Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Lucy Hooker

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    Test card F

    That's all from us for today. Please join Business Live again tomorrow at 6am for all the day's business news as it happens.

  2. Wall Street indexes close lower across the board

    Dow Jones chart for Wednesday
    Image caption: The Dow Jones' day

    US shares ended the day lower, with Intel leading the Dow's losers as the effects of the security flaws in computer chips continue.

    The Dow Jones ended the day 0.07% or 16.6 points lower at 25,369.2.

    The broader S&P 500 index closed 0.11% down or 3 points off at 2,748.23.

    Amongst S&P companies, Signet fell 6.8% after disappointing Christmas sales figures and Untied Continental Holdings rose 6.7% after it reported higher passenger numbers for December.

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq index was 0.15% or 10.47 points lower at 7,153.11.

  3. Is Trump about to nix Nafta?

    More on the Canada - US trade relationship, which if this is true could be about to go from slightly troubled to much, much worse.

    View more on twitter
  4. US trading day

    Coming up to the close of play on the US markets and there are two contrasting themes that seem to have determined a lacklustre finish.

    Concerns about the future of Nafta has weighed on stocks.

    And news first thing that China might reduce its holdings of US Treasuries pushed bond yields up sharply earlier in the day.

    But quite a few investors are playing down that last concern, not convinced China would pull back.

    "As the day wore on, Treasury yields started to move lower on the realisation the story doesn't have any legs. That's definitely helped equities.

    "There's no way on earth the Chinese stop buying U.S. Treasuries," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist, SlateStone Wealth in New York.

  5. Chocs away

    Nutella jars

    Italy's Ferrero could be about to gobble up Nestle's US chocolate business.

    According to Reuters, sources say the Nutella-maker is the front-runner to get its sticky hands on the food giant's American assets, in a deal that could top $2.5bn.

    That would make Ferrero the third-biggest confectioner in the US after Mars and Hershey.

  6. Bank of England's deputy governor attempts the impossible

    Ben Broadbent

    Ben Broadbent, deputy governor of the Bank of England, spent half an hour this afternoon being grilled by Radio 4's Moneybox listeners and they didn't go easy on him.

    Listeners wanted to know why savings rates weren't higher, who was to blame for the financial crisis, and possibly most challenging of all: what is quantitative easing exactly anyway?

    He made a brave fist of it.

    it's available to listen or download here.

  7. Lights out in Vegas

    It's not all going exactly to plan at the Las Vegas Convention Center where they're holding the CES technology jamboree.

    View more on twitter

    It's proving rather disruptive apparently.

    If only there was someone around who knows about this kind of stuff.

  8. What's up with US bonds?

    There's been a sharp sell-off of US bonds with Treasury yields hitting 10-month highs, though they've subsided since.

    Investors were apparently spooked by reports that China - the biggest foreign holder of US government debt - could be about to slow or halt its purchases of US bonds.

    US Treasury undersecretary David Malpass, speaking to reporters in Brussels, dismissed any concerns about China's demand for U.S. Treasuries however.

    "The U.S. Treasury market is a deep, robust market within the world and so we are confident that our economy, with the economy strengthening, that it will remain a deep, robust market."

  9. Gold gains, dollar dips

    Dollar yen chart for Wednesday trading
    Image caption: The dollar has declined sharply against the Japanese yen in Wednesday trading

    Gold is at a near four month high - possibly in response to the dip the dollar is taking today.

    The dollar's decline comes as investors steer off US Treasuries.

    Gold, often a haven when the greenback's in trouble, is 0.5% higher at $1,318.67 an ounce.

    The dollar is 1% lower against the Yen at 111.475 yen, but it's only marginally lower against the euro, down 0.19% at €0.8361.

  10. EU mulls plastic tax to plug Brexit gap

    Vegetables individually wrapped in cellophane
    Image caption: The EU is also looking to reduce the quantity of plastic used

    When the UK leaves the EU there will at some point open up a hole in the EU's budget.

    It is estimated it'll be some €12-13bn (£11-12bn) per year.

    That will be filled, says Brussels, half by savings and half by new revenues.

    Of the latter one idea being mooted is a tax on plastic packaging.

    Plus of course there's the added advantage that it could help reduce plastic waste, though the details of how it would work have yet to be thrashed out.

    The full story here.

