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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Oil prices rise 4%
  3. Wall Street shares fall on open
  4. Rail fares rise 3.1% on average
  5. Transport Secretary defends Brexit ferry contract
  6. Christmas-week sales at John Lewis rise
  7. FTSE 100 sees dismal start to 2019
  8. Iceland retail chain in HMRC dispute

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's it for today on Business Live - thanks for reading. We'll be back bright and early at 06:00 on Thursday.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis from the wonderful world of business.

    BBC testcard
  2. Wall Street closes 2019's first trading day marginally higher

    Statue of the little girl on Wall Street

    Wall Street shares have ended flat after regaining the ground lost at the start of the first trading day of 2019.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed just 0.08% higher at 23,346.

    The S&P 500 ended 0.13% higher at 2,510.

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq also squeaked into positive territory, finishing 0.05% up at 6,665.

  3. Oil prices steady

    Having risen sharply earlier in the day the oil price has stabilised a couple of percentage points higher - one of the things that's helped put a floor under US stocks.

    This is what the day's trading looked like for Brent, the benchmark London traded barrel.

    Brent crude intra day trade

    It's been a similar story for West Texas International.

    West Texas International trade price intraday
  4. Bottle deposit scheme proves popular

    plastic bottles

    Six months ago supermarket chain Iceland introduced a trial at five of its stores allowing shoppers to return plastic bottles and receive a 10p voucher in exchange.

    Iceland says shoppers have received over £30,000 so far from its "reverse vending machines", and 311,500 bottles have been recycled, The Guardian is reporting.

    Tesco, Morrisons and the Co-op are trialling similar schemes, but have yet to publish the results of their trials.

  5. The rarest fabric on Earth

    Vicunas

    The vicuna occupies an important place in the heart and soul of Peru. The llama’s smaller, more elegant relative is the country’s national animal and graces its flag, coat of arms and coins.

    Incas believed vicuna had special powers: killing them was forbidden. And only Inca nobility was allowed to wear garments made of cloth woven from the vicuna’s extraordinarily fine, cinnamon-coloured coat.

    That golden fleece, coveted by man for centuries, nearly led to the species extinction – and ultimately became its salvation.

    View the interactive gallery here.

  6. Wall Street boosted by oil gains

    Wall Street trading floor

    Oil prices surged today following a new report showing that oil stockpiles in Texas shrank over the past week.

    A widening spread between US crude and the global benchmark Brent is encouraging for US crude exports, as domestic crude becomes cheaper compared with international oil.

    The oil gains have helped Wall Street recover from the share sell-offs when the markets opened.

    Wall Street shares are still flat - the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now down 0.1% to 23,295.24, the S&P 500 is up 0.1% to 2,510.14, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 0.4% higher to 6,663.92.

  7. Chris Grayling grilled over no-deal Brexit ferry contracts

    Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has done an interview with Channel 4 where he has again defended the Department for Transport's decision to select Seaborne Freight to provide extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

    He says the DfT wanted to support a start-up British business, but that the government would not "rule out additional capacity" from other big ferry providers.

    View more on twitter
  8. Are we going to get a 'pudding tax'?

    A sticky toffee pudding

    After a Christmas of over-indulgence for many, the idea of a "pudding tax" may seem like a good idea.

    Public health experts have suggested it may be needed to tackle the high rates of sugar consumption.

    By the age of 10, the average child has exceeded the recommended level of sugar intake for an 18-year-old.

    The news prompted Public Health England chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone to suggest there may be a case for introducing a sugar tax on puddings.

  9. Oil price on the rise

    Oil rigs

    Oil prices have risen 4% today, buoyed by gains in US equity markets, as US stock indices rebounded from earlier losses.

    Brent crude rose $1.94 to $55.74 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate rose $1.86 to $47.27 a barrel, a 4.1 percent gain, after sinking to $44.35.

    However, analysts say concerns about rising crude production and weakening global economic growth which could hurt demand for oil.

    "The manufacturing survey data out of China this week is particularly negative for crude oil, as it goes to the heart of the key demand center for the market," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.

  10. Cathay Pacific to honour $16,000 fares sold for $675

    plane

    Cathay Pacific has said it will honour first-class and business-class tickets that it sold to some lucky passengers for a fraction of the usual price.

    The Hong Kong-based airline mistakenly sold business-class seats on August flights from Vietnam to New York for about $675 return.

    Prices on the same route in July and September cost $16,000.

    The airline admitted that it "made a mistake", but said it would honour the tickets.

    Here's the full story.

  11. Buzzfeed UK still in the red

    Buzzfeed UK

    Buzzfeed UK, the news website owned by US firm Buzzfeed Inc, has reported a pre-tax loss of £1.9m in 2017, and revenues of £33.4m.

