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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Europe blocks LSE and Deutsche Boerse deal
  3. Theresa May has triggered Article 50
  4. Ryanair: aviation must be a priority
  5. Ford recalls cars in US

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    That's all from the Livepage, on a day when there's really only been one story in town. If you've not had your fill of Brexit, I'm sure we'll have more to report on Thursday. Please join us from 6am. 

  2. Is UK trade with the EU declining?

    Reality Check

    UKIP leader Paul Nuttall said: “At the moment we’re doing less trade with the European Union year-on-year - more with the rest of the world”.

    The overall value of the UK’s trade with the EU has increased in most years, but if we take trade with the EU as a proportion of the UK’s total trade, there has indeed been a moderate downward trend since its peak in 1992.  

    However, it’s not a completely consistent pattern. In some recent years the proportion has risen, the year-on-year changes have been fairly small, and trade with the EU is consistently around half of the UK’s overall trade.

  3. Wall Street close

    The benchmark S&P 500 eked out a gain on Wednesday in low trading volume as strength in the energy and consumer sectors offset declines in financial shares. 

    At the close, the Dow Jones was down 42.18 points, or 0.2%, to 20,659.32, the S&P 500 gained 2.56 points, or 0.11%, to 2,361.13 and the Nasdaq added 22.41 points, or 0.38%, to 5,897.55. 

  4. Scottish budget gap

    Reality Check

    During his interview with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Corbyn said he was against a second referendum on Scottish independence because “there is a £15bn gap between Scottish taxation income and the requirements of Scottish public services”. That is essentially the gap between how much the Scottish Government spends and what it raises through tax.

    Scottish government statistics say the Labour leader is right. In 2014-15 Scottish public sector revenue was estimated at £53.7bn - the equivalent of £10,000 per person, and about £400 per person lower than the UK as a whole. Meanwhile, total expenditure by the public sector was £68.6bn. Overall, that’s a gap of £14.9bn between revenue and expenditure.

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the "foundations of the Scottish economy remain strong" and that “Scotland's long-term economic success is now being directly threatened by the likely impact of Brexit".

    You can read more here.

  5. Amazon closes loss-making website

    Screenshot of Diapers.com

    Amazon is closing Quidsi, its nursery, beauty and pet products website after the business failed to turn a profit.

    "We have worked extremely hard for the past seven years to get Quidsi to be profitable, and unfortunately we have not been able to do so," an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement.

    Amazon bought the business, which runs Diapers.com and Soap.com, for $545m.

  6. Call for US rates to rise at faster pace

    A US central banker - once a strong advocate of keeping interest rates on hold - said on Wednesday that he favours four increases in the key rate this year, one more than projected by the majority of Federal Reserve policymakers.

    Boston Federal Reserve Bank President Eric Rosengren said in a speech that he would like to see policymakers increase rates every other month. "Looking ahead over the course of this year, I believe it is likely to be appropriate for [rate setters] to raise rates at a more regular - though still gradual - pace," he said.

  7. £50bn exit fee?

    Reality Check

    Andrew Neil has been asking about the possibility of the UK having to pay a £50bn exit fee on leaving the EU.

    The prime minister wouldn’t discuss figures and stressed that people had voted to stop making large annual payments to the EU. But she didn’t rule out paying an exit fee and she said the UK is a law-abiding nation and that the government would have to look at what its obligations are.

    She also said there had been no formal demands, which is not surprising as the official negotiations have not yet started.

    Here’s a Reality Check on where that figure comes from. 

  8. Small businesses want answers

    Mike Cherry

    The Federation of Small Businesses has called for clarity on trade and talent following the triggering of Article 50.

    Mike Cherry, the national chairman at FSB, says: "FSB members want to see the easiest possible access to the single market. There must also be reassurance for small businesses which employ non-UK EU citizens, and rely on the ability to recruit those with the skills and talents they need.

    “Small business exporters tell us that the EU single market is still their top market of choice, but firms are also keen to focus on the US, China, Australia and Canada. One third of exporting small businesses have told us they would be genuinely deterred from trading with the EU if a tariff of between two to four per cent was imposed on trade between the UK and EU."

  9. US market update

    The Dow Jones is off a touch just after lunch New York time. The index is 0.2%, or 41 points, lower at 20,659.

    The wider S&P is just 0.06% down at 2,360. And the Nasdaq is 0.3% lower at 5,892.

  10. Sterling falls against dollar

    Sterling has fallen against the dollar but risen against the euro after the UK government triggered the process to leave the European Union.

    The pound fell further into the red against the US dollar, down 0.22% to $1.242.

    It also fell against currencies including the yen, the rupee, the rouble, and the Mexican peso.

