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  1. Get in touch:
  2. IMF upgrades global growth outlook
  3. UK wages up 2.8% in the three months to February
  4. Unemployment rate drops to 4.2%, lowest since 1975
  5. JD Sports' profits up by a quarter
  6. China's economy grows 6.8% in first quarter

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's it from Business Live. We'll be back at 6am sharp tomorrow.

  2. How 'ninja polymers' are fighting killer superbugs

    Woman scientist

    With advances in stem cell research and nanotechnology helping us fight illnesses from heart disease to superbugs, is the fusion of biology and technology speeding us towards a sci-fi future - part human, part synthetic?

    In Ridley Scott's seminal blockbuster Blade Runner, humanity has harnessed bio-engineering to create a race of replicants that look, act and sound human - but are made entirely from synthetic material.

    We may be far from realising that sci-fi future, but synthetics are beginning to have a profound effect on medicine.

    Read more

  3. Wall Street shares rally

    Exterior of New York Stock Exchange

    All three key US share indexes have closed higher.

    The Dow Jones ended the day at 24,786.83, a rise of 213.79 points or 0.87%.

    The S&P 500 was at 2,710.43, that's up 32.59 points or 1.22%.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq was at 7,281.10, a gain of 124.81 points or 1.74%.

    Shares were boosted by gains in the technology and consumer sectors.

    Netflix shares soared by 10% to hit a record high after it exceeded quarterly subscriber estimates.

  4. New York state launches cryptocurrency investigation

    A Bitcoin symbol

    The state of New York has launched an investigation into platforms that trade cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, warning of potential fraud and conflicts of interest.

    The inquiry aims to increase "transparency and accountability" of the exchanges that retail investors rely on to trade in virtual currency.

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said: "Too often, consumers don't have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms."

    Citing reports of theft of vast sums of virtual currency from customer accounts, and sudden and poorly explained trading outages, his office sent letters to 13 major trading platforms requesting key information on their operations, internal controls, and safeguards to protect customer assets.

  5. Big US banks 'made $2.3bn from Trump tax cuts'

    Bank of America

    America's biggest four banks posted strong first quarter earnings this week, but the results would have looked very different if the impact of recent tax cuts had been stripped out, says Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Rapoport.

    He argues the cuts boosted the combined earnings of JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America by more than $2.3bn.

    "Without the tax savings resulting from the new lower corporate tax rate, Wells Fargo’s earnings would have declined from a year ago instead of increasing, and much of the year-over-year growth at Citigroup and Bank of America would be gone. At JPMorgan, losing the tax bump would have cut its earnings growth to 28% from 35%."

    He also notes that other provisions of the tax law prompted some of the same banks to take big charges against their fourth quarter earnings.

    "From that perspective, the first-quarter boosts merely help even things out."

  6. Lloyds closures a 'real blow'

    Cash machines

    Lloyds’ decision to close 49 more bank branches will come as a "real blow" to small businesses, the Federation of Small Businesses says.

    National chairman Mike Cherry said: “Bank branches provide a number of vital services to small business owners, from cash floats and deposits, to support with access to finance, to assistance with opening new accounts.

    “Withdrawing branches from communities comes with real risks to small firms. Without the ability to easily deposit cash, they have to hold more of it on site. That can make them targets for crime.

    “Equally, bank branches are vital to encouraging high street footfall. Cash is still the preferred payment method for thousands of shoppers."

  7. Tech stocks rally as results season gets underway

    US tech apps

    US tech stocks are in rally mode after strong results from Netflix boosted shares in the video streaming platform by 10%.

    Amazon, Apple, Twitter and Google-owner Alphabet - which all publish results in the coming weeks - are up by 3.9%, 1.46%, 10.7% and 3.5% respectively.

    Analysts expect profits of S&P 500 companies to rise 18.6% in the first quarter, the biggest increase in seven years, largely as a result of new corporate tax cuts.

    It's lifting Wall Street markets more generally, with the Dow Jones gaining 0.9% and the Nasdaq up 1.75%.

  8. Starbucks to give staff 'racial bias' training


    Starbucks will give all of its 175,000 US staff racial bias training after what it called the "reprehensible" arrest of two black men for trespassing at one of its cafes.

    The US firm said it would close its more than 8,000 company-owned stores on the afternoon of 29 May to give training geared toward "preventing discrimination".

    “I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks boss Kevin Johnson.

    “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution."

    The men arrested were waiting for a friend at the Philadelphia branch.A manager called the police after complaining that they had not made a purchase. Both men were released shortly after their arrest and have each retained lawyers.

    Starbucks has faced protests outside the store where the incident occurred.

  9. Matthew Mellon: US billionaire dies in Mexico

    Matthew Mellon

    The US billionaire Matthew Mellon, who made a fortune in digital currency, has died at the age of 54, his family says.

    Mr Mellon had struggled with drug addiction, and a family representative said he died at a rehabilitation centre in the Mexican coastal town of Cancun.

    He was an early backer of the digital currency XRP, also known as Ripple.

    The tycoon was the scion of two US banking dynasties and the ex-husband of the British co-founder of luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon.

    Read more

  10. South African government cuts ties with KPMG

    Former South African president Jacob Zuma

    South Africa's spending watchdog the Auditor General is terminating all contracts with auditing firm KPMG over a string of recent scandals.

    KPMG has been under close scrutiny since 2017 over work done for a company owned by the Gupta family - who have been accused of using their links to former president Jacob Zuma to influence government decisions - and for lender VBS Mutual Bank.

