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  1. Sterling boosted by UK snap election announcement
  2. Deutsche Bank says snap election a sterling 'game-changer'
  3. IMF says pace of global economic growth picking up
  4. FTSE 100 sinks 2.5%
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Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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Good night!

That's all for tonight from Business Live - thanks for reading. Join us again tomorrow morning from 06:00.

Wall Street falls

US markets have closed lower after Goldman Sachs led the Dow fallers, shedding 4.7%, while Johnson & Johnson fell 3.1% in the wake of their disappointing quarterly results.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% to 20,523 points, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.3% to 2,342 points.

Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, said: "There is some nervousness out there about the economy, geopolitical issues and general unpredictability as well."

Yahoo back in black

Yahoo said quarterly revenue rose 22% to $1.33bn, ahead of the $4.5bn sale of its core internet business to Verizon.

Revenue from "Mavens" - the mobile, video, native and social advertising units that it has touted as key emerging businesses - jumped 35% to $529m in the first quarter to 31 March.

Net profit came in at $99.4m - rather better than the $99.2m loss for the same period last year.

BreakingIBM keeps sliding

Not great numbers for IBM, whose revenue declined for the 20th consecutive quarter following weak demand in its technology services business. 

IBM said revenue fell 2.8% to $18.1bn in the three months to 31 March 31, while net profit fell $251m to $1.75bn.

Shares slid 3.4% in after-market trading in New York.

Wide open Spaces

Facebook Spaces

Facebook has created a virtual space for Facebook friends to meet and interact using virtual reality "as if you were in the same room".

The social network announced the launch of Facebook Spaces at its F8 developer conference in California, which will enable up to four people to appear in the same virtual space with one another, communicate and play games in real time. 

The app has been launched in beta for Oculus Rift, the headset built Facebook-owned VR firm Oculus, and will enable users to create a digital avatar of themselves based on their Facebook photos. 

Spaces also allows users to bring in other Facebook contacts, even those without access to virtual reality, through the ability to video call others via Facebook Messenger. 

Better ways?

Business Insider's Josh Barro makes this observation about what Donald Trump is saying on his visit to Wisconsin today:

View more on twitter

Trump takes aim at foreign workers

US immigration officer
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Donald Trump will review a temporary visa programme used to place foreign workers in highly skilled US jobs.

The executive order will also direct agencies to enforce rules on excluding foreign contractors from bids for government projects.

He will sign the "Buy America, Hire America" order on a visit to a tool factory in Wisconsin.

The order is aimed at fulfilling his "America First" campaign promises.

Read more here.

iRobot aims to clean up in court

robotic vacuum cleaner

Robotic vacuums maker iRobot is suing firms including Hoover and Black & Decker over claims they used its technologies without permission.

The Massachusetts-based company cites a variety of patents in its legal filings, including misuse of its obstacle-detection system, brush designs and navigation controls.

It is seeking financial compensation and the right to block further use of its tech. 

The accused are yet to respond.

Read more here.

L'Oreal gets cosmetic lift

A jump in luxury cosmetic sales at L'Oreal offset a weak first quarter for several of the French company's other divisions, it has said.

Chief executive Jean-Paul Agon said demand for L'Oreal's luxury cosmetics was strong in Asia, with like-for-like sales up 12.2%.

L'Oreal said that it would decide on a possible sale of retailer The Body Shop in the coming months.

Zuckerberg: 'We have a lot of work to do'

Facebook logo

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has given his first response to the incident in Cleveland, Ohio in which a man randomly shot a grandfather on the street and posted a video of the killing to Facebook.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Snr," he told an audience at Facebook's annual developers' conference in San Jose, California. 

"We have a lot of work to do and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening."

The video was visible on the social media site for two hours on Sunday before being taken down.

The alleged killer was found dead in his car in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

Bank on it

Times retail editor Deirdre Hipwell - a Zimbabwean herself - tweets this in response to a plan to make livestock including goats, cows and sheep eligible for use as security for bank loans.

