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Summary

  1. FTSE 100 climbs on weak pound
  2. Npower targeted on shock price rise
  3. UK services sector growth slows
  4. Fukushima radiation at record high
  5. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Good night

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BBC

That's it for another extraordinary week in business and economics.

Have a great weekend and we look forward to you joining Business Live again on Monday morning from 6.00am sharp.

Time to meet Dame Vera Lynn again

Decca is releasing a new album featuring the voice of 100 year-old Dame Vera Lynn. 

Dame Vera, famed as the forces sweetheart during the Second World War, has been with Decca throughout her career.

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US stocks get Trump boost again

Donald Trump's first step to try to scale back US financial services regulations has gone down well with US markets, plus a strong US jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 20,000 at 20,070.43, up 185.52 points, the S&P 500 closed at 2,297.30, or 16.49 points higher, and the Nasdaq closed at 5,666.77 or 30.57 points up, a record high.

US tech start-ups fret over immigration ban

IT worker
Getty Images

Start ups in the US were particularly strident in their criticism of Donald Trump's immigration travel ban, and not just on moral grounds. 

Immigrants represent a large proportion of the sector's work force and have helped found many of Silicon Valley's best known companies (Apple and Google being just two examples). 

"There is a panic in the start-up community," Bill Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told Reuters. "Startups are very concerned because of the unpredictability of the order."  

"Here and now, today, we have businesses that are stopping because their employees can't travel in and out of the United States," added David Cowan, a partner at venture capital fund Bessemer.

"This will be the number one cause of missed business plans in 2017."

Financial review sends stocks above 20,000

Trader
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Dow Jones stocks jumped back over 20,000 on Friday after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review the Dodd Frank Act.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175.31 points to 20,060.22.

Shares in US financial institutions soared following the announcement, with Visa's stock leading the risers, up 5%.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan also enjoyed big gains on Friday, rising 4.3% and 2.8% respectively. 

Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan, is a member of Mr Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum.

At a meeting earlier today, Mr Trump said: "We have some of the bankers here. There's nobody better to tell me about Dodd Frank than Jamie so you're going to tell me about it." 

The Trump effect

In just a week an awful lot of things have happened in the world of Trump.

Here's just a few...

Who's the latest Trump-related casualty?

Iran retaliates against US sanctions

Iran has announced that it impose legal restrictions on US individuals and entities that help "regional terrorist groups" in answer to sanctions announced by the new American administration.

Reuters reports that Iran's foreign ministry said: "In retaliation for the US sanctions, Iran will impose legal restrictions on some American individuals and entities that were involved in helping and founding regional terrorist groups."

It said names of the entities and individuals would be announced later.

Dodd Frank protects homeowners

US home
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Democrat congressman Jim Himes tells the BBC: "Dodd-Frank of course was the legislative response to the economic carnage that came about because of the financial meltdown of late 2008.

"Much of the legislation... is designed to get at those things which went horribly wrong, that is to say, problems in the mortgage market" he said.

Dodd-Frank prohibits the sale of mortgages to clients who can't repay them, it restricts the number of complicated mortgages, and restricts bundling those mortgages up and selling them as securities, he said.

Trump signs Dodd Frank executive order

Donald Trump
AP

On signing an executive action on the Dodd-Frank Act, US President Donald Trump said: "Today we're assigning core principals for regulating the United States financial system...it doesn't get much bigger than that, right?"

Earlier this week, the president said that Dodd Frank was "a disaster" and "we're going to be doing a big number" on it. 

White House sets out timetable for regulatory changes

Steven Mnuchin
ge

More on US President Donald Trump's plan to "cut a lot" out of Dodd Frank, the law that was introduced to stop another financial crisis.

The US Treasury Secretary will have to submit a report on regulatory changes and legislative recommendations in 120 days, according to a White House official.

Steven Mnuchin is the Treasury Secretary nominee. He is a former partner of US investment bank Goldman Sachs. During the financial crisis, he and a group of investors bought a mortgage lender called IndyMac which was renamed OneWest Bank.

The lender was subject to legal action and protests over alleged aggressive foreclosure practices.

Oil rises on Iran sanctions

Oil prices crept up on Friday after the US introduced sanctions against Iran.

Brent crude rose by 30 cents to $56.86 a barrel while US oil added 24 cents to $53.78.

The new US administration announced a number of sanctions against Iran on Friday after the country recently launched a ballistic missile test.

