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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Fashion retailer Coast collapses
  3. Wall Street and FTSE 100 slide
  4. Patisserie Valerie faces collapse
  5. IMF chief defends Federal Reserve
  6. Hammond targets 'fake' self-employed

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

  1. Post update

    That's all from us for today. Please check back tomorrow at the usual time of 6am.

  2. Wall Street sinks for a second day

    A sell-off in US stock markets has continued with a second day of steep declines.

    Despite early gains, losses on the indexes accelerated later in the day, extending earlier drops in Europe and Asia.

    The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both closed down more than 2%, while the Nasdaq slid about 1.25%.

    The falls came amid concerns about rising interest rates and slowing global growth.

  3. Walgreens Boots Alliance disappoints

    Walgreens store

    Walgreens Boots Alliance disappointed investors on Thursday, as sales of personal care products and over-the-counter drugs fell both in the US and at Boots in the UK in its most recent quarter.

    The largest US pharmacy operator by store numbers has been trying to boost sales through its prescription-only pharmacy business through pilot projects with online beauty retailer Birchbox and supermarket chain Kroger.

    Walgreens also said it would be investing in new stores and online operations to counter weakness in the UK.

    Like-for-like retail sales in its international unit fell 0.9%, and by 1.9% in the US. Total revenue rose nearly 11% to $33.4bn - just short of analyst estimates.

    Quarterly profit, however, was better than expected, helped by the addition of more than 1,900 Rite Aid stores.

    Shares fell 1% in afternoon trading in New York.

  4. New boss for Aer Lingus

    Aer Lingus plane

    Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh is stepping down in January after four years at the helm of the Irish airline.

    Owner International Airlines Group said he will be succeeded by Sean Doyle, director of network, fleet and alliances at British Airways.

    Mr Kavanagh, who has worked for Aer Lingus for three decades, will remain on the airline's board as a director after handing over the reins on January 1.

    Mr Doyle, who has been with BA since 2003, is "ideally suited" to lead Aer Lingus, Mr Walsh said.

    Aer Lingus' operating profits surge 51% to €104m (£91m) in the first half of 2018.

    IAG paid €1.3bn for the Irish carrier three years ago after Ryanair gave up its long-running battle to take over its Dublin-based rival.

  5. UK cuts electric and hybrid car discounts

    Nissan Leaf

    The price of electric and hybrid cars is set to rise after the government announced changes to the financial incentives for buying greener vehicles.

    In what is strange timing, an announcement was pushed out by the Department of Transport earlier this evening.

    Grants for some ultra-low emissions cars will be cut from £4,500 to £3,500, while discounts in two other categories will be scrapped.

    The DoT said the move would affect the purchase of the next 35,000 of the cleanest cars.

    But the RAC motoring group called the change a "big step backwards".

    Read more here.

  6. 'Lean and profitable'

    Karen Millen models

    Karen Millen says it can use its product expertise and existing global relationships to increase sales of Coast's "premium womenswear".

    Beth Butterwick, its chief executive, says: “We are excited to be welcoming over 600 Coast employees to the Karen Millen family. With its beautiful fabrics, stunning colours and signature designs, Coast is a much-loved fashion brand that has dressed women for all occasions since 1996.

    "Our expertise and infrastructure puts us in a unique position to create a lean and profitable business, ensuring it remains a thriving destination in department stores and online.”

  7. BreakingKaren Millen buys some Coast assets

    PwC has confirmed Karen Millen's purchase of some of Coast's business and certain assets, preserving 600 jobs.

    Karen Millen will also continue to work with existing wholesale and franchise partners.

    Mike Denny, joint administrator and PwC director, said: “The businesses had been facing financial difficulties due to structural challenges in the retail space and specifically the concession partner market, as well as a softening of demand for occasion wear.

    “This sale puts the ongoing business on a firmer financial footing. Karen Millen will be working with the existing management team to continue to grow and develop the new business.

    “Regrettably, other parts of the business including 24 retail stores were not included in the transaction. We will make every effort to help those employees in parts of the business that were not included in the sale and will support those affected at this difficult time by liaising with the Redundancy Payments Service and Job Centre Plus.”

  8. Is the US economy as strong as it seems?

    US flag

    The Dow and S&P have sunk further in late trading, with both indexes down close to 2%, with the Nasdaq shedding 1.4%.

    Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, has these thoughts about the two-day market rout:

    “The last Federal Reserve statement suggested further rate rises in 2019, possibly four. It’s affected US treasuries [government bonds] with the benchmark 10-year yield rising to 3.2%. This has now affected the US stock market, as shares prices take into account the risk-free rate of return from bonds. As bond yields rise, equities look more expensive, so we’ve seen them pulled back in line. The US usually leads global markets, so we’ve seen other stock markets follow suit.

    "In the US in particular, areas of high growth, like the technology sector, have been on a sustained strong run. It’s not surprising they’re first in line for investors looking to take profits from their holdings. This has rippled into growth stocks worldwide. When people take profits from their investments, the biggest risers usually take the biggest hits. But I think this is more of an October storm.

    "I don’t think the Fed will hike interest rates four times in 2019. Indeed, they might not raise them at all. Looking at the US economy, there’s been a big sugar rush with tax cuts. But if the economy is so strong, why are house building starts and car sales so weak? I suspect the economy isn’t quite as strong as some people think. As such, I don’t think bond yields in the US will rise much further from here.”

  9. Why oil prices are down

    Oil pump

    The fall in oil prices today has been partly triggered by a sharp rise in US crude inventories last week.

    The total was up by 6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said - more than double analysts' expectations of a 2.6 million barrel increase.

    The stockpiles rose for the third consecutive week as refineries continued to reduce production for seasonal maintenance.

  10. Coast 'bought by Karen Millen'

    Coast model

    Coast staff were being informed on Thursday evening of the retailer's demise, which means all 24 standalone shops will close.

    Press Association said it understood that rival Karen Millen has bought the group's brand and website, taking on 600 staff, but 300 jobs are now at risk.

    Coast has been hit hard by the collapse of House of Fraser, which went into administration earlier this year owing millions to retailers with concessions in its stores.

    Coast is owned by Aurora Fashions, which also owns retailers Oasis and Warehouse. Aurora itself is owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which in turn owns Karen Millen.

  11. Coast blames 'difficult trading'

    Coast model

    Coast's collapse into administration, which has been blamed on "difficult trading conditions" means 300 jobs are at risk.

    PwC has been appointed as administrators.

    Any valid gift cards will be honoured online, according to a notice in the window of a Coast store, while uncollected click and collect orders will be refunded "in due course".

  12. BreakingCoast collapses

    Coast notice

    Fashion retailer Coast has collapsed on Thursday night, with the immediate closure of its 24 outlets at locations including Oxford Street and Westfield in west London.

    The chain also has stores in Ireland, Dubai and Kuwait.

    Its numerous concessions in department stores including House of Fraser, Debenhams and John Lewis will continue to trade.

  13. Oil loses ground

    Oil pump

    Oil prices slipped on Thursday along with the slide on global stock markets, with Brent crude down $2.10, or 2.5%, to $80.99 a barrel after dipping as low as $80.69.

    The global benchmark has retreated after hitting a four-year high of $86.74 on 3 October.

    US crude fell $1.76 to $71.41 a barrel, down 2.4%.

  14. Fracking decision looms

    Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site

    The High Court will rule tomorrow on whether to grant an order temporarily blocking energy firm Cuadrilla from fracking the UK's first horizontal shale gas well, pending a legal challenge.

    Mr Justice Supperstone is expected to give his judgment at noon on an application brought by environmental campaigner Bob Dennett.

    He claims Lancashire County Council's emergency response planning and procedures in relation to Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site are inadequate, is seeking an injunction pending his proposed judicial review.

    After hearing several hours of submissions from Mr Dennett, the local authority and Cuadrilla, the judge sitting in London said he would rule on whether to extend an existing temporary order.

    Nathalie Lieven QC, for Cuadrilla, told Mr Justice Supperstone that her client had intended to start fracking on Friday, but had "put that off to Saturday" in light of the late hearing.

  15. Google: please explain

    Google+ sign

    Three influential Republican US senators have asked Google to explain why it chose to delay disclosing vulnerabilities with its Google+ social network.

    Google said this week it would shut down the consumer version of Google+ and tighten its data-sharing policies after disclosing that private profile data of at least 500,000 users may have been exposed to hundreds of external developers.