    EU mulls plastic tax to plug Brexit gap

    Vegetables individually wrapped in cellophane

    The tax could help reduce waste and raise money to cover the hole in the budget left by Brexit.

    Read more
    next
  11. Bitcoin shrugs off Buffetting

    Warren Buffett has called Bitcoin a bubble in the past. In the interview he gave to CNBC earlier today he doubled down on that position:

    “In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending … When it happens or how or anything else I don't know.”

    Although Bitcoin dipped in value mid morning it's made up the ground since. It's currently around $14,476 but that's still a long way off last month's highs over $19,000.

  12. Hammond wants EU to stop talk of 'punishing' UK over Brexit

    Kamal Ahmed

    Economics editor

    Chanellor Philip Hammond
    Image caption: Chancellor Philip Hammond wants the EU to be more positive in Brexit negotiations

    Our economics editor writes:

    Philip Hammond is taking his message to the heart of Europe.

    In a speech to business leaders in Berlin tonight, the chancellor will say it is time for the European Union to engage more positively in the Brexit negotiations.

    And stop talking about "punishing" the UK over Brexit.

    After months of grumpy noises from Brussels over a perceived lack of clarity from the UK, Philip Hammond will say that Britain needs to hear about the ambition the EU has for a deep trading relationship with the UK

    Read Kamal's blog here.

    Hammond on EU: Stop talking about 'punishing' UK over Brexit

    Chanellor Philip Hammond

    The Treasury is pushing for a comprehensive free-trade deal including financial services – it would like some reciprocal warm noises from the rest of Europe.

    Read more
    next
  13. Canada says US is misusing trade rules

    View more on twitter

    Just yesterday Canada's foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland was in Washington, meeting with Senators Elizabeth Warren, Lindsey Graham, Pat Roberts and others.

    Judging by the official Twitter feed it was smiles all round.

    But it can't have gone all that well if Canada today is filing official complaints with the WTO accusing the US of breaking international trade rules.

    Canada is arguing the US is incorrectly applying the rules around alleged subsidies and sale of products below cost.

    Read more here

  14. Losing sparkle

    Pandora jewellry on display

    The biggest loser currently within Wall Street's S&P 500 companies is retail jeweller Signet (with stores in US, UK and Canada).

    Shares are down more than 7% after it revealed we haven't being buying up the bling this festive season.

    Same-store sales fell 5.3% for the Christmas period.

    Signet is the main outlet for Danish jewellery maker, Pandora, which also saw its shares slide today by more than 2%.

  15. New finance chief for M&S

    Marks and Spencer shop front

    Back over this side of the pond, Marks & Spencer has made another top-level change.

    It's recruiting Dixons Carphone executive Humphrey Singer as its new finance boss.

    Helen Weir's is set to leave the role at the end of March.

    Chief executive Steve Rowe said: "As we embark on our five-year transformation programme, Humphrey will be a great addition to the top team.

    "His experience as part of the team that led Dixons through its period of change and migration to multi-channel retailer is most relevant to what we are undertaking here."

  16. Sears grasps finance straw

    Sears store with closing sign

    Sears shares are more than 3% higher. Why?

    The US department store chain was at one point the US's largest retailer but it has been making losses for six years and is now reporting a severe drop in same store sales of around 16% over the Christmas period.

    Today though it has said it's raising $100m in new funding, is pursuing another $200m, in savings and is forecasting a smaller loss for the fourth quarter.

    Sears warned last March that its future lay in doubt. Since then it has closed stores and made other savings. But it isn't out of the woods.

  17. Brexit is a Marmite thing

    Hamper

    Pro-Brexit campaigners have presented Michel Barnier with a hamper of British products including cheese, gin and the complete works of Shakespeare.

    Lord Jones, the chair of the Leave Means Leave campaign said the aim was to show the UK had little to fear from no deal.

    So what was in it?

    • PG Tips
    • cheddar cheese
    • A jar of orange marmalade
    • A biography of Winston Churchill
    • A bottle of English pinot noir
    • Hendrick's gin
    • Fortnum and Mason Piccalilli
    • and of course Marmite

    Read the full story here.

    Barnier's hamper treat from Brexiteers

    Hamper

    Brexiteers present Michel Barnier with cheese, gin and the complete works of Shakespeare.

    Read more
    next