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  1. Get in touch:
  2. TalkTalk shares recover slightly after 18% fall
  3. M&S to close up to 14 more stores
  4. Capita shares plunge on profit warning
  5. Up to 30,000 cash machines under threat
  6. First fall in UK car production in 8 years
  7. Sterling under $1.42, FTSE 100 flat

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    Pembroke Clock Tower

    Thanks to everyone who has joined us on another busy day of business news. We'll be back at 6am tomorrow. And to all you Britons still to do your tax return... get a move on, the witching hour approaches.

  2. Facebook's revenue jumps by 47%

    Facebook sign

    Facebook has reported a 47% rise in quarterly revenue.

    Total advertising revenue was $12.78bn (£9bn) in the three months to the end of December, compared with $8.3bn for the same period in 2016.

    Mobile ad revenue accounted for 89% of the total ad sales, up from 84% a year earlier.

    Facebook said about 2.13 billion people were using its service every month up 14% against the same time a year earlier.

    Total quarterly revenue rose 47% to $12.9bn, while full-year revenue was also up 47% at $40.65bn.

  3. Microsoft reports quarterly loss

    Microsoft logo

    Microsoft reported a quarterly loss on Wednesday, dented by a $13.8bn (£9.7bn) charge related to US tax reform.

    The company posted a net loss of $6.3bn, for the three months to 31 December, compared with a profit of $6.27bn for the same period in 2016.

    The company's revenues rose by 12% to $28.92bn.

  4. Wall Street closes up - just

    New York Stock Exchange sign with traders' legs visible

    All three key US share indexes managed to scrape gains at the close of play on Wednesday.

    After two days of losses they had been trading much higher earlier on in the day but lost momentum after the US central bank, the Federal Reserve signalled that more interest rate rises were in the pipeline.

    The Dow Jones rose by 73.19 points or 0.28% to 26,150.08

    The S&P 500 ended the day at 2,823.83, just edging ahead by 1.4 points or 0.05%.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq was at 7,411.48, up 9 points or 0.12%.

  5. Search for Boardriders boss called off

    Pierre Agnes

    France's coastguard has called off searches for the head of the US firm that owns the Quiksilver surfwear brand, a day after his boat washed up empty on the country's Atlantic coast.

    Pierre Agnes had gone out fishing in his 36-foot (11-metre) boat on Tuesday morning and later sent out a message to port authorities indicating that he was delaying his return because of thick fog.

    The former surfing champion joined Quiksilver in 1998 and rose in the ranks until he became chief executive in 2014 of surfwear retailer Boardriders, which owns Roxy and DC shoes along with Quiksilver.

    Earlier this month, Boardriders announced it was buying Australia's Billabong International.

  6. Ryanair promises easier compensation

    Ryanair plane

    Ryanair has promised to make it easier for passengers to claim compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled.

    The Dublin-based airline says it will set up a team team to process valid claims in 10 days.

    It also says it will help disrupted customers find out what their options are using the Ryanair website or app rather than having them to call a helpline.

    About 700,000 passengers were affected when Ryanair cancelled flights between September 2017 and March 2018 after it mismanaged pilots' annual leave.

    Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the airline wanted to "take away anxiety" and "make it as simple as it possibly can be".

  7. US rates: Dollar up, shares down

    The dollar turned positive after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged but said it expected inflation to rise this year.

    The Fed left the target interest rate unchanged at 1.25-1.50%. But it said it anticipated the economy to expand at a moderate pace and the labour market to remain strong in 2018, citing solid gains in employment, household spending and capital investment.

    Against a basket of six currencies, the greenback was up 0.04%. It means that the dollar is still on track to fall more than 3% in January, its biggest monthly drop since March 2016.

    The three main Wall Street share markets rose immediately after the Fed's announcement, but are now fractionally down.

  8. Think tank suggests 'the Jersey option' for Brexit

    Rob England

    BBC News Online

    A pro-Europe think tank has suggested the UK and EU forge a Brexit deal similar to the agreement currently held between the EU and Crown Dependencies.

    The Centre for European Reform calls this arrangement "the Jersey option", which would involve the UK staying in a "comprehensive customs union with the EU and the single market", but only for goods.

    For this to work the think tank's Director John Springford and research fellow Sam Lowe suggest the UK would have to follow certain rules:

    • EU customs union regulations
    • The inclusion of value added tax
    • EU laws around state aid, including a financial contribution to the development of Central and Eastern European countries
    • EU industrial emissions standards
    • EU employment rules, to avoid UK employers using cheaper labour whilst outside EU law
    • A new law court to settle disputes between the EU and UK over goods

    Members of the think tank also said this deal could help solve the Irish border issue, as goods transported over the border would already comply with EU standards, with no need for border checks.

  9. Fed holds rates: 'Elevated uncertainty'

    Quote Message: The Fed clearly wants to wait a little longer to see how the economy performs this year before continuing its hiking cycle. Despite the decision today, the underlying strength of the economy, combined with wage growth, low unemployment and strong corporate earnings, provide a strong platform from which to continue normalising monetary policy throughout the year.
    Quote Message: We still expect two to three rate hikes in 2018, however there may be some surprises. Fuelled by consumer and business spending, the economy should grow at about 2-3% but the recent tax cuts could precipitate a boom for businesses and lead to faster growth, and more hikes than anticipated.
    Quote Message: With Jerome Powell taking over the Fed chair position this coming February, uncertainty is somewhat elevated... Although the immediate horizon appears clear, the Fed may be challenged early in the new regime if inflation should flare up, or if growth starts to lag. from Kully Samra UK managing director, Charles Schwab
    Kully SamraUK managing director, Charles Schwab
  10. US rates held, but...

    In its policy statement, the Fed repeated that it expected that "further gradual" interest rate hikes will be warranted.