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Trump trademarks 'granted in China'

Ivanka Trump
Getty Images

Ivanka Trump's firm won provisional approval for three trademarks in China on the day she sat down to dinner with President Xi Jinping, AP reports.

This underlines the difficulties for Ivanka Trump of separating business and politics, AP says.

Ms Trump shifted the brand's assets to a trust to address ethical concerns.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit against Donald Trump over foreign payments has been widened.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington expanded a lawsuit accusing Mr Trump of violating the US Constitution by letting his hotels and restaurants accept payments from foreign governments. 

Browne bows out of BBA

Farewell, then, British Bankers' Association boss Anthony Browne, who plans to step down in the summer.

His departure is not entirely unexpected, as the trade body is merging with five other finance industry groups to create a new entity called UK Finance. 

The former Times journalist joined the BBA just two weeks before the Libor rate-rigging scandal broke in 2012. He says he leaves the association in "robust good health", with membership and income at record levels. 

Jaegar to close stores with more than 200 job losses

Administrators for Jaegar have announced 20 store closures and the loss of 209 jobs.

Following consultation with all appropriate stakeholders it has become apparent that the operating costs of a number of stores are financially unviable given the Companies’ difficulties. As a result, the Joint Administrators have made the difficult but necessary decision to commence a programme of store closures.

Stores in Amersham, Belfast, Beverley, Bluewater, Cambridge, Canary Wharf (two), Cheshire Oaks, Chester, Chichester, Edinburgh, Guildford, Henley, Oxford, Ringwood, Stratford-upon-Avon, Truro, Wilmslow, Winchester, and Windsor will close.

There will be 44 redundancies in Jaegar's head office and distribution.

Wolfson's woe

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Next store
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We all know retailing is tough, but spare a thought for poor Next chief executive Simon Wolfson. He's having to make do with a total pay package of just £1.8m for the year to January - less than half the £4.3m he took home for the previous 12 months. 

That what happens when your company reports the first fall in annual profits for eight years I suppose.

At least Next is being fair - none of his fellow executive directors, nor the non-execs including chairman John Barton, are getting a bonus either, as Next's annual report published today reveals.

Chancellor says taxpayer may make a loss on RBS

RBS logo

The government may sell its stake in RBS at a loss to the taxpayer, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.

The government bought its stake in the bank for £45bn in 2008, at £5.02 a share, as part of a bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

But RBS shares are trading at less than half that price at £2.23. 

Mr Hammond told parliament: "The government is not at present actively marketing its stake in RBS. Our policy remains to return the bank to private hands as soon as we can achieve fair value for the shares, recognising that fair value could well be below what the previous government paid for them. We have to live in the real world and make decisions on the future of our holding in RBS in the best interests of taxpayers."

Harley Davidson shares fall after weak demand for bikes

Harley Davidson logo
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Weak demand for Harley Davidson motorbikes in the first quarter has led to lower-than-expected retail sales at its dealers, raising concerns that the company could miss its shipment forecast for the year.

Its shares fell as much as 5% to $56.39, their worst intraday percentage loss in more than two months.

Ballmer's 'wonky' project

Steve Ballmer
Getty Images

The New York Times reports on the launch later today of former Microsoft boss, Steve Ballmer's new pet project.

Called USAFacts, it is, says Mr Ballmer "the first nonpartisan effort to create a fully integrated look at revenue and spending across federal, state and local governments".

Mr Ballmer admits it will appeal first and foremost to policy wonks. 

As the NYT suggests: "Want to know how many police officers are employed in various parts of the country and compare that against crime rates? Want to know how much revenue is brought in from parking tickets and the cost to collect? Want to know what percentage of Americans suffer from diagnosed depression and how much the government spends on it? That’s in there. You can slice the numbers in all sorts of ways."

So if you want to know what the government is doing with all those tax dollars...

As for Mr Ballmer, he's already spent more than $10m on this.

FTSE 100 closes down 2.5%

London Stock Exchange
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The blue-chip FTSE 100 share index has closed 2.48% down after Theresa May announced a snap June election.

Miners dragged on the index, with Glencore and BHP Biliton down more than 5%.

