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Summary

  1. New car registrations grow modestly in October
  2. IAG cuts growth forecast on Brexit fears
  3. Paris Climate change deal comes into force

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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That's all from the Business Live page for this week. Join us again on Monday for more business news and views.

Berkshire Hathaway underlying profits grow

Coca-Cola
Getty Images

Berkshire Hathaway, the company that owns stakes in Coca-Cola Co and IBM, reported a 24% fall in third quarter profits.

The conglomerate, run by famed American investor and billionaire Warren Buffett, recorded a large one-off gain in the same quarter last year which meant profits fell from $9.43bn to $7.2bn. 

Stripping the gain out, operating profit rose 7% to $4.85bn.

'The Simpsons' to break record as longest-running US TV show

Writer/producer Matt Groening interacts with a projection of Homer Simpson
Getty Images

Ay Caramba! "The Simpsons" has been renewed for two more seasons running until 2019, Twenty-First Century Fox's Fox Broadcasting has said, meaning it will break the record for most episodes of any scripted TV show in US history.

"The Simpsons" is currently in its 28th season, with just over 600 episodes aired. By 2019, it will have outpaced western TV drama "Gunsmoke," which finished after 635 episodes in 1975.

"Take that 'Gunsmoke!' You lost a race you didn't even know you were running!," Homer Simpson said in a statement from Fox.

US heads for 'full employment'

Stanley Fischer
getty

The vice chairman of the US Federal Reserve said that America's labour market is experiencing a "powerful recovery" and claimed that the economy was nearly at "full employment". 

Stanley Fischer was speaking as new data showed that US employers added 161,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate edged down to 4.9%. 

Mr Fischer told an International Monetary Fund economics conference: "This recovery has been and continues to be powerful in terms of one of [the Fed's] two main targets - employment - and it is my view that the labor market is close to full employment."

Employment and growth forecasts are key factors in the Fed deciding to change interest rates.

Markets predict that the US central bank may now lift interest rates in December. 

Energy firms announce $1bn climate fund

The Paris Climate agreements come into force today, and the bosses of seven big oil companies gathered in London to sign an agreement to work together to cut emissions.

The group – including BP, Norway’s Statoil, and the Saudi oil company Aramco – accounts for a fifth of world oil supply, and they will create a $1bn fund to boost their climate change efforts.

They will research renewable energy, share technology between member companies and reduce leakages of methane from oil and gas plants – a big cause of global warming.

Three of their chief executives – Bob Dudley of BP, Patrick Pouyanne of Statoil and Eldar Saetre of Statoil – met with the BBC’s business editor Simon Jack after the signing ceremony to discuss their plans.

He began by asking them why they were signing their agreement today.  

Self-drive delivery van can be 'built in four hours'

Van mock-up
Charge

A self-drive electric delivery van, that could be on UK streets next year, has been unveiled at the Wired 2016 conference in London.

The vehicle's stripped-back design and lightweight materials mean it can be assembled by one person in four hours, the firm behind it claims.

The vehicles will be "autonomous-ready", for when self-drive legislation is in place, the firm said.

The government wants to see self-drive cars on the roads by 2020.

Read more here.

S&P 500 falls for ninth session in a row

The S&P 500 share index has ended lower for the ninth day in a row, the longest losing streak for the benchmark index in more than 35 years, as investors stayed on edge just ahead of an uncertain US election.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.39 points, or 0.24%, to 17,888.28, the S&P 500 lost 3.48 points, or 0.17%, to 2,085.18 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.04 points, or 0.24%, to 5,046.37. 

Hack attacks cut internet access in Liberia

Liberia has been repeatedly cut off from the internet by hackers targeting its only link to the global network.

Recurrent attacks up to 3 November flooded the cable link with data, making net access intermittent.

Researchers said the attacks showed hackers trying different ways to use massive networks of hijacked machines to overwhelm high-value targets.

Experts said Liberia was attacked by the same group that caused web-wide disruption on 21 October.

Read more here.

Sterling on course for best week since 2009

Pound coins and bank notes
Getty Images

The pound has risen almost a cent to put it on course for its best week against the dollar since October 2009.

It has clawed back almost 3 percent this week after a ruling from the High Court that the government needed parliamentary approval to start the Brexit process.

