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Summary

  1. Brent crude down 3.7% at $46.48 a barrel
  2. FTSE 100 closes down 0.40% at 6,772.00
  3. Government will not force firms to put workers on boards
  4. BT forced to 'legally separate' Openreach division
  5. Concerns mount over Italian referendum vote
  6. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

    That's it for another day on the Business Live page.

    Many thanks for staying with us - and do join us again from 6:30am tomorrow morning for all the latest news, reaction and analysis from the world of finance.

  2. US stocks end day higher

    Man walks past New York Stock Exchange

    The three main US indexes have all ended the day higher, picking up some of the ground lost on Monday.

    Wall Street has put on a spurt since Donald Trump's election because investors expect his plans to increase infrastructure spending, cut corporate taxes and reduce regulation to boost the economy. 

    Dow Jones closed up 23.79 points or 0.12% at 19,121.60.

    The Nasdaq - which as we reported an hour ago hit a record of 5,400.58 - ended the day at 5,379.92 - a rise of 11.11 points or 0.21%.

    And the S&P 500 finished at 2,204.66, that's an increase of 2.94 points or 0.13% higher. 

  3. SMMT boss urges staying in single market

    More on that Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) dinner that our correspondents were tweeting about earlier - and the organisation has now published details of its president's speech in which Gareth Jones pointed to the success of the industry's recent growth and outlined the "risks to investment and success if the benefits of the single market were lost".

    The SMMT said its new analysis suggested that EU tariffs on cars alone could add at least an annual £2.7bn to imports and £1.8bn to exports. 

    Addressing 1,100 industry leaders and government officials at the dinner, Mr Jones said: "The challenge now is to make a success of the new future. We want a strong UK economy and we want to see the UK's influence in the world enhanced. 

    "But this cannot be at the expense of jobs, growth or being an open, welcoming trading nation. You, our members, have told us what you want; membership of the single market, consistency in regulations, access to global talent and the ability to trade abroad free from barriers and red tap," he added.

  4. Supermarket Iceland wants talks with Icelandic government

    Iceland logo and Union Jack

    Supermarket Iceland says it wants talks with the Icelandic government in the legal battle over the store's name.

    The chain owns the European trademark use for the name, which Icelandic officials claim the firm defends "aggressively".

    Businesses in the Nordic country say it means they find it difficult to use the term to describe goods and services from their own homeland.

    The store said it is sending a team to Iceland this week for talks. Read more here

  5. Focus on Brexit at car industry bash

    BBC Industry correspondent tweets ...

    John Moylan is at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' annual dinner - where the organisation's boss quantifies the impact of any post-Brexit increase in tariffs could have on car prices.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  6. Nasdaq hits record

    Nasdaq intraday graph

    With less than an hour to go in trading on Wall Street - the three main indexes are all still trading higher.

    In fact the technology-heavy Nasdaq hit a new record a few minutes ago, before easing off again. 

    It was up by 0.59% at 5,400.58. It's now 0.30% ahead. 

  7. Self-driving Fords to be tested in Europe in 2017?

    BBC business presenter tweets

    Ford announced three months ago that it would mass-produce a fully autonomous self-driving car without a steering wheel by 2021. 

    Well, now it seems BBC business presenter Adam Parson has learned that the vehicles might be trialled on roads in Europe as soon as next year. 

    View more on twitter
  8. Demand for lithium expected to triple

    BBC World Service

    Lithium, or white petrol as it's becoming known, is a hot commodity. Demand for the metal could triple in the next ten years, driven particularly by a rise in demand for batteries in products like smartphones, laptops and electric cars. 

    As we reported earlier, several leading carmakers including Ford, BMW and Porsche have announced they want to build a Europe-wide network of charging stations for electric vehicles, and that's music to the ears of lithium producers like the Canadian firm Wealth Minerals. 

    The BBC's Jon Bithrey spoke to the company's chief executive, Henk Van Alphen for World Business Report.  

    Video content

    Video caption: The chief executive of lithium producer Wealth Minerals tells us why it's a hot commodity.
  9. Burkina Faso miners seize gold

    Molton gold

    Miners in Burkina Faso have seized 43kg of gold worth about $1.7m (£1.4m), a firm says, and are refusing to return it until they get a pay-off.

    The gold was seized by a bailiff on behalf of the miners at the main airport in the capital on 7 October.

    But London-listed Avocet Mining,says it needs the smelted gold back to raise money for the workers' settlement.

    The dispute at Inata mine dates back to 2014 and the sacking of 317 workers. Read more here

  10. Law firm Eversheds in merger talks

    UK law firm Eversheds has confirmed it is in talks with US firm Sutherland over a proposed merger.    

    The new firm would be called Eversheds Sutherland and have 2,300 lawyers in 61 offices across 29 countries. 

    Partners in the two firms are likely to vote on the proposal by the end of this year.

    "Joining forces with Sutherland will give each firm’s clients a global platform and we will be discussing the proposal with our Partners positively in the coming weeks,” said Eversheds chief executive. Bryan Hughes.

  11. Animal products in new fiver 'unacceptable'

    Video content

    Video caption: Hindu Forum of Britain to discuss banning five pound notes from temples
  12. First Scottish gold sold for 'premium' price

    Scottish gold

    The first gold to be commercially mined in Scotland has been sold at auction in Edinburgh.

    Mining firm Scotgold Resources extracted the gold from 2,400 tonnes of ore which was taken from Cononish mine near Tyndrum.

