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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Argos drags down Sainsbury's Christmas sales
  3. Mothercare revenue drops 11.4%
  4. US-China trade talks conclude
  5. Taylor Wimpey leads London shares higher

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's all for today from the Business Live page. Join us again tomorrow morning from 06:00.

  2. Trade war talks 'went fine'

    A woman works in a steel hub factory in China

    Closely watched US-China trade talks have wrapped up in Beijing but few details have emerged.

    The mid-level officials met for their first face-to-face talks since President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade spat.

    The talks were scheduled to last two days but were extended for a third.

    A member of the US delegation Ted McKinney told reporters outside his hotel room that his team would head home later Wednesday, and that talks "went just fine".

  3. Wall Street closes higher

    Wall Street trader

    Wall Street rallied for a fourth session, led by Apple, chipmakers and other trade-sensitive stocks, after signs of progress in trade talks between the US and China.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 23,878.01, a rise of 90.56 points or 0.38%.

    The S&P 500 gained 8.48 points or 0.33% to end the day at 2,582.89.

    And the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 60.08 points or 0.87% climbing to 6,957.08.

  4. Activists urge Corbyn to back EU referendum

    Jeremy Corbyn

    Some on Labour's left are growing impatient with the leadership's stance on a new Brexit referendum, writes Iain Watson.

  5. Toyota recalls 1.7 million vehicles worldwide over air bag inflators

    Toyota cars

    Car giant Toyota is recalling another 1.7 million vehicles worldwide for potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators as part of a multi-year industry recall campaign announced in 2016.

    Most of the vehicles are being recalled in the US.

    At least 23 deaths worldwide have been linked to the rupturing of faulty Takata air bag inflators,

  6. Bercow ruling 'could change the course of Brexit'

    John Bercow
    Image caption: John Bercow has been the Speaker for almost a decade

    Boom! After a humdrum, almost completely unrevealing Prime Minister's Questions, the Commons erupted over Speaker John Bercow's decision to allow an attempt to change the rules for the resumed "meaningful vote" debate.

    This is no mere technicality. The amendment proposed by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve would require the government to come back within three days, rather than 21, to debate the implications of not having a Brexit deal - if the prime minister's deal is indeed voted down next Tuesday.

    Under the previous rules, that debate would be kicked back to late February, with the Brexit clock ticking remorselessly in the background.

    The new Grieve amendment, now passed by MPs, means that in the event the PM loses next week, the Commons will then have a chance to vote on alternative policies - everything from a "managed no-deal" to a further referendum, via a "Norway option" or a reheated version of the current deal, could be on the table.

    Read more here.

  7. Wall Street rises again

    Wall Street trader

    US stocks have risen modestly again after signs of progress in trade talks between the US and China.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 139 points at 23,926, the S&P 500 was up 14 points at 2,588, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 67 points at 6,965.

  8. Ferry firm insists it will be ready for no-deal Brexit

    Ramsgate harbour

    The firm with a government contract to run ferries between Ramsgate and Ostend has insisted it will be ready by the time the UK leaves the EU.

    Seaborne Freight made the assertion after a report that the government had accepted in private that it would not be ready for Brexit.

    But the firm said that services were "due to commence in March".

    The Department for Transport said it had confidence in the deliverability of the service.

    Read more here.

    Transport Secretary has been criticised by Labour MPs over the deal.

    On Tuesday Labour MP Andy McDonald tweeted:

    View more on twitter
  9. Regulator warns UK firms over ad accuracy

    Financial regulator the FCA has sent a letter to the bosses of the companies it regulates reminding them "of what constitutes fair, clear and unambiguous financial promotions", it says.

    "We have recently become aware of firms issuing financial promotions which suggest or imply that all of the activities which they undertake are regulated by us and/or the PRA when they are not," it says.

    Jonathan Davidson of the FCA adds:

    "It is completely unacceptable for firms, which are regulated for some of their business, to market unregulated investments by implying to customers that all their business is regulated.

    "We are committed to stamping out this misleading practice and recommend that customers should ask firms whether what they are buying is really regulated by the FCA."

  10. BreakingHardy Amies fashion house appoints UK administrators

    Hardy Amies dress (left)

    Luxury fashion house Hardy Amies, a former official dressmaker to the Queen, has gone into administration for the second time.

    The company was previously bought out of administration in 2008, but the UK arm has been trading at a loss "for some time", the firm says in a statement.

  11. Brexit: MPs' vote piles fresh pressure on Theresa May

    MPs in Parliament

    Rebel Tory MPs have joined forces with Labour to inflict a fresh blow on Theresa May's government in a Commons Brexit vote.

    It means the government will have to come up with fresh plans within three days if Mrs May's EU withdrawal deal is rejected by MPs next week.

    It could also open the door to alternatives, such as a referendum.

    The government lost by 11 votes, with 297 MPs voting with them and 308 against.

    Read more here.

  12. Saudi Arabia 'sells first bonds since Khashoggi murder'

    Jamal Khashoggi
    Image caption: Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October

    Saudi Arabia plans to issue US dollar-denominated bonds, targeting longer dated maturities in a test of international investor demand.

    The sale is the first since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi rattled foreign investors, Bloomberg reports.

    Hit by a slump in oil prices, Saudi Arabia has become one of the biggest issuers across emerging markets, having sold $52bn in international bonds since its debut in 2016.

    Orders for Wednesday's bond sale topped $19bn, Reuters reports.

  13. Oil boosted by US-China trade optimism

    Brent crude futures

    Oil prices are up more than 2% after US-China talks in Beijing raised hopes that the world's two largest economies will resolve their trade standoff.

    Brent crude futures were up $1.46, or 2.49%, at $60.18 per barrel.

    US West Texas Intermediate futures were at $51.16 per barrel up 2.77%, the first time this year that US crude has topped $50.

    Both crude price benchmarks added to Tuesday's 2% gains and have now been on the rise for eight days in a row - their longest rally since June 2017.

  14. Trump escalates migrant wall stand-off

    Apprehensions on US-Mexico border

    US President Donald Trump has made his first TV address to the nation from the Oval Office, escalating a stand-off with Congress that has led to an 18-day partial government shutdown.

    Mr Trump is insisting on funding for his US-Mexico border wall.

  15. Surprise eurozone unemployment fall

    People looking at job ads

    Eurozone unemployment unexpectedly fell in November to its lowest rate in more than ten years, official figures show.

    Eurostat said unemployment in the 19-country bloc dropped to 7.9%in November, the lowest level since October 2008, and below economists’ forecasts of an 8.1% rate.

    The fall was partly caused by a drop of the number of unemployed people in Italy and Spain.

  16. Edinburgh tourist tax wins local support

    Edinburgh town centre

    Plans to introduce a £2 tourist tax in Edinburgh have won strong support in a public consultation.

    Some Scottish councils, led by Edinburgh, have called for powers to set levies on tourist accommodation.

    Figures show 85% of respondents to a City of Edinburgh Council survey backed the move, including more than half of accommodation providers.

    The Scottish government has said it will further consult on the issue.