have an effect on the markets?

More on the FTSE

Top winners today were Provident Financial, DCC, Easyjet, Standard Life and Schroders. 

Main fallers were Hikma Pharmaceuticals, AngloAmerican, Randgold, United Utilities and Burberry.

FTSE closes down

Backtracks from morning performance.

FTSE close

The FTSE, which had looked to be heading towards a record closing high at one point, has had a lacklustre afternoon - despite a slight rally after midday - and closed down.

At the end of trade it was down 34 points, or 0.49%, at 6968.40.

O'Leary talks Brexit

Controversial airline boss on what it means for Ryanair

Fall of the selfie stick?

Usain Bolt with selfie stick
Getty Images

Have we reached peak selfie-stick? The retractable monopod was listed by Time magazine as one of the top 25 inventions in 2014.

But its fortunes have dipped since then. It's been banned from stadiums, concerts, museums and all Disney parks.

John Lewis also suggests that its popularity is on the wane. Searches for "selfie stick" have fallen 50% at the retailer compared with 2015. 

In its place? Pink flamingos, wireless headphones and avocados, the department store reports.

The taxman cometh...

The BBC's Kevin Peachey tweets...

Flash-crash 'caused by high-frequency trading'

The Wall Street Journal tweets...

AT&T 'the only bidder'

Warner Bros logo
Warner Bros

US telecoms giant AT&T Inc was the only company to make a takeover approach for Time Warner, the media group's boss has said. 

AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for $85.4bn, or $107.50 per share, to gain control of film studio Warner Bros, cable TV channels HBO and CNN, and other coveted media assets. 

"Nobody else approached the company for a deal," Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes said in an interview on CNBC.

Several media outlets had reported that Apple had also been interested in acquiring Time Warner. 

At the open of Wall Street, shares in AT&T fell 2% and those in Time Warner lost 3%, after both rose sharply on Friday. 

Wall Street opens ahead

Wall Street opened higher on Monday. The Dow Jones was up 108 points, or 0.59%, to 18,253.44.

The wider S&P 500 was up 10 points, or 0.45%, to 2,150.85 and the tech-based Nasdaq was up 34 points, or 0.64%, to 5,291.27. 

Notts County FC escapes winding up

England's oldest club faced taxman action

Notts County players celebrate
Getty Images

England's oldest football league club, Notts County, has escaped a winding-up order.

It had appeared on a list of companies facing winding-up orders today, following legal action by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC had launched a winding-up petition against the club, which was formed in 1862 and is currently sixth in League Two. 

But a lawyer representing tax officials asked the judge to dismiss the petition at a hearing in the Bankruptcy and Companies Court.  

Last week club chairman Ray Trew approached local businessman Alan Hardy over a potential takeover.  

'Big upheaval in corporate India'

Tata Steel plant

BBC Mumbai correspondent Yogita Limaye has this explanation of what the change at the top of Tata means:

This is perhaps the biggest upheaval that corporate India has seen in recent years. It’s a sudden move from a company that is usually very private and conscious of its public image. Cyrus Mistry was only the sixth chairman of a group that is nearly 150 years old. 

Ratan Tata, the previous chairman had been in charge of the company for more than two decades until he stepped down in 2012 at the age of 75. His successor, Mr Mistry, was appointed more than a year before Mr Tata retired. 

That’s in stark contrast with today’s announcement. Analysts are divided about Mr. Mistry’s performance as chairman of the Tata group, but many of the challenges he faced were inherited.  

It was during Ratan Tata’s tenure that the group made many bold acquisitions, among them the takeover of Corus Steel and Jaguar Land Rover. Some of those decisions paid off, while others have cost the company a lot of money. 

JLR has turned into a profitable company, but Tata Steel has been suffering heavy losses in the UK. Speculation has already begun about why the decision to replace Mr Mistry was taken by the board, but the person who replaces him has their job cut out for them. 

Keep it in the family

Ratan Tata
AFP/Getty Images

Cyrus Mistry - the first chairman from outside the Tata family - has unexpectedly left India's huge Tata conglomerate.

Ratan Tata (pictured) has returned as interim chairman and a selection committee has been set up to find a permanent replacement for Mr Mistry, who led the company since late December 2012.

Tata Sons owns the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, as well as Tetley Tea. 