North Sea oil production 'to surge' in December says Bloomberg

Oil platform
Thinkstock

North Sea oil producers will ship the most crude in four years in December, according to Bloomberg, up 10% month on month to 2.16 million barrels per day.

This represents another challenge to Opec as it seeks to curb production, the article says.

Billionaire hedge fund manager 'treating US election like Brexit 2.0'

Saudis 'could raise oil output again' says Reuters

Oil field
Getty Images

Long-standing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran resurfaced at an Opec meeting last week, with with the Saudis saying they could raise oil output steeply to bring prices down if Iran refuses to limit its supply, the Reuters news agency reports.

"The Saudis have threatened to raise their production to 11 million barrels per day and even 12 million barrels per day, bringing oil prices down, and to withdraw from the meeting," a source told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has increased output since 2014 to record highs of around 10.5 million to 10.7 million barrels per day.

Wall Street edges higher

US stocks edged higher in afternoon trading, helped by a strong jobs report for October, and keeping the market out of danger of declining for a ninth day straight. Investors continue to focus on the US presidential election.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 48.54 points, or 0.27%, rising to 17,979.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.46 points, or 0.40%, to 2,097.1 and the Nasdaq composite rose 18.88 points, or 0.37%, to 5,077.14 points. 

Atomic Weapons Establishment staff to strike

Hundreds of Atomic Weapons Establishment staff in the Unite union are to stage a 24-hour strike on Monday as part of a pensions scheme dispute.

Unite regional officer Bob Middleton said:

"It is a disgrace that the UK government, which is constantly harking on about the importance of the Trident programme, is not prepared to resolve this matter."

Pensions Advisory Service boss stands down after bankruptcy

German prosecutors investigate Facebook over hate postings

Facebook logo
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German prosecutors are investigating Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives, a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office has said.

The probe follows a complaint alleging the company broke national laws against hate speech and sedition by failing to remove racist postings.

The spokesman declined to provide further details.

German attorney Chan-jo Jun had filed a complaint with prosecutors in the Bavarian city in September and demanded that Facebook executives be compelled to comply with anti-hate speech laws by deleting racist or violent postings from its site.

Marks and Spencer store closures expected

Emma Simpson

Business correspondent, BBC News

A sign above a Marks and Spencer store
Getty Images

Marks and Spencer is expected to announce the closure of a number of stores next week as part of plans to turnaround the business.

A shake up of its international operations is also on the cards.

The new boss, Steve Rowe, will update the city on the retailer's latest trading performance on Tuesday as well as set out his latest thinking on how to revive M&S's fortunes.

Smaller branches in weaker high streets are understood to bear the brunt of the cuts, which would happen over the course of a few years.

According to SKY News, they would number in the "low dozens" while other stores would see space reallocated from clothing to its more successful food operations.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said it didn't comment on rumours or speculation.

Betting on Trump 'makes perfect sense'

FTSE 100 closes down after more Trump jitters

With five days left until the US election, Hillary Clinton is still leading in national polling but Donald Trump appears to have narrowed the gap, particularly in swing states. Investors like certainty, and Clinton is seen as likely to maintain the status quo. Trump's policies are less clear, and the uncertainty has caused jitters in financial markets around the world, inclduing the FTSE 100.

The UK's blue chip index closed down 1.43%, or 97.25 points, at 6693.26.

Two US lawmakers on Thursday called for an investigation into whether major pharmaceutical firms colluded to set prices for insulin and other diabetes drugs.

The top FTSE 100 faller was Hikma Pharma, down more than 6% as HSBC highlighted the risk that the company would dragged into the inquiry.

"It's uncertainty around the election which is knocking sentiment at the moment, but pharmaceuticals will likely feel the heat whichever way it goes," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets. 

Paddy Power was the top gainer, rising as it benefitted from foreign exchange effects as sterling fell after the Brexit referendum.

Powerful earthquake strikes Chile

What does air pollution sound like?

Three 'far-fetched' visions of the future

Rory Cellan-Jones

Technology correspondent

Why are UK fuel prices rising?

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

Petrol prices
AFP

There are two main reasons why the price of petrol and diesel has been going up.

First of all, the cost of crude oil has risen sharply since the start of the year.

In January, a barrel of Brent crude was trading below $34 per barrel. By early October the price had risen to nearly $54.