    The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

    KPMG South Africa has previously said it was not involved in and did not condone any alleged money laundering activities linked to the Gupta-owned Linkway Trading company.

    However, Auditor General Kimi Makwetu said in a statement: "Recent media reports relating to the external audit of VBS Mutual Bank and the conduct of KPMG audit partners are some of the reasons that prompted the decision to withdraw all KPMG audit mandates with immediate effect.

    "These terminations are not a judgement on the capabilities or integrity of the professionals that work in the firms, but are recognition of the significant reputational risks associated with matters that affect them at present."

    Regulators have referred a former KPMG employee to a disciplinary hearing over the work carried out for Linkway.

  11. Pound slips below $1.43

    Pound coins/ notes

    The pound has retreated from the post-EU referendum high seen earlier today.

    It's currently trading at $1.4291 against the dollar, down 0.33% since the start of Tuesday.

    Analysts blamed the slip on weaker-than-expected data, showing British workers' pay is still rising by less than inflation despite the lowest unemployment rate since 1975.

    Sterling is flat against the euro at 1.1575 euros.

  12. FTSE 100 closes higher

    The FTSE 100 closed has closed 0.4% higher at 7,226.05 points.

    Russia-exposed stocks recovered some of their sharp losses as investors grew less anxious about US sanctions.

    Evraz was the top performer, gaining 6.6%, while Polymetal International rose 2%.

    Meanwhile Primark-owner Associated British Foods gained more than 4% after reporting better than expected results.

  13. US tax cuts: Are they the biggest in American history?

    Kim Gittleson

    New York business correspondent

    Donald Trump

    It's tax day in America - something most Americans dread.

    But this year, the filing of both personal and corporate taxes has become even more complicated due to the recently passed tax reform bill in the United States.

    President Donald Trump touted the legislation in a speech on 16 April in Hialeah, Florida, saying: "We have the biggest tax cut in history, bigger than the Reagan tax cut. Bigger than any tax cut."

    But while most Americans are filing for 2017 and so won't feel the biggest impact until next year - is the claim true?

    Read more

  14. T-Mobile fined over false ringtones

    T-mobile logo

    Mobile phone network T-Mobile has agreed to pay $40m (£27m) after claims by the US government that it used false ringtones when calls could not be connected in rural areas.

    This would have given the impression that the calls were going unanswered rather than not connecting.

    The settlement was negotiated by the Federal Communications Commission.

    T-Mobile said the issue was "unintentional" and had been "corrected" in January 2017.

    The FCC banned false ringtones in 2014.

    Read more

  15. The Lloyds branches that could close:

    • Alford, Lincolnshire
    • Bishops Cleeve, Cotswolds
    • Bovey Tracey, South Devon
    • Bridgend Industrial Estate, South Wales
    • Brierley Hill, West Midlands
    • Brightlingsea, Essex
    • Butler Place, West End
    • Chatteris, The Fens
    • Clare, Essex
    • Cockermouth, North Lancashire & Cumbria
    • Colchester University Of Essex, Essex
    • Coningsby, Lincolnshire
    • Cricklade, Cotswolds
    • Croydon George Street, South East London
    • Dawlish, South Devon
    • East Wittering, Surrey & South Downs
    • Frinton-on-Sea, Essex
    • Hassocks, Sussex
    • Hednesford, South Staffordshire
    • Henley-in-Arden, Cotswolds
    • Hull Derringham, North & East Yorkshire
    • Keswick, North Lancashire & Cumbria
    • Lakenheath, The Fens
    • Ledbury, East Wales & Borders
    • Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire
    • Midhurst, Solent
    • Ottery St Mary, Somerset & Devon
    • Plymouth Southway, South Devon
    • Royton, Central Lancashire
    • Rye, Kent
    • Selsey, Surrey and South Downs
    • Soham, The Fens
    • St Leonards-on-Sea Silverhill, Kent
    • Stalybridge, Manchester
    • Stevenage High Street, Hertfordshire
    • Teddington, South West London
    • Upton-upon-Severn, Severn
    • Watton, East Anglia
    • Wealdstone, North West London
    • West Ealing, West London
    • Wingham, Kent
  16. Lloyds to cut 300 jobs and close branches

    A Lloyds bank branch

    Lloyds says it will cut a further 305 jobs and shut 49 branches as part of a cost cutting plan announced in February.

    The lender said it would cut more than 1,200 roles but also create 925 jobs elsewhere to limit the impact on employees.

    "The group's policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group," it said.

    It is part of wider efforts to overhaul the lender as more customers bank online.

    It follows the announcement of 930 job cuts in February.

  17. M&S to close Hardwick distribution centre

    M&S logo

    Marks & Spencer is to close its Hardwick distribution centre near Warrington which handles clothing and homeware.

    The site is operated by a third party, XPO Logistics, and uses DHL lorries to distribute goods.

    About 450 staff who work for XPO and DHL could lose their jobs.

    M&S is in the process of moving to using a smaller number of larger distribution centres.

  18. European markets jump but FTSE trails

    Man outside London Stock Exchange

    Mainland European markets have followed a buoyant Wall Street higher.

    France's Cac 40 is up 0.9% to 5,360.54 points while Germany's Dax is 1.6% higher at 12,591.60.

    The FTSE 100 is only 0.4% higher, however, held back by the strong pound (This is because firms' international profits will be worth less when converted back into sterling).

    Conor Campbell of SpreadEx said: "While the pound stalled following a slightly disappointing, but still promising, wage growth reading, it is only just off of its post-Brexit high against the dollar, and is actually knocking on the door of €1.16 against the data-weakened euro, itself a fresh 11 month peak."