US lands cut price jets deal

F-35 jet
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The Pentagon has negotiated a price cut on 90 F-35 stealth fighter jets in an $8.5bn deal with Lockheed Martin.

The US Department of Defense will pay below $95m per jet for the first time compared to the $102m price tag for the last order. 

US President Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of the cost of the programme, which he said was "out of control, and has publicly considered handing a contract to Boeing instead to update its F-18 jet. 

Marillyn Hewson, chairwoman, president and chief executive at Lockheed Martin has had meetings with Mr Trump. She said in December: "I've heard his message loud and clear about reducing the cost of the F-35."

"I gave him my personal commitment to drive the cost down aggressively We're ready to deliver."

Dodd Frank has prevented Trump's friends from borrowing

Stephen Schwarzman (L) Donald Trump (C) Mary Barra (R)
Getty Images

US President Donald Trump says he expects to "cut a lot out" of the Dodd Frank Act which has stopped some of his friends from borrowing money.

The US administration has announced it will undertake a review of the law which was introduced to stop a repeat of the financial crisis which ushered in a recession.

At a meeting of his Strategic and Policy Forum, which includes Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan, Mr Trump said: "We have some of the bankers here. There's nobody better to tell me about Dodd Frank than Jamie so you're going to tell me about it.

"But we expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd Frank because frankly I have so many people, friends of mine that have nice businesses, they can't borrow money, they just can't any money because the banks just won't let them borrow because of the rules and regulations in Dodd Frank so we'll be talking about that Jamie in terms of the banking industry." 

Dodd-Frank review a 'win' for banks

Wall Street bull
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Investors are welcoming the new US administration's review of financial regulations which were introduced under President Obama to stop a repeat of the financial crisis.

Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, says: "I like the rollback of Dodd-Frank.

"It's a net-net win for the overall financial market because these rules and regulations have meant a big increase in costs for major banks and brokerage firms."     

Jasper Lawler, a senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said: "Since Dodd-Frank was introduced, banks have devoted a lot more capital towards compliance and have had to decrease leverage, both of which are a direct hit to profitability.

"If Dodd-Frank is watered down, that's a direct boost to the bottom line for banks." 

BreakingUS announces review of financial regulations

The US government has just announced that it will go ahead with a review of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was introduced in 2010 following the financial crisis.

Banks buoy London stocks

Barclays
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The FTSE 100 ended 47.55 points ahead at 7,188.30 on Friday, with financial institutions leading the way.

Barclays led the rises, up 3.3% at 228.85p, followed by insurer Prudential whose shares grew 3% to £16.00. Stock in RBS also rose by 2.7% at 228.5p despite sustaining a $85m fine in the US.

Jonathan Roy, investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, told Reuters: "Generally investor sentiment around the banks, especially with Donald Trump coming in, is starting to improve."

The US president is set to review the Dodd-Frank Act which was introduced in 2010 in response to the global financial crisis.

Snap to it

The US owner of Snapchat messaging app is about to make a buncle when the business floats with a value of between $20bn and $25bn.

However, there are ways that Joe or Josephine Public can make a living out of the messaging app. 

Tanner Fox explains how...

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US jobs growth will be 'big league'

Donald Trump
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More from US President Donald Trump on today's job figures which provoked a mixed reaction from Wall Street - see previous posts.

Commenting on future employment prospects, Mr Trump said: “I think that it’s going to continue big league.”

"We're bringing back jobs, we're bringing down your taxes, we’re getting rid of your regulations. I think it's going to be some really exciting times ahead.” 

RBS fined over benchmark manipulation claims

RBS
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RBS is to pay a $85m fine to resolve civil charges that it attempted to manipulate a global benchmark for interest rate products.

The case was brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission after a number of parties accused 14 banks of conspiring to rig the "ISDAFIX" benchmark for their own gain from at least 2007 to 2012.

Chief executive Ross McEwan, said: "This is an example of past misconduct that has no place at RBS.

"These findings make for uncomfortable reading and we have already taken significant steps to make sure this kind of behaviour cannot happen again."

US crackdown on financial regulation spreads

Ferragamo sticks to 'made in Italy' ethos

Salvatore Ferragamo
Getty Images

Eraldo Poletti, the chief executive of luxury leather goods maker and fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo is relaxed about the new US administration. 

Mr Poletti told The Associated Press that any tax on imports could be balanced out by other factors such as currency fluctuations.

He said that he would not consider moving Salvatore Ferragamo to the US since its "Made in Italy" promise is at the heart of the brand.

