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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FTSE 100 falls as Vodafone slides 4.5%
  3. Interserve and Capita shares tumble
  4. UK manufacturing output slows
  5. Morrisons to cut 1,500 jobs

Live Reporting

By Simon Read

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's it for Thursday's Business Live.

    Thank you for staying with us.

    We'll be back tomorrow morning from 6am - do join us for all the latest news, reaction and and analysis from the world of business.

  2. US CEOs earn 140 times more than a typical worker

    New York Stock Exchange

    Meanwhile here's an interesting stat published in Industry Week: US chief executive officers earned 140 times more last year than typical workers at their companies.

    The stat is included in a study by Equilar Inc, which suggests that workers at the 356 firms get $60,000 in median compensation.

    The report is published ahead of new rules that require US firms to publish pay ratios in the coming months.

    And on that bombshell...

  3. Google owner tops $100bn yearly revenue, but is hit by tax charge

    Google-owner Alphabet said its yearly revenue surged past $100bn.

    But it reported a fourth-quarter loss because of a one-time $9.9bn tax-related charge.

    That led to a net loss of $3.02 billion in the quarter ended 31 December.

    The company said fourth-quarter revenue climbed about 24%.

  4. Amazon posts a 38% revenue leap

    Amazon has reported a 38.2% jump in fourth-quarter revenue.

    The increase has been driven by a surge in online shopping during the holiday season and strong demand for its cloud services.

    Amazon said net sales rose to $60.45bn from $43.74bn a year earlier.

  5. Wall Street shares end the day fairly flat

    worried traders

    The three key US stock indexes had mixed fortunes on Thursday, although all three ended the day fairly flat.

    The Dow Jones industrial sneaked up 0.14%, or 37.23, to end the day at 26,186.71.

    But the S & P 500 was down by 0.06%, or 1.83, at 2,821.98 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.35%, or 25.62, to 7,385.86.

  6. Provident chairman to become CEO: reports

    Struggling doorstep lender Provident Financial will move its acting chairman into the role of permanent chief executive, according to Sky News.

    Malcolm Le May will become chief executive six months after Peter Crook was ousted as the high-cost credit company's boos, the report says.

    Mr Le May, has previously worked at the investment banking operations of Barclays, ING Barings and UBS.

  7. Bitcoin's woes worsen

    Bitcoins

    The value of Bitcoin looks set to fall back to $8,000 says Miles Eakers, chief market analyst at Centtrip.

    The cryptocurrency fell below $10,000 today and is far from its record price of $19,891.

    The drop followed comments by Arun Jaitley, India’s Minister of Finance, that the Indian government ‘does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin".

    “We anticipate there will be more of such protectionist regulation," said Mr Eakers. "This is likely to put Bitcoin under more strain, causing it to drop to the $8000 a coin level.”

  8. Guess? shares plummet on sexual harassment claims

    Kate Upton

    Shares of fashion brand Guess? have fallen around 16%, or $2.88 to $15.49, today after co-founder Paul Marciano was accused of sexual misconduct on social media by a model.

    Kate Upton, who is known for her appearances in the Sport Illustrated swimsuit issue, and was a spokesmodel for Guess? in 2011, tweeted late on Wednesday...

    View more on twitter
  9. UK finance firms have 'equivalance' option after Brexit

    City of London

    Britain’s financial companies can either establish full-blown subsidiaries in the European Union after Brexit or fall back on financial regulatory “equivalence”, European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said during a Dublin news conference today.

    Equivalence is a legal mechanism that allows countries from outside the bloc to access the single market of 440 million consumers in limited circumstances.

    “Equivalence is applied to a third country with a regulatory and supervisory framework comparable with the EU and can be used as a tool,” Mr Dombrovskis said.

    “Another possibility, which is currently available is the establishment of presence in the EU27, that doesn’t mean letterbox companies,” he added.

  10. Three-quarters of a million people face £100 tax fine

    self-assessment tax return

    Around 746,000 people missed yesterday's 31 January deadline to file their self-assessment tax return.

