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Summary

  1. Mixed Start for Wall Street
  2. Europe gives chilly reaction to May
  3. Former VW boss questioned over scandal
  4. Sterling rises and FTSE 100 falls
  5. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

    That's all from us - we'll be back tomorrow at 6am with more news and analysis. Hope you can join us then. 

  2. US stocks close lower

    US trader

    US stocks closed lower on Thursday as investors avoided making risky bets ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration. 

    The Dow Jones lost 0.37% to 19,732.40, the S&P 500 was down 0.36% at 2,263.69, and the Nasdaq was 0.28% lower at 5,540.08.

    The dollar shed 0.3% against the euro to €0.93790.

    Peter Tuz of Chase Investment Counsel told Reuters: "People are little bit jittery ahead of the inauguration and after the rally we've had. I'm not surprised the market is down."

    On Thursday, spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that Mr Trump would begin "enacting an agenda of real change" within the first few days of his presidency. 

  3. New app will alert traders about Trump tweets

    Donald Trump

    UK firm Trading.co.uk is launching an app that will alert investors about comments made on social media by Donald Trump. 

    The President-elect's tweets can cause wild gyrations in a company's stock. He knocked several billion dollars off the value of pharmaceutical shares a week ago after he said firms were "getting away with murder" with their prices. 

    And a series of December tweets caused shares in Lockheed Martin and Boeing to spiral. 

    Trading.co.uk chief Gareth Mann said: "We can let you know when Trump tweets. We can let you know when he mentions a particular stock, or when he mentions a stock and a country."

  4. Monte dei Paschi bailout 'not an EU fudge', says Dijsselbloem

    Video content

    Video caption: Monte dei Paschi compensation 'not an EU fudge' says Dijsselbloem

    As Italy's troubled banks, in particular Monte dei Paschi, look set for a government bailout, ordinary household investors, who bought bonds from the lenders thinking they were safe, are worried that they may be forced to lose some of their money because of an EU law. 

    The law mandates that investors must take a hit when a big bank fails, before the burden falls on the taxpayer. 

    The head of the Eurogoup finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, told the BBC's Joe Miller that those customers must be compensated. 

    The Italian government would find it politically difficult to force regular people to help bail out a failing lender. A workaround has been suggested in which investors are compensated for their bond purchases, because they were mis-sold the bonds by the bank. 

    What does the man who heads the Eurogroup, which represents the eurozone's financial interests, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, think? He spoke to the BBC's Joe Miller. 

  5. Cement giant LafargeHolcim faces Syria probe

    LafargeHolcim

    French authorities have launched a criminal probe into LafargeHolcim, the world's largest cement maker, over its activities in Syria.

    The French company is accused of operating a plant in northern Syria until 2014 - two years after the European Union imposed sanctions on the country.

    The company said was "in the process of establishing the facts concerning our activities in Syria" and would cooperate with prosecutors.

  6. US markets trend lower

    Wall Street sign

    US stocks are trending lower ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration tomorrow as investors refrain from making risky bets. 

    Markets are also digesting the European Central Bank's decision to maintain its loose monetary policy and keep interest rates on hold.

    The Dow Jones is down 0.45% at 19,715.12, the S&P 500 has lost 0.44% to 2,261.86, and the Nasdaq is 0.33% lower at 5,537.21.

  7. What happened at OneWest?

    Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary

    Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary, assembled an investor group to buy a failed California mortgage lender in 2009, rebranded it as OneWest Bank and built it into Southern California's largest bank. 

    However, housing advocacy groups criticised OneWest for being too quick to foreclose on struggling homeowners. Under Mnuchin's watch the bank made 36,000 foreclosures.

    However, in testimony for his confirmation hearing today, Mr Mnuchin rebuffed these claims, calling them politically motivated. 

    "Since I was first nominated to serve as Treasury Secretary, I have been maligned as taking advantage of others' hardships in order to earn a buck. Nothing could be further from the truth," Mnuchin said. 

    He also said OneWest had offered payment reductions to 101,000 borrowers to try to keep them in their homes, saving thousands of jobs and homes.

  8. Tesla avoids recall after Autopilot crash death

    Tesla number plate

    Tesla will not be ordered to recall its semi-autonomous cars in the US, following a fatal crash in May 2016.

    The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its investigation after it found no evidence of a defect in the vehicle.