If the price of oil rises, so too does the cost of products made from it -  although the fact that much of the price we pay at the pump is actually tax means the impact, in percentage terms, is lower than it would otherwise be.

Secondly, there's the steep fall in the value of the pound since the summer. 

Oil is priced in dollars on international markets, so if the pound falls against the dollar, the amount we pay for oil-based products is going to rise.

In early October the pound fell sharply and the oil price rallied - so it's really no surprise fuel costs rose.

However, in recent days the cost of crude has fallen back somewhat, and the pound has rallied. If those trends continue, and it's a big if, there might be better news for drivers up ahead.    

Taco Bell to hire 100,000 staff as part of US expansion

Taco Bell outlet
Getty Images

Taco Bell, a unit of fast food giant Yum Brands, has said it will increase the number of its outlets in the US to 9,000 and create 100,000 jobs by the end of 2022, as part of a push to reach $15bn in sales.

Taco Bell, which already has about 7,000 restaurants in the US, had revenues of about $2bn in 2015.

The Mexican fast food chain employs 40,000 people in US company-owned stores.

Taco Bell's US expansion follows plans to grow its international store base to 1,000 restaurants by 2022.

The company, which has 300 restaurants in international markets, opened its first outlet in Brazil in September.

The planned hiring and expansion efforts come after Yum Brands' spinoff of its operations in China, the company's top profit generator, into a separate unit called Yum China earlier this week. 

Bombardier Global 7000 business jet has test flight, says Reuters

Matthew McConaughey and Global 7000
Getty Images

Bombardier's Global 7000 aircraft has had its first test flight over Toronto, the Reuters news agency reports.

The test flight is a milestone for the long-range business jet, which is considered key to the growth of the company's corporate plane division.

The new luxury jet is scheduled to enter service in 2018 after being delayed for two years.

Pictured is US actor Matthew McConaughey who attended a Global 7000 showcase in Beverly Hills in May.

Former Top Gear presenter calls for petrol price regulator

Quentin Willson
Getty Images

Former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson, fellow Fair Fuel campaigner Howard Cox, and Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke have set up a petition  calling for MPs to debate the creation of an independent petrol-pricing regulator.

Mr Willson told the BBC Business Live page that vehicle fuel was one of the very few products UK consumers buy in quantity with little regulation on pricing.

Fuel prices seem to go up overnight when crude oil prices rise, but take "weeks and weeks" to come down, he said. The way fuel prices work appears "obscure and impenetrable", he added.

Mr Willson said that the "excuse" that crude oil is priced in dollars, which means fluctuations in the sterling/dollar exchange rate have an impact on petrol prices, doesn't explain the time lag in petrol prices falling.

"It's just a simple, obvious request," he added. "All we want is transparency."

Samsung fails to keep a lid on recalls

Business reporter Dearbail Jordan writes...

Samsung products
getty

As if Samsung didn't have enough on its plate.

Fresh from dealing with its fiery Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the South Korean company has now had to recall 2.8 million top-loading washing machines in the US.

The reason? The top of the machine can detach itself from the machine and cause injury, which so far includes someone whose jaw was broken. 

Samsung has received nine reports of injuries and 733 notifications of excessive vibration in the washing machines or a detaching top. 

The recall involves 34 models of top-load washing machines made between March 2011 and November 2016.

Who knew doing a wash could be so dangerous?

UN experts urge Brazil to act over mining disaster

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Samarco disaster aftermath
Getty Images

A group of human rights experts from the United Nations is urging the Brazilian authorities to address unresolved issues a year on after the collapse of a mining dam.

Saturday will mark the first anniversary of the incident in the mines operated by Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton that left 19 people dead and a track of pollution by mud.

The panel of experts says many of the 6 million people affected by the tragedy are still suffering with various issues, including a potential water contamination of the River Doce.

It wants the government to ensure that minimal safety levels are guaranteed for the water being consumed.

Last month, prosecutors filed homicide charge against 21 people linked to the firms.

Samarco, Vale and BHP Billiton have set up an institute and agreed to pay compensation and reconstruction of communities for a period of 10 years.

Glasgow frigate work to begin next summer

Brexit vote derails Arriva flotation

Arriva London Overground train
Getty Images

German railways giant Deutsche Bahn has shelved plans for a stock market flotation of Arriva after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the company's boss has said.