It is one of India's oldest industrial houses and comprises over 100 companies, including Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power and the IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services.

What does HNA do?

Hainan Airlines planes
Getty Images

HNA is hardly a household name outside of China, but it's an enormous company. It claims to make $30bn in annual revenues and have nearly 200,000 workers worldwide.

It started life in 1993 as a regional airline on Hainan Island, but has grown rapidly into one of China's biggest tourism companies, with investments in nearly 2,000 hotels and 1,250 aircraft.

Speaking about its deal for a 25% stake in Hilton hotel group, HNA chief executive Adam Tan said it was part of the group's expansion into a "global tourism business". 

BreakingChinese firm buys $6.5bn stake in Hilton hotels

Hilton hotel

A major Chinese tourism group is acquiring a 25% stake in hotelier Hilton.

HNA will pay about $6.5bn (£5.3bn) to buy the stake from private equity group Blackstone.

Under the deal, HNA cannot reduce its stake over the next two years or increase it without Hilton's permission. 

"We believe this mutually beneficial relationship will open new opportunities for our brands and guests around the world, particularly in light of HNA’s strong position in the fast-growing Chinese travel and tourism market, the largest outbound travel and tourism market in the world," said Hilton chief executive Christopher J. Nassetta.

In defence of the Bank's independence

The independence of the Bank of England continues to vex MPs and economists.

Chancellor Philip Hammond was forced to deny last week that the government planned to encroach on the Bank's control of monetary policy, amid criticism from several senior Tories of central bankers' handling of the economy.

Andrew Sentance, a former member of the Bank's interest-rate setting committee, has pitched in, saying that inflation was highest in the only period when the Bank wasn't independent.

It was nationalised in 1946 before being returned to independence in 1998 by then-Chancellor Gordon Brown.

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The virtues of being early

FT Monday

Being early to any event is the only way to live, according to the latest column from the FT's Lucy Kellaway.

"Time spent waiting is not wasted," she argues and, for meetings, it allows you to choose where to sit.

She has trawled through the FT's archive to see who was early and late for the newspaper's Lunch with the FT column.

Jeremy Clarkson, Sean Penn and Paul Krugman were all early.

Latecomers were Russell Brand and Edward Snowden: "both of whom have upset so many people in the course of what they do, it makes no odds if they upset then a bit more," Lucy says.

EU countries liable to pay more tariffs than the UK

Reality Check

Crane at Tilbury Docks

If politicians fail to agree a trade deal, then following Brexit trading between the UK and the European Union would be subject to tariffs. But who would make the most from those tariffs?

A report out this morning from the Civitas think tank says that EU countries would have to pay more.

It's covered in a number of papers, including the Guardian.

The key paragraph in the Civitas report is: "This is a reflection of the current balance of trade between the EU and the UK. As a net importer of EU goods the UK government would potentially collect over twice as much in tariffs on EU goods than would be levied on UK goods going to the EU."

What it doesn't consider is whether the sales of UK goods in the EU or EU goods in the UK would be affected by these tariffs. Clearly if tariffs were introduced prices would go up, which would be expected to reduce sales of both UK exports and imports. That makes the report a somewhat less useful guide to how trade would look post-Brexit.

Smuggler pays millions to avoid prison

Rows of the ends of cigarettes piled up

The Evening Standard reports this morning that millionaire tobacco smuggler Robert Doran has coughed up £4.5m to avoid being returned to prison.

Mr Doran made his fortune by bringing illicit cigarettes into Britain. He had an expensive flat in Dubai, drove sports cars and flew first-class. 

When he was caught he was jailed for four and a half years for conspiring to evade excise duty. 

Legal wrangling went on when Mr Doran was ordered to hand over his illegal earnings. He attempted to invoke the Human Rights Act to hold on to the criminal profits.

He's now paid up in full, plus interest.

FTSE 100 retreats

The FTSE 100 has backtracked, it was heading towards its record closing high, but has lost most of those gains.

British American Tobacco is the biggest loser, down 2.6%.

Pharmaceutical firms are also dragging the FTSE 100 lower. Shire is down 1.7% and AstraZeneca is down 1.5%.

Perhaps the pound’s mild increase against the dollar... put off investors; perhaps it was the sharp drop in CBI industrial order expectations, hitting a 7 month low of -17. Either way investors weren’t interested in carrying the FTSE any higher this Monday morning.