    Joshua Brown was killed when his car collided with a lorry while operating in Autopilot mode.

    Tesla has stated Autopilot is only designed to assist drivers, who must keep their hands on the wheel.

    Read more.

  9. 'Climate change is real' - US Energy Secretary nominee

    Rick Perry, US Energy Secretary nominee

    Donald Trump's pick for energy secretary, Rick Perry, has also given evidence in a Senate hearing today.

    Mr Perry pledged to promote American energy in all forms, advance the department's science and technology mission and carefully dispose of nuclear waste. He also acknowledged that climate change is real, contradicting his previous position. 

    "I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by man-made activity," he told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn't compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy or American jobs." 

  10. Lloyds named 'most inclusive employer'

    Lloyds banks branch

    Lloyds has been named the most inclusive employer in Britain by lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) charity Stonewall in its Top 100 Employers list for 2017.

    The bank was praised for forming partnerships with LGBT charities, improving training, and flying the bisexual flag and transgender flags at key sites.

    Law firm Pinsent Masons came second, followed by bank JP Morgan.

  11. Mnuchin takeaways

    Steven Mnuchin

    Donald Trump's nominee for US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, gave some insight into his views today. During a senate hearing he said:

    • He is "100% committed" to enforcing sanctions on Russia
    • Reforming the tax system was important for US economic growth
    • The US should be able to achieve 3% to 4% annual growth, which is "absolutely important"
    • Regulation is "killing small banks" and "we don't want to end up in a world where we have four big banks in this country".
    • The US tax department is understaffed and lacks the technology to do a proper job
  12. Moneysupermarket forecasts 12% jump in sales

    Moneysupermarket.com strutting man ad

    Moneysupermarket's ads may have attracted large numbers of complaints but they appear to be working. 

    The firm today said it expected to report a 12% jump in full-year sales to £316m next month after group turnover soared 20% in the fourth quarter. 

    It also expects a near 8% rise in adjusted operating profit to £108m.

  13. Poll on single market access vs immigration control

    Ipsos MORI's first Political Monitor of 2017, suggests 44% of people believe Britain should prioritise having access to the European single market, while 42% think the priority should be controlling immigration.

    In October 45% believed Britain should prioritise single market access, compared with 39% who wanted controlling immigration prioritised.

    Gideon Skinner, Ipsos Mori's head of political research, said:

    Quote Message: Theresa May has called for the country to come together after Brexit, but the divisions on single market access vs immigration control show no signs of going away."

    Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,132 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 13-16 January. Data has been weighted to the profile of the population.

  14. FTSE closes 0.54% lower

    London traders

    The FTSE 100 closed 39.17 points lower at 7,208.44, as the pound’s gains continued to suppress the index.

    Royal Mail was the worst performer, shedding 5.99% following a disappointing third-quarter report this morning.

    Key commodity stocks also slipped, with Fresnillo down 3.39% and Anglo American losing 3.05%.

    The pound is currently 0.44% higher against the dollar at $1.23150, having regained ground following the Prime Minister's Brexit speech earlier this week. 

    Shares in the bigger London-listed firms can suffer when sterling rises, as they generate much of their profits overseas in dollars. 

  15. US stocks dip as Mnuchin gives evidence

    Us traders

    Each of the major US stock indexes has dipped as Steven Mnuchin - the US Treasury Secretary nominee - has been giving evidence to the Senate Finance Committee. 

    During his hearing, Mr Mnuchin said that the Trump administration will follow trade policies to ensure a strong US dollar.

    "I will enforce trade policies that keep our currency strong on the global exchanges and create and protect American jobs," he said.

    The Dow Jones is currently 0.16% lower at 19,773.59, the S&P 500 has lost 0.17% to 2,268.0, and the Nasdaq is down 0.09% at 5,550.75.

  16. Euro pares losses

    Euro-dollar chart

    The euro has regained some ground having plummeted earlier on a decision by the ECB to maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy.

    The currency is now up 0.01% against the dollar at $1.06320.

  17. May wants 'strong strategic partnership'

    Theresa May, Prime Minister

    Mrs May won't be drawn on recent comments from EU leaders that any deal the UK gets must be worse than what it has currently. 

    However, she says: "It will be different, we won't be members of the EU anymore. But we want to build a strong strategic partnership with the EU because we won't be leaving Europe."