State-owned Deutsche Bahn had planned to float up to 45% of Arriva on the London Stock Exchange, as well as part of its logistics unit Schenker.

But chief executive Ruediger Grube said he will inform directors in December that he cannot recommend the initial public offering.

Mr Grube said that "unfortunately, the world has changed fundamentally as a result of Brexit," pointing to the pound's collapse following the June 23 referendum vote.

He added that, if the share sale went ahead, "we would be throwing money out of the window, and acting that way would be foolish."

Arriva is Deutsche Bahn's international arm and operates a number of Britain's train and bus services. 

Sterling continues to climb

BBC Scotland business and economics editor tweets...

Sterling up 2 US cents in 2 days. Partly explained by #Brexit ruling, partly by US election nerves:

Sterling up 2 US cents in 2 days. Partly explained by #Brexit ruling, partly by US election nerves:

Passenger numbers fall 10% at Eurostar

Eurostar
Getty Images

Eurostar has said passenger numbers fell 10% year on year in the third quarter, while sales were down 8%.

It blamed the Nice terror attack in July for dampening demand, but said numbers were rebounding - particularly because of the weaker pound which had made the UK a more appealing destination. 

The operator also said it was pressing ahead with plans for direct rail services between London and Amsterdam. Journeys between the cities are due to begin at the end of 2017.

Liverpool gets new deepwater port

BBC Breakfast

A new £400m deepwater port opens in Liverpool today. The owners Peel Ports want to attract the world's biggest cargo ships away from southern UK ports and create a new transatlantic hub for UK shipping. BBC Breakfast's Ben Thompson had a look around and spoke to Asbjorn Kops from Maersk UK and Helen Kelly a shipping analyst with Lloyds List.

A £400m deepwater port opens in Liverpool today

US jobs and wages rise in October

US workers
Getty Images

US employers continued their strong rate of hiring in October while increasing wages. 

Non farm payrolls were up 161,000 in the month while average hourly earnings rose 0.4%. The unemployment rate edged down to 4.9%.

Observers suggested the figures would have little bearing on the US election, but added weight to the expectation of an interest rate hike in December.

BMW posts record quarterly profit

BMW
Getty

BMW beat expectations today with a record net profit for the quarter to September. 

The German carmaker made earnings of €1.8bn, up 15% year-on-year, having sold a record 583,000 vehicles in the period. 

Sales grew to €23.4bn euros, with its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce divisions all doing well.

The business added it would continue to invest in research and development in areas like electric and driverless cars.

Oil price continues to slide

Oil price
Nasdaq

Oil is headed for its biggest weekly loss in almost 10 months, after Opec failed to agree on production quotas for member countries last week - a preliminary step toward finalising an output freeze. 

Brent crude was trading at around $46 a barrel in the early afternoon -  down from just under $51 seven days ago. 

Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA, told Bloomberg: “Some countries like Iraq are already taking an exit from participating in cuts. What Opec may ultimately deliver risks falling short of what is required.”  

Dyson to open training institute

James Dyson
Getty Images

Inventor James Dyson is to open his own higher education college to tackle skills shortages in UK engineering.

The Dyson Institute of Technology, based at Dyson’s research and development campus in Wiltshire, will offer engineering degrees alongside "hands-on experience" developing Dyson products. Students will also earn a salary as they study. 

Mr Dyson said: “I know there are many people out there who are as obsessive about engineering as I am - questioning every aspect of a product, how it works, and how it can be better. Therefore why not get stuck into an engineering job straight from school?”

European shares down on Trump victory fears

Donald Trump in profile
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 has fallen still further - a short while ago it was down 1.48% at 6,690.2.

As in Asia, the prospect of a Donald Trump victory in the US presidential elections were blamed for the falls.  

And it's not just in London that shares seemed to be reacting negatively. Germany's Dax fell by 1% and the Cac 40 in France fell by 0.7%.

United's Belfast - NYC flight is only regular direct flight

United Airlines plane on ground
Getty Images

US airline United is to stop flights between Belfast and New York, despite a £9m rescue deal.

The financial assistance was revealed by BBC News NI in August.

Most of the money, which was to be given to United over three years, was to come from the Stormont Executive.

The flight is the only regular direct air link between Northern Ireland and the US.

End to United's Belfast to New York flights

BBC News tweets