Wall Street falls as Goldman results disappoint

Quarterly results from corporate heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson are dragging down Wall Street indexes.

The S&P 500 healthcare sector tumbled as Johnson & Johnson fell 3.5% after the company reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts' expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was led lower by a 4.1% decline in Goldman Sachs shares, which reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit due after surprise lower trading revenue.

Deutsche Bank says snap election 'a game changer' for sterling

Deutsche Bank, which is known as being a sterling bear, has said that it will raise its forecasts for the pound in the coming days.

"Today's general election announcement changes the outlook," it said in a note. "We do not see the election as a mandate for hard Brexit... it will dilute the influence of MPs pushing for hard Brexit, strengthening the government's domestic political position and allowing earlier compromise over key EU demands for a transitional arrangement."

"We have been structurally bearish on sterling for the last two years but are now changing view. We are closing out all our bearish FX trades. We intend to review our sterling forecasts in coming days."

City sanguine on snap election call

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Sterling notes
Getty Images

Markets don't generally like surprises and today's announcement certainly qualified as one, but the market reaction has so far been fairly calm.

The pound has gained 1% and although the stock market is down more than 2%, a lot of that happened before Theresa May called a snap election for 8 June.

Still, market watchers are reading the tea leaves and have made a few observations.

Read more here.

Volkswagen reports bumper first quarter profit

VW logo
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Volkswagen has reported a 28% jump in first quarter operating profit, helped by a return to earnings growth at its core VW brand, which has struggled to recover from the German carmaker's diesel emissions scandal.

Group operating profit was 4.4bn euros (£3.7bn), Volkswagen said on Tuesday, compared with 3.4 billion a year earlier.

Hammond welcomes sterling gains

Philip Hammond
Getty Images

Chancellor Philip Hammond has told parliament that gains in sterling showed markets were confident that the Conservatives would be strengthened by the snap election.

"(The) prime minister's statement this morning has sent sterling up in the markets, demonstrating the confidence that the markets have in the future, for this country, under a Tory government with a new mandate," he said. 

FTSE slump continues

The FTSE 100 share index is down about 2% after Theresa May announced a plan to call a general election in June.

The strength in sterling, which has risen to levels last seen in December 2016, has dented appetite for shares of UK-listed exporters such as mining and oil stocks.

Goldman Sachs shares drop after trading misses analyst expectations

Goldman Sachs logo

Goldman Sachs shares have fallen more than 3% in early trading after the bank reported lower than expected quarterly trading revenue of $3.36bn, a 2% drop.

Trump to sign order making it harder to hire foreign employees

IMF says pace of global economic growth is picking up

Andrew Walker

World Service economics correspondent

Container port
Getty Images

The world economy seems to be gaining momentum, according the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

Writing in the IMF's new World Economic Outlook, Maurice Obstfeldt said "we could be at a turning point".

The report forecasts global growth this year of 3.5%, up from 3.1% predicted in 2016. UK growth, at 2%, is stronger than any of the major developed economies apart from the US.

But the IMF warns of headwinds that could weaken its global projections.

Read more here.

Pensions policy 'up in the air'

The announcement of a snap election has thrown UK pensions policy "up in the air" says Royal London's director of policy Steve Webb.

The prospect of ending or altering tax relief on pensions contributions becomes more likely if Theresa May wins a bigger majority, he says.

However, changes to the state pension age may be put on the back burner, he says.

"The prospect of an imminent election probably means an aggresesive timetable with twenty-somethings working into their seventies is off the table for now," he says.

The "triple lock", which guarantees that state pensions rise by the same as average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%, whichever is the highest, may be "up for grabs", Mr Webb adds.

Pound 'the big winner' from election news

Pound coins

The pound is up about 0.8%, buying $1.267, after Theresa May's snap election announcement.

Laith Khalaf of Hargreaves Lansdown says:

"The pound was the big winner from news that a UK general election is in the pipeline, as currency markets bet on the current government winning a greater majority.

"The rising pound helped heap pressure on the UK stock market, which was already on the back foot thanks to declining iron ore prices hitting the resources sector."    

