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Live Reporting

Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

  1. Pound gains against euro on Brexit hopes

    Pound and euro curencies

    Sterling has hit a four month high against the euro, up 0.21%, at €1.1462, on hopes that the UK can soon agree a Brexit deal with the European Union.

    However, Kengo Suzuki, chief FX strategist at Mizuho Securities, cautioned: "We can't be too optimistic about the Brexit process, because even if a deal can be struck at an anticipated special EU summit in November, it has to get through the British Parliament."

    The pound has trimmed gains against the dollar and is now trading up 0.10% at $1.3156.

  2. Sears 'preparing to file for bankruptcy'

    Sears logo

    Struggling US department store chain Sears has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing sources.

    The paper says the group fears it won't be able to make a debt repayment due next week but continues to look for ways to avoid going into administration.

    Sears, which was the world’s largest retailer in the 1960s, has been struggling with declining foot fall and the rise of online shopping.

    It has closed almost half of its 866 stores since last year.

  3. SSE and nPower merger gets go-ahead

    Electric cooker

    A merger between SSE Retail and nPower has been given the go-ahead by the Competition and Markets Authority.

    Anne Lambert, chairwoman of the inquiry group examining the deal, says: "With many energy companies out there, people switching away from expensive standard variable tariffs (SVT) will still have plenty of choice when they shop around after this merger.

    "But we know that the energy market still isn't working well for many people who don't switch, so we looked carefully at how the merger would affect SVT prices.

    "Following a thorough investigation and consultation, we are confident that SSE and Npower are not close rivals for these customers and so the deal will not change how they set SVT prices."

  4. Tenants forced to play 'rental roulette'


    Renters are being forced to play "rental roulette" by unscrupulous landlords who do not show them their tenancy agreements until after they have put deposits down, Citizens Advice says.

    It found 51% of private renters had already stumped up some cash for the property, such as a holding deposit, by the time they saw the small print.

    More than a third claimed they were only told about additional fees that could be charged during their tenancy after putting down money.

    Citizens Advice said the findings show the ease with which tenants can be "trapped into unfair contracts".

  5. Brexit uncertainty hits Telford Homes

    For sale

    Shares in Telford Homes have slumped 14% after it warned profits in the first half of the year would be lower than the second half of 2019.

    The London-focused housebuilder blamed Brexit, saying customers were taking a "wait and see" approach to purchases over £600,000.

    Telford added that overseas demand has been stymied by "recent Brexit commentary and talk of increased stamp duty".

  6. Subdued open for FTSE

    The FTSE 100 has opened down 0.12% at 7,229.

    The FTSE 250 has barely budged and is trading at 19,548.36.

  7. Nasty Gal not first fashion firm criticised over model weight

    As trade mag Campaign has pointed out, Nasty Gal is not the first fashion company to be told off for using ultra thin models.

    It follows in the footsteps Drop Dead, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and, back in 1998, watchmaker Accurist.

    In January, online retailer Motel Rocks was ordered to remove four images from its website featuring a model the ASA determined to look unhealthily thin.

  8. Patisserie Valerie 'deeply concerned'

    Patisserie Valerie cakes

    Patisserie Valerie's chairman Luke Johnson, said: "We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business.

    "We are determined to understand the full details of what has happened and will communicate these to investors and stakeholders as soon as possible."

    Grant Thornton is Patisserie Valerie's auditor.

  9. Patisserie Valerie finance chief suspended

    Patisserie Valerie said that they discovered the problem on Tuesday 9 October.

    It said that its chief financial officer Chris Marsh has been suspended from his role.

    Entrepreneur Luke Johnson is the largest shareholder in Patisserie Valerie with a 37% stake.

    He is also chairman of the company and chairs the remuneration committee.

  10. BreakingPatisserie Valerie discovers black hole in accounts

    Patisserie Valerie

    Patisserie Valerie has discovered "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities" in its accounts.

    As a result, it said "there is potential material mis-statement of the company's accounts".

    "This has significantly impacted the Company's cash position and may lead to a material change in its overall financial position," it said.

    Patisserie Valerie has asked for its shares to be temporarily suspended from trading while it deals with the problem.

  11. Nasty Gal: Ads banned for using 'unhealthily underweight' model

    The ASA is having a bumper day, cracking down on yet more dodgy TV adverts.

    It has banned three television ads for online fashion retailer Nasty Gal because they used a model who appeared to be "unhealthily underweight".

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 22 complaints that the ads were socially irresponsible because the model, shown posing in outfits including swimwear, a dress and a tank top and skirt, looked unhealthily thin.

    Nasty Gal said the model was a UK size eight and had a body mass index (BMI) within the healthy range for an adult woman.