Connor CampbellSpreadEx Financial Analyst

UK manufacturers 'negative' about weaker pound

UK factory

While the weaker pound has boosted demand for products made in the UK, it's not all good news, according to the CBI Quarterly Industrial Trends Survey

"The majority of exporting manufacturing firms have said that the fall in the pound since June has had a negative impact on their business...  47% of manufacturing firms cited sterling’s depreciation as having a negative impact, against 32% citing a positive impact," the report said.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, explained: "The weaker pound is [also] feeding through to costs, which are rising briskly and may well spill over into higher consumer prices in the months ahead."

Gig economy workers need to be tax-wise

BBC personal finance reporter, Kevin Peachey tweets:

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BreakingUS trading firms strike their own deal

This is a big deal in the US share trading business.

Ameritrade is buying Scottrade in a deal worth $4bn.

As well as providing share trading services, Scottrade offers online banking products, commercial lending and financing for commercial equipment.

Combined the two firms handle 600,000 client trades on an average day.

UK Fashion Plc 'in vogue'

French Connection
Getty Images

French Connection is one of the biggest winners on the London Stock Exchange so far - rising 13% - after the Telegraph's report that it's a possible takeover target. 

"UK Plc is still very much in vogue in fashion circles abroad, especially in Asia," says Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets. 

"With the right investment, French Connection could be well placed to take advantage of a lower sterling," he adds.

Burberry last week said UK sales had grown by almost a third because of tourists' higher spending power from the fall in the pound.

British banker pleads not guilty

Rurik Jutting
Rurik Jutting in a prison bus in November 2014

Rurik Jutting, the British banker accused of murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong, has pleaded not guilty on grounds of diminished responsibility.

BBC News correspondent Danny Vincent reports from Hong Kong High Court:

Mr Jutting appeared noticeably thinner in court than during his earlier pre-trial hearings. He arrived flanked by four police officers.

Clean-shaven, he wore a smart blue shirt and black spectacles. The Cambridge-educated banker took notes and appeared calm and collected as he pleaded not guilty to murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The jury were warned that they would be expected to look at extremely violent evidence during the trial.

Japan market edges up despite Nintendo fall

A Nintendo launch

Japan's Nikkei index edged up 0.3% Monday - despite another sharp fall in the shares of video game giant Nintendo. 

The Super Mario creator lost a further 4.8% - adding to Friday's 6.5% loss - as investors seemed less than impressed with the sneak preview of its latest games console. There were also reports Nintendo would report an operating loss for the first half of the financial year when earnings come out later this week. 

In China, the Shanghai Composite finished 1.2% higher while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added almost 1%. South Korea's Kospi also closed higher, adding 0.7%.

Business 'distress levels' improve

UK and EU flags
Getty Images

With the first official growth figures for the months since the Brexit vote out later this week, all eyes are on indicators of how businesses have been faring. 

A report out this morning shows the number of companies suffering significant financial distress improved during the three months to the end of September. 

There were 248,916 struggling businesses - those seen as a potential credit risk - in the third quarter, a 6% fall on the previous three months, according to business recovery advisors Begbies Traynor.

"The UK economy appears to be in a stronger position than expected following the EU Referendum result," said Ric Traynor, executive chairman at Begbies Traynor.

European markets buoyed by PMI

European markets are looking perky after those purchasing managers surveys (PMI) showed "renewed signs of life" in the eurozone. 

Germany's Dax is up 0.8% at 10,797 points after touching its highest level this year. France's Cac is 0.7% higher at 4,568 and the FTSE 100 is holding onto its modest gains at 7,040. 

"With little on the UK agenda until Thursday’s GDP data this Monday’s focus is on the Eurozone flash manufacturing and services PMIs," said Connor Campbell at Spreadex.

'Renewed signs of life' in the Eurozone economy

The surveys of purchasing managers by IHS Markit are closely watched by the markets. Markit creates an index of activity from the results and the latest one for the Eurozone has indicated a pick-up in activity.

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The eurozone economy showed renewed signs of life at the start of the fourth quarter, enjoying its strongest expansion so far this year with the promise of more to come. With backlogs of work accumulating at the fastest rate for over five years, business activity growth and hiring look set to accelerate further as we head towards the end of the year"

Chris WilliamsonChief business economist, IHS Markit