He said Salvatore Ferragamo would adjust, adding that: "the beauty of the global economy is that things will balance out. I think we are very emotional about things and then actually there is a solution to everything.''   

Trump upbeat on employment numbers

Stephen Schwarzman
Getty Images

So it looks like Donald Trump has come down on optimistic side on today's job numbers -  see the previous post on Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index at 2.58pm.

He said that the job numbers for January show that there is a "great spirit in the country right now".

The US President is currently meeting with his strategic and policy committee which contains chief executives from some of America's biggest businesses and is chaired by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, chief executive and founder of private equity giant Blackstone.

How to rebalance an ecomony

For Nigeria, the majority of its economy is based on oil but how can it move away from this dominate sector?

BBC Taking Business investigates... 

How do you rebalance your economy?

Trump orders review of Dodd-Frank rules

US Iranian sanctions list in full

The new US administration has announced new sanctions against Iranian companies and individuals.

Read the full list here - scroll to the end.

BreakingUS imposes sanctions on Iran

The US administration has imposed sanctions on 12 companies and 13 people following Iran's recent ballistic missile test. 

Anglo-German exchange HQ 'should be in Frankfurt'

Frankfurt skyline
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The combined London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse should have its headquarters in Frankfurt because of Brexit, according to a German minister.

Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of the state of Hesse, tells Reuters: "The reasons for the headquarters being in Frankfurt are crystal clear.

"Those involved in London must recognise, also in their own interests, that it would not be a good idea to keep the plans as they are now."

Mr Schaefer is a minister in the regional government that must give approval for the deal to go ahead.

His remarks have emerged at a sensitive time for the deal after it emerged earlier this week that German prosecutors are examining share deals made by Deutsche Boerse chief executive, Carsten Kengeter, two months before the merger with London was announced. 

Deutsche Boerse says it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Turn to Twitter for US economic policy clues

Donald Trump
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Following mixed employment and wage data, Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index, says investors should turn their attention to US President Donald Trump's reaction.

"Will the president want to take credit for the 227,000 jobs created? Or will he lament the rise in the unemployment and the underemployment rate?" 

She adds: "It is worth noting, that Trump’s team want to scrap the unemployment rate and make the underemployment rate the key gauge for the health of the US labour market. Thus, it will be worth watching Trump’s twitter account for any potential reaction to the increase in both of these rates and the disappointing wage data.

"In fairness, it puts pressure on Trump to disclose his economic plans in more detail, which is something the market desperately wants to hear."

Norstrom drops Ivanka Trump's fashions

Upmarket US department store Nordstrom has stopped selling Ivanka Trump's fashion line. This is not, it insists, because of the #GrabYourWallet campaign on Twitter but because of poor sales.

The boycott was started by San Franciscan Shannon Coulter following obscene comments about sexually assaulting women made by US President Donald Trump.

View more on twitter

Dollar see-saws on mixed US employment figures

US dollar
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The US dollar struggled to settle after new US jobs data emerged. 

Neil Wilson at ETC Capital, says: "We’ve just seen some very whippy trading in the US dollar after a monthly non-farm payrolls report that can only be described as mixed. It’s a report that will do nothing to make the Fed raise rates quicker, despite the strong-than-expected headline number."

While he agrees that the headline number is better than expected: "The bad news was that wage growth was virtually non-existent and the unemployment rate was higher than thought."

All in all "probably not enough to materially alter market expectations for interest rates particularly as it seems the Fed is now playing a waiting game – patiently looking for what the new Trump administration plans to do with regards tax and spending.”

US jobs data stokes confusion over rate rise

Sotha Iam, a seamstress at the National Capital Flag Co
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Although there has been a welcome rise in US employment, wage growth has slowed from a 2.9% increase in the year to December to 2.5% in January.  The unemployment rate also edged up from 4.7% to 4.8%.

The big question now is will this new data push the US Federal Reserve to lift interest rates sooner rather than later?

James Athey, senior investment manager, Aberdeen Asset Management, says: “This is just what the doves at the Fed wanted to see. All of the numbers point towards it being more difficult to justify another hike in March.

"Even the headline employment number won’t help. It shows more people are in employment which you might interpret as increasing the likelihood of a hike. But at this stage in the economic cycle you’d expect the headline employment number to be slowing a bit as we’re theoretically reaching full employment. The increase in participation and drop in wages suggest we’re not at full employment."