Business expresses concern over Brexit

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"This must be used as a chance to properly debate what leaving the EU means for the long-term future of the UK, including how we continue to bring in the skills employers need," said Stephen Martin, director general of the Institute of Directors.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General said in a statement: “Distraction from the urgent priorities of seeking the best EU deal and improving UK productivity must be kept to a minimum."

“As EU negotiations now get underway, firms are clear about the serious risks of failing to secure a deal and falling into World Trade Organisation rules."

Markets take fresh look at election scenarios

Ranko Berich, Head of Market Analysis at Monex Europe, argues that the June election raises the chances that we'll end up with a closer relationship with the EU, than Mrs May has been planning.

“It’s early days, but Theresa May’s announcement of a snap general election has given sterling a significant boost. The explanation for this is simple: hard Brexit was previously almost entirely priced in to sterling, and today’s news introduces a sliver of doubt into the mix.

“The government is obviously very confident that an early election will strengthen its hand, but as we’ve learned time and again in recent years, nothing is for certain when voters head to the polls. Today’s announcement adds enough uncertainty into the political outlook that a sterling-friendly “soft Brexit”, previously discounted by markets, is now again a possibility if May discovers in June she has overplayed her hand.”

Pound pushes higher

Dollar pound graph

The pound has made up lost ground - and more. It's at $1.267, that's 0.86% higher than this morning. 

It's up 0.64% agains the euro at 1.188 euro.

Bank of America reports strong results


Bank of America has reported net income of $4.35bn in the first quarter, that's up almost 45% on the same period of 2016.

The company said that its retail and investment banking businesses had strong quarters.

"Consumer spending was up, our wealth management business had strong asset management flows, investment banking fees rebounded nicely," said Bank of America chief executive, Brian Moynihan.

"The US economy continues to show consumer and business optimism, and our results reflect that.”

FTSE 100 slides after election announcement

FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 has been heading lower since the Prime Minister announced that she would seek a June election.

The benchmark index is down 1.6% at 7,211.

The pound has reversed direction and is now trading higher, which tends to weigh on the big, international FTSE 100 firms.

Miners continue to lead the index lower, BHP Billiton and Glencore are down almost 4%.

Those shares have been hurt by falls in the prices of metals and oil.

Indian tycoon arrested in London

Vijay Mallya

The prominent Indian business tycoon, Vijay Mallya, has been arrested by the Metropolitan police in London on an extradition warrant.

India has been pushing for the extradition of Mr Mallya, who faces charges of financial irregularities at his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and is said to owe banks £1bn.

The flamboyant businessman, who denies any wrongdoing, made his fortune selling beer under the iconic Kingfisher brand before branching out into aviation, Formula 1 racing and also owns an Indian Premier League cricket franchise.

Election: What impact on the economy?

This from Jonathan Loynes, chief economist at Capital Economics:

"There may be concerns in the markets that a stronger mandate for May will increase the chances of a “harder” form of Brexit.

"But this is not clear cut. For a start, May (originally a “remainer”, don’t forget) has sounded fairly conciliatory on some aspects of Brexit such as immigration in the early exchanges with the EU.

"And if the election does trigger Corbyn’s replacement as Labour leader, that might lead to more effective domestic opposition to the Government’s Brexit vision.

"These points might help to explain why the initial falls in the pound have already been more than reversed.

"All-in-all, another interesting twist to the Brexit story, but there is nothing in all of this to alter our view that the economy will continue to hold up rather better than is generally expected."

Markets: 'Decent chance of volatilty'

"It will take investors some time to digest the effects of the election in the next few days. A big factor for them is whether the election will make a softer stance on the Brexit negotiations more likely," said Aberdeen Asset Management investment manager, Luke Bartholomew.

"The election should hand Theresa May a much bigger mandate to stand up to the harder line, anti-EU backbenchers which currently hold a disproportionate sway over her party’s stance on Brexit. That would be welcomed by financial markets. There’s also a decent chance of some volatility now with imminent elections in both the UK and France.”

May: 'Country needs this election'

Treasury in the dark over election