    It means they could be in line for a £100 fine.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said 10.7 million submitted details on time, but 6.5% missed the deadline, compared with 7% last year.

    Full story here

  11. Euro stocks down on Thursday

    Frankfurt

    Let's have a quick look at European stock markets, which didn't have a good day.

    The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.5% at 393.49, while Germany’s DAX fell 1.41% to 13,003.90 and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.5% to 5,454.55.

    In Spain, the IBEX 35 was also off 0.5% at 10,399.00.

  12. Nuisance call firm fined £300,000 after it 'hounded' people

    Man on phone

    A marketing company has been fined £300,000 for making millions of nuisance calls.

    Holmes Financial Solutions of Speke, Liverpool, was accused of leaving people feeling "hounded continually" by the Information Commissioner's Office.

    Over a 10-month period the firm made 26.6 million automated calls containing recorded messages, mainly about PPI claims.

    It did not have the consent for sending direct marketing and failed to identify the organisation making the calls, which is against the law.

    ICO head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: "The company paid no heed to laws on telephone marketing and showed no concern for the distress they were causing people."

  13. Wall Street climbs

    Trader checks screen

    Wall Street stock have climbed in afternoon trading boosted by strong reports from Facebook and Microsoft and hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve.

    Facebook climbed 4.3% after it said ad sales should rise despite a dip in the number of people using the social media.

    The technology sector was up 0.53% ahead of earnings figures from Apple, Alphabet and Amazon after the bell closes.

  14. 'Change eurozone direction': Italy's Five Star Movement

    by Manuela Saragosa, BBC business reporter

    Knightsbridge
    Image caption: Knightsbridge

    Members of Italy's Five Star Movement met with hedge fund managers and international bankers at a private club in Knightsbridge today to explain the party's policies and political prospects.

    Candidate Lorenzo Fioramonti told the BBC: "What we want is a change in the direction and governance of the eurozone, in its principles, so that we can keep the euro but make it work for the people of Italy as well as other euro member states."

    Although it's unlikely the Five Star Movement will win enough seats to give it a majority to govern alone, Mr Fioramonti said the party would not consider forming a coalition with any other party. Rather, he appeared to be calling for some form of unofficial coalition.

    "We want to try and get our own majority (even though) that may not be likely," he said. But, he added, if the party emerges as one of the largest in parliament after the elections, "that puts us in a position to tell all the other parties that we have a set of priorities for the country."

  15. 'No future outside Europe': Italy's Five Star movement

    by Manuela Saragosa, BBC business reporter

    Beppe Grillo
    Image caption: Five Star was founded by Beppe Grillo

    Leaders of Italy's Five Star movement - one of the strongest single parties heading into Italian elections on 4 March - have been in London.

    The reason for the trip? To meet with international investors and reassure them that the party is not anti-euro or anti the European Union.

    But its new pro-Europe stance marks a departure from one of its campaigning platforms back in 2009, when it was set up.

    In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Lorenzo Fioramonti, a Five Star Movement candidate who travelled to London with the party's leader Luigi di Maio, said: "We're not interested in leaving the European Union, there's no future outside of Europe, and we do not intend to leave the euro."

  16. 200,000 new homes will be built, says government

    Houses

    The Government says it will invest £866m in infrastructure to pave the way for up to 200,000 new homes to be built.

    The Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said the funds would be used to pay for "new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work where it is needed for new housing to be built".

    The first wave of funding from the £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund will support 133 council-led projects across the country.

    In a written ministerial statement, Mr Javid said the investment was part of a "comprehensive programme to fix the broken housing market".

  17. Google parent 'in talks with Aramco over Saudi tech hub'

    Saudi Aramco installation called 'Pump 3'

    Google parent firm Alphabet is in talks with state-owned oil giant Aramco about building a technology hub in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    Alphabet would help Aramco build datacentres as the kingdom looks to wean itself off reliance on oil, the article says.