    The ASA said: "We considered that the model appeared unhealthily underweight in those scenes and concluded that the ads were therefore irresponsible."

  12. Domino's rolls the dice on new finance chief


    Like Spinal Tap did with drummers, pizza chain Domino's seems to go through an awful lot of finance directors.

    This morning, it has named its newest chief financial officer, David Bauernfeind who hails from Connect Group, the company formerly known as WHSmith News.

    Mr Bauernfeind is the fourth finance director to join the pizza maker in four years and replaces Rachel Osborne who left to join Debenhams.

    Good luck Mr Bauernfeind.

  13. Sun and World Cup boost sales at Marston's

    Marston's beers

    The World Cup and warm summer weather helped pub group Martson's chalk up record revenue for the year ended 29 September 2018.

    Group turnover jumped 15% to over £1.1bn and the firm said it expected to report underlying profit before tax of around £104m - up from £100.1m last year.

    Chief executive Ralph Findlay said it had been a "transformational" year, adding: "We are meeting the demands of our customers and continue to manage the inflationary cost environment well, which gives us confidence for the future.''

  14. Nissan rapped for misleading Leaf ad

    Nissan Leaf chargin

    First Vodafone, now Nissan.

    An ad for the Nissan Leaf electric car has been banned for misleading consumers about the time needed to charge the vehicle.

    Nissan's UK website for the Leaf said: "Quick charge on the move ... up to 80% in 40 to 60 minutes**", with a link to a footnote stating that the time was dependent on certain charging conditions.

    Three complainants, who understood that the car sometimes took longer than 60 minutes to charge and was designed to accept only one fast charge per day, said the time claim in the ad was misleading.

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: "Because the ad did not clearly convey the degree of variability in the time that may be required to deliver a certain amount of charge, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were likely to mislead."

  15. Not such a big surprise

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Aviva boss Mark Wilson

    While many people may have been shocked at the surprise departure of Aviva boss Mark Wilson, investors were not - especially because the insurance group's share price has been stuck between £4 and £5 for some time.

    Aviva's share price performance over five years
    Image caption: Aviva's share price performance over five years

    Simon French, chief economist at Panmure Gordon, says: "Investors are looking at Aviva and going 'well, where is the growth opportunity - this is a very UK-centered business. Where are the growth opportunities in Asia?' It has tried in the US and failed.

    "I sit next to our insurance analyst at Panmure Gordon," says Mr French. "And he has long predicted Mark Wilson's departure.

    "Not just because of the botched attempt to cancel the preference shares which brought Aviva some fairly negative headlines but also because that growth strategy hasn't been obvious to investors and pushed up their valuation."

  16. Nike signs first athlete with cerebral palsy

    Nike has signed their first athlete with cerebral palsy, GQ Australia has reported.

    Justin Gallegos, a student at the University of Oregon, recently completed his first half-marathon despite his condition which leaves him with limited coordination over his limbs.

    View more on instagram
  17. Risks and reward?

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Union Jack and EU flags

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given a gloomy outlook for global financial stability and one of the factors in that is Brexit.

    Its deputy director of markets, Fabio Natalucci, said this morning: "We have identified probably two sets of risk. One is short-term transitional risk - there are operational risks related to banks, insurance companies, asset managers.

    "There are also medium-term challenges that relate to the ultimate deal being reached. Those have to do with the risk of fragmentation of liquidity, the possible duplication of trading venues and related efficiencies, risk management issues for financial institutions as well as data sharing."

  18. Advertisers are 'pushing boundaries'

    BBC Radio 5 live


    As we have reported, a Vodafone advert starring Martin Freeman, in which the actor seems to be breaking up with his partner but is really trying to leave the phone firm, has been banned for being misleading.

    Kristina Auxtova, a lecturer in marketing at University College Cork, says the problem with the advert is that it suggested consumers could leave their contracts at "any time" when in fact they couldn't.

    She adds that Vodafone was in trouble just last month over questionable marketing claims.

    Advertisers are "pushing the boundaries" when it comes to marketing campaigns, she says, while consumers are more willing to complain.

    "70% of the complaints the Advertising Standards Authority receives are about misleading claims," she tells Wake up to Money.

  19. Bank of England warns of Brexit hit to derivatives market

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Yesterday the Bank of England warned that a no-deal Brexit could hit London's enormous derivatives market.

    Broadly, derivatives are insurance contracts, and if the UK and EU regulatory environments diverge too much after March 2019 there could be trouble, says Simon French, chief economist for Panmure Gordon.

    EU-based firms hold derivative contracts worth a whopping £41tn at UK clearing houses, the Bank warned - so both sides stand to lose out from no deal.

    It wants “timely action” by EU authorities to avoid "immediate adverse impacts", as this FT article sets out.