“Financial markets are reacting with a bit of confusion. Some are seeing the headline number and thinking a hike is on the cards while others are digging below the surface and concluding it might not be.”

LVMH searches for small acorns to nurture

Louis Vuitton bags
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The world's biggest luxury goods group LVMH has set up a division to invest in emerging fashion, cosmetics and accessories companies, reports Reuters.  

LVMH Luxury Ventures will buy stakes in promising luxury companies with sales of between 2m and 5m euros (£1.7m-£4.3m) and grow them. 

LVMH owns the Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Bulgari brands as well as Moet Hennessy champagne.

US labour market 'in good health'

The dollar bulls have been sniffing around for clues over the timing of the next Fed rate-hike, and today’s non-farm payrolls numbers show they may well be preparing for a rise sooner rather than later. Employers added an impressive 227,000 jobs in January, building markedly on December’s number to hit a six-month high, suggesting the US labor market is in really good health. Rallies for the dollar could still be limited, though, as Trump's protectionist stance and immigration curbs repel much potential investment.

Paul SiraniChief market analyst at brokerage Xtrade

US non-farm payrolls jump strongly

The US non-farm payrolls figures rose by 227,000 in January  - that's significantly more the the forecast 175,000.

The higher than expected level of job creation is likely fuel expectations that the Federal Reserve central bank will raise rates, maybe as soon as June. 

Deutsche Bank planning 'more staff cuts'

Airline passenger growth 'to slow on Brexit fears'

Planes
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Britain’s airline industry will see slower growth in passenger numbers over the next two years, due to a weaker pound and uncertainty over Brexit, Moody’s claims.

The ratings agency said numbers would increase at half the rate previously forecast, creating difficulties for firms such as EasyJet and IAG (the owner of British Airways). 

Most UK airlines have dollar-denominated costs, which have become more expensive since sterling slumped following the EU referendum.

The squeeze on Britons’ spending power is also likely to curb foreign travel as holidaymakers seek cheaper options closer to home, Moody's said.

Fukushima radiation at record high

BBC World Service

Fukushima clear up
AFP

Radiation levels inside Japan's crumbling nuclear power plant at Fukushima have reached record levels, reports BBC World Service.

At one point inside the destroyed number two reactor, the reading was seven times greater than the previous high - enough to kill a person after just a brief exposure.

The finding underscores the difficulties faced by the authorities in cleaning up the site, which was damaged after a tsunami hit Japan in 2011.

It's expected to take decades to make the plant safe. At this level of radiation, even the robots sent into the reactors would stop working within just two hours.  

Asia's growing thirst for baby formula

Leisha Chi

Business reporter in Singapore

A child drinking milk in Chengdu, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan
Getty Images

Reckitt Benckiser has babies on the brain.

That's one of the reasons why it is offering to pay a whopping $16.7bn (£13.3bn) for US firm Mead Johnson - the world's second-largest maker of infant formula.

Asia is already the fastest-growing market for the product, but demand is set to soar even further.

China's scrapping of its one-child policy, food safety concerns and an increasing number of working women across South East Asia makes Mead's business a highly palatable purchase for Reckitt.

Merseyrail mulls strike action

Merseyrail train
Merseytravel

As we reported earlier, train drivers' union Aslef has reached a deal with the operators of the Southern network, bringing an end to crippling strike action.

But now we hear that workers at Merseyrail are to be balloted on industrial action, in a separate dispute over the role of guards on trains - the same issue that triggered the Aslef action. 

Merseyrail plans to introduce a new fleet of 52 driver-only-operated trains from 2020, and says none of its permanent guards or guard managers would have to quit.

But the RMT Union says it would be unsafe. 

"This dispute, and the ballot for industrial action, were entirely preventable if the company had listened to the union's deep-seated safety concerns, had taken them seriously and had put passenger safety before profit," it said.

Read more here

Weak pound and banks push FTSE higher

Traders, UK
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London's benchmark index has climbed thanks to a dip in the pound and a strong performance by banks. 

At time of writing, the FTSE 100 is up 0.55% at 7,180.15 points.

Financial stocks jumped following reports that Donald Trump is seeking to repeal the Dodd-Frank Law, which regulates the US banking sector. 

Barclays is up more than 2%, RBS has gained 1.93% and Lloyds is 1.49% higher. 

The pound fell by around 2 cents to the dollar yesterday following better than expected inflation forecasts from the Bank of England. 

It dipped again this morning after a survey claimed the dominant services sector had slowed in January, falling 0.35% to $1.24810.