    The gold was sold in "rounds" stamped with the Scottish Gold Mark and a unique serial number.

    The average price was £4,557.9 per ounce, which Scotgold said was a premium of 378% over current prices.

  13. Sky enters UK mobile phone market

    Sky customer

    Broadcaster Sky is launching its own mobile phone service.

    Sky Mobile will offer flexible monthly payment plans and the ability to roll over unused data each month for up to three years.

    Sky will become a "quad play" provider, offering broadband, television fixed-line telephone and a mobile service.

    And existing Sky TV customers will not have to pay for calls or texts and can compile playlists of their favourite shows to watch on their mobiles.

    According to Sky, some 46,000 have pre-registered for the service.

  14. 'Continuity for GB Energy customers'

    More on that Co-Op Energy/GB Energy story...

    Gas cooker ring

    Ben Reid, chief executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, the owner of Co-operative Energy, says: “We have worked very hard over the last few days with Ofgem to structure an agreement that provides continuity for GB Energy Supply’s customers, employees and the company’s customer service and billing contractors.

    “As the only member-owned energy supplier in the UK, we put customers’ interests first and are pleased to be able to offer GB Energy Supply’s customers this same commitment.”

    Customers of GB Energy Supply will be contacted by Co-operative Energy over the coming days with more information about their tariff and current credit balance.

  15. BreakingCo-operative Energy to take on GB Energy Supply’s customers

    Quote Message: Ofgem has chosen Co-operative Energy to take on supplying GB Energy Supply’s customers. The company will honour all outstanding credit balances for both current customers, and for past customers of GB Energy Supply who are still owed money. For current customers any credit on their account will be used to offset future energy use. The appointment of Co-Operative Energy follows a competitive process run by Ofgem to get the best deal possible for GB Energy Supply’s customers. Co-operative Energy is offering GB Energy Supply’s customers the same price as they were paying before, both for customers on fixed deals and on standard variable tariffs. If customers wish to change their tariff, they should ask Co-operative Energy to switch to another deal, or shop around. No exit fees will be charged. The cost of protecting customers’ balances will be partly met by Co-operative Energy and the rest will be covered by the safety net put in place by Ofgem, which is funded by a levy spread across all energy suppliers. Customers of GB Energy Supply will be contacted by Co-operative Energy over the coming days with more information about their tariff and current credit balance. Co-operative Energy will be supporting GB Energy Supply’s existing customer contact centre. This means that customers can use the same customer contact details as they used with GB Energy Supply. from Ofgem statement
    Ofgem statement
  16. Qatar's £1bn pledge for Tunisia's economy

    BBC World Service

    Security at Tunisia 2020 conference

    The Gulf state of Qatar has promised more than $1.25bn (£1bn) in aid to help shore-up Tunisia's economy, reports BBC World Service. 

    Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the money was intended to strengthen Tunisia's “process of development”.  

    The pledge came at the start of a conference in Tunis that has drawn together 2,000 business leaders and politicians from around the world.

    It's hoped the event might attract more than $30bn worth of investment. Tunisia has encountered major economic challenges in the aftermath of its "Arab Spring" revolution in 2011. It says it needs support, but also that the success of its democratic project would strengthen regional security.    

  17. Key US indexes in positive territory

    Let's get a quick update on US shares now: at the open the Dow and the S&P 500 were both down slightly, while the Nasdaq had gained. 

    Now, though, all three key indexes are trading higher. 

    A short while ago the Dow Jones was at 19,123.56 - a rise of 25.66 points or 0.13%.

    The S&P 500 was at 2,206.60, that's up 4.88 points or 0.22%. 

    And the Nasdaq was at 5,394.86, which is 26.05 points or 0.49% higher. 

  18. FTSE 100 closes down

    London Stock Exchange sign

    The  FTSE 100  closed down by 27.47 points or 0.40% at 6,772.00. 

    The three biggest fallers of the day were all mining stocks, dragged down by the lower oil and metals prices. Antofagasta dropped by 3.91%, Fresnillo was 3.44% down and BHP Billiton ended 3.03% lower. 

    Telecoms company BT finished the day up by 0.86%. Earlier it had fallen on the news that telecoms regulator Ofcom had ordered BT to legally separate from its Openreach division, which runs the UK's broadband infrastructure.

    Shares in rival TalkTalk benefited from the ruling - closing up by 3.39%. 

  19. Power cable damaged

    John Moylan

    BBC industry & employment correspondent

    National Grid has confirmed that an electric cable that carries power between the UK and France has been damaged. 

    While the cause is still under investigation, the problem with the cable appears to coincide with Storm Angus which hit the UK on 20 November.  

    The 2GW interconnector, which can power around one million homes, is actually made up of eight separate cables of which four were damaged. 

    The fault on the cross-channel cable appears to be around 5km off the coast of the United Kingdom in depths of about 20m. 

    National Grid says that the interconnector will operate at 50% capacity until the end of February 2017. 

    In recent years the UK has tended to be a net importer of power via the interconnector due to an abundance of cheap nuclear power from France. 

    But problems with French nuclear plants have led to concerns about power shortages there this winter which has sent wholesale prices higher. Subsequently, in recent weeks, flows have been more mixed.

    National Grid says that as a result it has already factored in a reduced flow of power from France to the UK over the winter. It says it has a number of tools in place to manage supplies over the winter period and to keep the power flowing to where it is needed, including 3.5GW of reserve.