    Fed policymakers have been encouraged in recent months as the US economy picked up speed and the unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, a 17-year low.

    The Fed raised rates three times last year and sees three more hikes in 2018 even as it continues to trim its balance sheet on a largely pre-set schedule.

    Investors, who had all but ruled out a move this week, are betting heavily on a rate increase in March, followed by two more hikes by the end of December.

  11. US rates held, as expected

    Janet Yellen

    The US Federal Reserve has kept interest rates unchanged but said it anticipated inflation would rise this year, in a sign it is still on track to raise borrowing costs again in March under incoming central bank chief Jerome Powell.

    Citing solid gains in employment, household spending and capital investment, the Fed said it expected the economy to expand at a moderate pace and the labor market to remain strong in 2018.

    "Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to move up this year and to stabilize" around the US central bank's 2% target over the medium term, it said in a statement following a two-day policy meeting, the last under Fed Chair Janet Yellen (above).

  12. Samsung enters crypto-currency chips business

    A bitcoin coin

    Samsung Electronics has revealed it is making chips designed specifically to harvest crypto-currency coins.

    The firm made the disclosure in its latest earnings report, where it said the activity should boost its profits.

    For now, Samsung is providing little detail about its new crypto-currency business.

    "Samsung's foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of crypto-currency mining chips," it said in a statement given to the BBC.

    Mining, in this context, refers to solving complex mathematical problems as a means to verify crypto-currency transactions - a task for which the owners of the computers involved are rewarded with new digital tokens or "coins".

  13. Ryanair makes it easier to claim compensation, at last

    Ryanair plane

    Ryanair has pledged to make it easier for passengers to claim compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled.

    The Dublin-based airline said it will set up a dedicated team to process valid EU Regulation 261 claims in 10 days.

    It has also committed to help disrupted customers find out what their options are using the Ryanair website or app rather than forcing them to call a helpline.

    The company faced the wrath of around 700,000 passengers whose flights were cancelled between September 2017 and March 2018 after Ryanair bungled pilots' annual leave.

    The airline was then accused by the Civil Aviation Authority of not complying with the law in relation to what it told affected passengers they were entitled to during the pilot shortage.

  14. Touchdown? Fox scores America's Thursday night football

    Natalie Sherman

    New York business reporter

    A 2012 Thursday night football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts

    Fox Sports has scored a five-year deal to air America's popular Thursday night football games, adding to its sports coverage.

    The agreement comes as the network's parent, 21st Century Fox, plans to sell its entertainment assets to Disney and focus more on news and sport.

    Fox already has the rights to America's Sunday night football.

    Terms were not disclosed, but prices for sports broadcasts have increased as new digital players such as Amazon and Facebook get into the game.

    The deal gives Fox rights to make the games available to subscribers on a wider array of devices, including mobile phones for the first time.

    National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell also said his organisation will work with Fox as it selects a partner to live stream the events.

    The contract goes into effect next season.

    This season, the games broadcast on CBS and NBC, while Amazon held digital rights.

  15. Builders weigh on FTSE 100

    FTSE 100 graph

    Housebuilders were the big casualties on the FTSE 100. Persimmon, Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey were all down more than 2%.

    Reports that the government could rescind planning permission on unused land spooked investors.

    Shares in mid-cap housebuilders such as Berkeley and Bovis were also hit.

    The FTSE 100 closed 0.72% at 7,533.5 points. Johnson Matthey was the biggest riser, up 4.6% after an announcement it is selling part of the business.

    On the FTSE 250, outsourcing group plunged 47.5% after a profit warning and decision to scrap its dividend.

  16. 'World class'

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    More on the BFI's report that UK film and TV production spending is at a record...

    There's also some good news about cinemas in the BFI's annual report.

    UK box office revenues rose 3.7% last year to £1.38bn, with admissions rising marginally by 1% to 171m people.

    Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, says: "From Star Wars to The Crown, the UK is a creative powerhouse for developing many award-winning films and shows enjoyed by millions globally.

    "We have world-class studios, a talented workforce and highly competitive tax reliefs, and these fantastic stats show investment in our screen industries is booming."

  17. BP finds more oil in the North Sea

    North Sea oil platform

    More upbeat news for the North Sea oil industry.

    BP has announced two new North Sea oil and gas discoveries.

    The finds - in the Capercaillie and Achmelvich fields - were made in the central North Sea and west of Shetland after wells were drilled last year.

    Tests have been carried out to discover how much oil and gas is present, with the data currently "under evaluation".

    BP said in 2017 it hoped to double North Sea oil production to 200,000 barrels by 2020 through a range of projects.

    In the 2016-17 financial year North Sea oil and gas production was at the highest level since 2011-12.

  18. London market update

    TalkTalk shares have pulled back from earlier lows, but are still 8.5% down after a gloomy report on its prospects by analysts at Exane.

    But there's no such recovery for fellow FTSE 250 stock Capita, still down 45% after its profit warning.

    On the blue chip FTSE 100, housebuilders are the main casualties. Barratt, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey are all 2% lower.

    Johnson Matthey leads the pack with a 4.38% rise on the back of a disposal of part of the business.

  19. Are UK passports expensive?

    Reality Check

    Chart showing fees for passports in the G8

    Following the news that UK passports are going up to £85 by post or £75.50 for online applications, how will that compare with other countries?

    The online fee will be pretty cheap compared with the other countries in the G8, with only Germany and Russia coming out cheaper.

    But in Germany there's the added bonus that you don't need to pay adult passport rates until you're 24. Too bad you're not allowed to shop around.

    The UK online rate is just below the US rate, although in the US you have to pay an extra $25 (£18) execution fee for your first passport.

    All of the G8 comes out cheaper than Switzerland at £110 and Australia at £162.