    The loss is an improvement on 2016, when Buzzfeed UK reported a pre-tax loss of £3.3m and revenues of £20.5m.

    However, the publisher said in its financial report that it had "received assurances" that its US parent firm Buzzfeed Inc would continue to support it for at least another 12 months.

    According to Press Gazette, there were 23 newsroom redundancies at Buzzfeed UK in January 2018. The financial report does not include this, but says Buzzfeed UK hired 43 new editorial staff in the year.

  12. Queue for railcards

    At midday today, the long-awaited 26-to-30 railcard - known as the Millennial Railcard - went on sale.

    It offers a third off most leisure fares, and National Rail is now having to manage demand to prevent its website from crashing.

    We've been waiting in the queue for two hours so far, but it still hasn't moved, so consumers might need to come back another day.

    Screenshot of the online queue to get into National Rail's 26-30 railcard website
  13. Netflix hires Activision executive as CFO

    Netflix

    Netflix has hired a new chief financial officer - namely Spencer Neumann, who was most recently the CFO of video game holding company Activision Blizzard.

    There's some controversy over Mr Neumann's departure from Activision.

    He was fired on Monday by the firm and put on paid leave of absence, apparently in order to demonstrate that there was no cause to terminate his employment. Activision also emphasized in a regulatory filing that Mr Neumann's termination was not to do with the company's financial reporting.

    A source told CNBC that Mr Neumann's termination from Activision was due to the fact he had pursued another job.

    "Spencer is a stellar entertainment executive and we're thrilled that he will help us provide amazing stories to people all over the world," said Netflix's chief executive Reed Hastings.

    Mr Neumann previously served as chief financial officer of Disney.

  14. Volkswagen customers claim compensation

    Volkswagen cars in a showroom

    Thousands of people have signed up to claim compensation from the carmaker Volkswagen over the diesel emissions scandal in Germany.

    The federal justice office said more than 300,000 people had filed claims, with a rush to get on the list before it closed at the end of 2018.

    Several thousand VW owners joined the register in the last three days of the year.

    This comes after a German consumer association filed a class action lawsuit against VW in November, in the hope that the carmaker will be found liable to pay damages to German consumers, who have been left out of pocket by having to replace their existing vehicles.

  15. London closes flat

    London Stock Exchange

    London shares have ended flat.

    Apart from fears of a global economic slowdown, Brexit uncertainty continues to be on the agenda, and European markets have been down today as well, due to weak manufacturing PMI figures from several countries.

    The FTSE 100 closed 6.1 points or 0.1% higher to 6,734.23. Top of the winners is Next, which rose 4.6% to £41.77.

    The FTSE 250 ended 84.7 points or 0.5% ahead to 17,586.70. British infrastructure provider Stobart leads the winners, climbing 8.4% to 153.5p.

  16. Sharp rise in air crash deaths in 2018

    An aeroplane flying in the air

    Last year saw a sharp rise in fatalities from air crashes compared with 2017 but 2018 was still the ninth safest year on record, figures show.

    Airliner accidents killed 556 people last year compared with 44 in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reports.

    Last year's worst civilian accident was in October when a Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

    The year 2017 was the safest in history for commercial airlines with no passenger jet crashes recorded.

  17. Save on your train journey

    chart

    The long-awaited 26-to-30 railcard - known as the Millennial Railcard - goes on sale at midday on Wednesday. It offers a third off most leisure fares.

    A new 16-to-17 railcard, to be launched in the summer, will offer 50% off all fares. The idea is to help students travelling to school or college.

    There's more detail in this BBC story.

  18. Tesla's price cut 'is concerning'

    Elon Musk speaks during a launch event for the Tesla Model 3

    Although it is impressive that Tesla increased production of its electric cars in the fourth quarter of 2018 by 8% to a record high of 86,555 vehicles, it just isn't enough, says Nicholas Hyett, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

    “For most automotive groups these would be very impressive numbers – almost tripling the number of vehicles you deliver in just one year is no mean feat, and Musk and his team deserve a huge amount of credit," he said.

    "But unfortunately for Tesla shareholders, the market has come to expect Herculean achievements, and sometimes that means the bar is just that little bit too high."

    Mr Hyett thinks the $2,000 price cut to the Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles is also a big problem.

    "Longer term we think the price cut is more concerning – it suggests Tesla customers are perhaps a bit more price sensitive than you might have thought," he added.

    "If the group continues to deliver cars at the rate it did last quarter, $2,000 off each and every vehicle would mean $700m in lost revenue in 2019.

    "Not all those sales are in the US of course, but it’s far from ideal for a company which has only just made it into cash positive territory.”

  19. Where do rail fares go?

    chart

    BBC Reality Check has been looking at where train fares are spent.

    Read about it here.