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Live Reporting

Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

  1. Have a great weekend

    Due to sickness in the ranks, the Business Live page is closing early.

    I hope you've enjoyed today's selection, we'll be back from 06:00 on Monday, so please come back for more.

  2. FTSE 100 down: IAG and RBS biggest losers

    The FTSE 100 is heading into the weekend with modest losses. It's down 0.3% in late trading.

    British Airways owner, IAG, is the biggest loser with a near 6% loss, after it reported annual results.

    One analyst said that sales were a little less than hoped for and fuel costs were higher than expected.

    Royal Bank of Scotland was the next biggest loser with a 4.5% loss, after its annual results. Analysts were concerned about a key measure of its profitability.

    BT Group jumped 4%, helped by positive comments from analysts at Berenberg.

  3. EU arsenic warning over magnetic putty children's toy

    Magnetic putty

    An EU-wide warning has been issued over a children's toy feared to contain dangerously high levels of arsenic.

    The "Magnetic Putty" toy was banned from sale by Northamptonshire Trading Standards (NTS) who found it had seven times the permitted amount of arsenic.

    Amazon, eBay and Groupon all removed the toy, which has no manufacturer or importer identification, from sale.

    Last week a schoolgirl reportedly had 10 times the safe limit of arsenic in her system after playing with the toy.

    Read more here.

  4. 'Cabinet split on Brexit lies ahead'

    The UK Cabinet meeting at Chequers

    Some interesting analysis from Bloomberg on Brexit and the Cabinet.

    To paraphrase the article: In its latest meeting the Cabinet put off difficult decisions about Brexit, instead adopting a pick n' mix approach to EU regulation, voluntarily accepting some to, say, keep the UK motor industry running smoothly.

    When the EU rejects this approach, as it has said many times that it will, the Cabinet will have to answer tough questions such as what happens with the Irish border, who will regulate any future UK/EU trade deal, and how customs checks will work.

    This will split the Cabinet between the hardline Brexiters and the former Remainers, the article says (not in so many words).

  5. Former Trump aide 'expected to plead guilty in Russia probe'

    Rick Gates

    Rick Gates, a former adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 US presidential campaign, was expected to plead guilty as soon as Friday in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, the New York Times and ABC News report.

    Mr Gates' expected plea could be a sign he will cooperate in Mr Mueller's investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign colluded with Russia in Moscow's alleged election meddling.

  6. US to impose 'largest' N Korea sanctions

    Donald Trump

    US President Donald Trump says he is launching the "largest ever" set of new sanctions against North Korea.

    The new measures will target 56 ships and maritime transport companies.

    "Today I am announcing that we are launching the largest-ever set of new sanctions on the North Korean regime," Mr Trump said in released sections of a speech to be delivered shortly.

    North Korea is already under a range of international and US sanctions over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

    Read more here.

  7. Snap shares fall

    Kylie Jenner

    After a torrid tumble over the past week or so, in part due to a disparaging Tweet by reality TV star Kylie Jenner, shares in Snap are still on the way down.

    They're about 0.46% lower.

    However, the shares are still as high as they've been since July 2017.

  8. Tech stocks lift Wall Street

    Wall Street traders

    The major US stock indexes are higher in early trading, led by tech stocks.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 164 points at 25,127. The S&P 500 has gained 3 points up to 2,719. The Nasdaq Composite is up 48 points at 7,257.

  9. Tech tax proposals 'worrying' says lobby body

    Google and Facebook UK finances 2016

    UK plans for a UK tax clampdown on tech giants are "worrying" according to industry body Tech UK.

    Giles Derrington, head of policy at Tech UK said: "“The government’s revenue-based digital tax creates a risk for smaller digital businesses.

    "It would make it harder for UK-owned companies to turn a profit, grow and employ more people, and put them at a disadvantage against already established players in the market...

    "The Chancellor has been clear that the success of the whole UK economy will rely on the tech sector continuing to grow - these proposals risk undermining that growth."

  10. US complains to WTO over China's Great Firewall

    US and Chinese flags

    The US has made a complaint to the World Trade Organisation about China's intention to enforce stricter internet access rules from March onwards.

    The US is concerned that the new rules could make life difficult for service providers who need to send and receive information in and out of China.

    "The United States urges China to address these concerns quickly and pursue new policies that promote rather than disrupt cross-border transfers of information and trade in services," it said in a statement to the WTO's Services Council.

    China is seeking to prevent virtual private networks (VPN) from being used to get around the Great Firewall to access websites abroad.

    The US is concerned that this would prevent consumers from accessing customer services based abroad; prevent travel agents from accessing international flight information; and prevent a business' Chinese offices from talking to the rest of the company.

  11. 'Free ports' urged to boost Welsh business post-Brexit

    Burry Port harbour

    Ports free of tax and red tape could boost the Welsh economy after Brexit, industry figures argue.

    That would mean goods imported and turned into higher value products inside free ports would not face tax and duties until they left the zone.

    It is hoped this would attract more international business into ports and encourage manufacturing.

    The Welsh Government said it has "an open mind", while the UK government wants to maximise trade opportunities.

    Full story here

  12. Education publisher Pearson pleases market

    Graduating students

    Shares in education publisher Pearson climbed 3% today after it confirmed it is making faster than expected progress in some areas of its restructure.

    The company said total cost savings are expected to be £300m a year by 2020.

    it posted pre-tax profits of £421m today, following a £2.5bn loss last year on the back of a major impairment in its US business.

    Chief executive John Fallon said: “Pearson has made good progress against its strategic priorities in 2017 with further simplification of the portfolio, strengthening of our balance sheet and delivering results at the top end of guidance."

  13. Blair makes case for second EU referendum

    Video content

    Video caption: Tony Blair makes the case for another EU referendum

    Former prime minister Tony Blair makes the case for a referendum on the UK's final Brexit deal.

    He tells BBC Radio 4's The World at One that although he passionately supports staying in the EU both sides in the debate deserve a say when it becomes clear what Brexit will actually look like.

  14. BT told to share poles for ultrafast internet

    Home with telegraph pole

    BT must make it easier for rival internet providers to use its telegraph poles, telecoms regulator Ofcom says.

    Ofcom has published a list of new measures to make it cheaper for companies to install ultrafast full fibre broadband infrastructure.

    Connecting homes directly to the fibre network delivers much faster internet speeds than copper cables.

    Rivals Talk Talk and Hyperoptic welcomed the announcement. BT said it was "considering the implications".

  15. Pound having a good day

    Sterling dollar graph

    Sterling has climbed 0.28% against the dollar today to reach $1.3994.

    Meanwhile the pound is up 0.47% against the euro to reach €1.1372.