    Sterling rose 0.29% against the euro to 1.1546.

  11. Lloyd's of Brussels?

    Lloyd's of London office

    Venerable insurance market, Lloyd's of London, is expected to announce tomorrow that it will open a new European base in Brussels.

    We've known since late last year that it - along with a lot of other financial institutions - was scouting new locations in the face of Brexit. And we think that for Lloyd's the short list boiled down to the Belgian capital and Luxembourg.

    The online publication, Insurance Insider, has reported that Brussels is the one they're plumping for, but the company is keeping tight lipped until Thursday morning when they publish their financial results.

    Read more here.

  12. Banks' Brexit reassurance

    City of London skyline

    Banks in Britain have tried to reassure their London staff over possible Brexit disruption, including a shift in jobs to continental Europe.

    Goldman Sachs and Nomura were among those who sent messages to employees in London.

    Richard Gnodde, boss of the European arm of Goldman Sachs, stressed that no big changes were imminent, even though he said last week that the Wall Street bank would begin by moving hundreds of staff as part of its "contingency plans" for Brexit.

    "All of this work leads us to conclude that although Brexit may well bring some changes to our footprint, a lot will continue to operate as it does today," he said in a voicemail sent to all London employees' phones.

    "We also understand that you will have many questions regarding the implications of Brexit," he said. "We are sensitive to those concerns, and want you to know that we will share any information on changes that will impact our European footprint as quickly as we can."

    Nomura said in a message to staff that although it had been actively planning for Brexit, no final decision had been made on either location or timing of any new European entity, Reuters reported.

  13. Brexit: linking a trade with security 'not credible'

    Line of new cars at Grimsby port

    The details of Britain's Article 50 letter did little to scare financial markets, but one key point has raised eyebrows among trade experts.

    The prime minister's link between securing a trade deal and security co-operation is not credible says Professor L Alan Winters. 

    Theresa May's letter was "generally very conciliatory", but making a security-trade link looked like a threat, said the director of UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

    He told the BBC: "The World Trade Organization agreements – the international basis of trade cooperation – recognise that trade rules have almost no direct bearing on security and, except in the vaguest terms, security and trade are almost never directly linked in trade agreements.

    "Countries that trade together often cooperate on security, but an explicit intention to reduce security cooperation if you can’t get a trade deal you like is almost unheard of. Neither is it very credible... It is difficult to work out who would gain from this," he said.. 

  14. Former trade minister says he's 'delighted' that Article 50 has been triggered

    BBC Hereford and Worcester

    Lord Digby Jones says that countries will continue to trade with the UK post-Brexit. 

    Lord Digby Jones

    Lord Jones, from Worcestershire, who served as the trade minister in Gordon Brown's government, says negotiations will be difficult, but the end result won't result in "armageddon". 

    It follows Theresa May's decision to trigger Article 50 - the two-year process in which the county will leave the EU.

    Quote Message: We've got loads and loads of countries all over the world saying when you're free from the EU... we'd love to trade with you." from Lord Digby Jones
    Lord Digby Jones
  15. FTSE 100 recovers in afternoon trading

    London's leading share index took the Brexit timetable news in its stride, sinking in morning trading before recovering later.

    At the close, the FTSE 100 was up 0.41% at 7,373.7 points. 3i lead the way with a 5.7% rise after an upgrade from Morgan Stanley. The London Stock Exchange gained 2.7% on news that its planned merger with Deutsche Boerse had been blocked by EU regulators.

    Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were among the biggest fallers as the price of gold slipped. 

  16. Samsung Galaxy S8 hides home button

    Galaxy S8

    Samsung's latest flagship phones have ditched the physical home button found in their predecessors and introduced a new virtual assistant.

    The screens of the Galaxy S8 and bigger S8+ are also larger despite the devices being smaller than last year's S7 and S7 Edge.

    This time, both models feature displays that curve round the phones' sides.

    The launch follows Samsung's botched release of the Note 7, which was recalled twice after fires.

    The South Korean firm blamed the problem on battery faults and said it had since put in additional safety measures, including X-ray scans of batteries.

  17. EasyJet backs Ryanair's Brexit call

    EasyJet plane

    With the Brexit negotiation process formally underway, airlines are pushing hard to have their voices heard in the talks. 

    EasyJet has agreed with Ryanair (it's not every day you see that) about the pressing need for a new UK-EU deal on air travel. 

    It says that, at the very least, the UK needs to agree "a straightforward bilateral aviation agreement" which will allow UK airlines to fly to Europe and European airlines to fly to the UK.

    Although the main Article 50 talks will take two years, Ryanair said earlier that the deadline for the aviation industry is tighter because airlines choose their schedules a year in advance.