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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. US consumer confidence lowest since 2016
  3. Wall Street soars on China trade offer
  4. Ryanair profits hit by falling fares
  5. Tesla to cut 7% of workforce
  6. Germany could block Huawei from 5G deals
  7. UK retail sales slide 0.9% in Dec from Nov
  8. FTSE 100 rallies as building shares rise

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Wall Street jumps on open

    Wall Street traders

    Wall Street shares have jumped on open, due to positive December manufacturing data, as well as hopes that the US-China trade war will soon dissipate.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 304.3 points or 1.3% higher to 24,511.42. Top of the winners is chemical firm DowDuPont, rising 1.9% to $58.12. Yesterday the firm's agriculture division Corteva Agriscience announced plans to launch its soybean technology system in the US, Canada and Brazil this year.

    The S&P 500 is 20 points or 0.8% up to 2,635.96, led by clothing retailer VF, which has soared 13.4% to $83.10 after strong earnings results.

    And finally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 28.8 points or 0.4% ahead to 7,113.24. JB Hunt Transportation Services is top of the index, up 6% to $106, after reporting a rise in revenues.

  2. Twitter warns that private tweets were public for years

    Facebook

    Private tweets sent by users of Twitter's Android app could have been exposed publicly for years.

    Twitter said it had discovereda security flaw which meant "protected" tweets became public when some changes were made to accounts.

    Anyone who updated the email address linked to their account between November 2014 and January 2019 could have had messages exposed, it said.

    Twitter said it had started to let affected users know about the bug.

    Read more here

  3. Good afternoon

    Protesters gather outside Google's London office to demand the company stop developing a censored search engine for China

    Thanks Dearbail and Ben for this morning's live coverage of all things business.

    Today, human rights protesters have been gathering outside Google's London offices in King's Cross to demand the company stop developing a censored search engine called Project Dragonfly for China.

    Got a point of view? You can tweet me at @concertina226 and @BBCBusiness.

  4. Carillion made £205m from unfinished hospital

    Carillion crane

    Failed construction firm Carllion earned £205m for completing just 10% of the Midland Metropolitan hospital in Smethwick, reports Huffpost.

    That is more than 40% of the £350m earmarked for the project.

    Delays means the project will cost much more than that.

    The hospital is not expected to open until 2022, four years later than planned.

    The figures emerged from a response to a written parliamentary question.

    Carillion collapsed a year ago after running up hefty debts and losing money on big contracts.

  5. Amazon issues no-deal Brexit advice to UK retailers

    Amazon packages

    British businesses trading on Amazon have been advised to take steps in preparation for a no deal Brexit to ensure they can continue selling to customers in the EU.

    The online retail giant has informed UK sellers no deal "may temporarily prevent cross-border trade."

    Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, with or without a deal.

    Amazon said sellers should now consider sending stock to its European "fulfilment centres", or warehouses.

    Read more here

  6. Analysis: Is time running out for Tesla?

    Theo Leggett

    BBC Business News Reporter

    Tesla electric car and charging points

    Tesla is in a race against time.

    It is already well established as a niche producer of upmarket electric vehicles. But that isn't where the company sees its future.

    Electric cars at the moment are, in many ways, a lifestyle choice. But in future, ever tighter emissions regulations and restrictions on "regular" cars are expected to drive them into the mainstream.

    It's potentially a huge market - and Tesla is targeting a significant share. That's the rationale behind its brand new Model 3, billed as an "affordable" electric car.

    But the Model 3 isn't actually that affordable yet. The cheapest versions have yet to go on sale. And it needs to make a lot more of them, in order to benefit from economise of scale.

    Meanwhile, established manufacturers will soon be flooding the market with brand new EVs of their own.

    Last year, the priority for Tesla was simply to boost production as quickly as possible, to meet ambitious targets. It took on a lot of new employees to make that happen.

    Now, it needs to make even more cars, more cheaply - and it will have to do so with fewer staff. That certainly won't be easy, but according to Elon Musk, "there isn't any other way".

  7. Builders continue to power FTSE 100 higher

    ftse 100

    The FTSE 100 continues to climb, now up 1.5% at 6,940.

    Builders are still the big winners, with Barratt, Pesimmon both up more than 3%.

    The broader FTSE 250 is up 0.7%,

  8. Tiffany's Christmas sales lose sparkle

    Tiffany store

    New York based jeweller Tiffany has reported a fall in worldwide sales over the Christmas period.

    For the two months to 31 December like-for-like sales fell 2%. The biggest drop was seen in Europe were sales fell 4%.

    It is also warning that earnings will be at the lower end of its previous estimate.

    The company blamed lower sales to Chinese tourists and weaker demand in the US and Europe.

  9. Buyers line up for chocolate business

    Godiva chocolate shop

    Who wouldn't want to own a chocolate business?

    Well if you've got $1.5bn to spare then you could buy the Godiva business in Asia and the Pacific.

    The Japanese unit alone has annual sales of $350m.

    According to Bloomberg you would be up against Baring Private Equity and CVC Capital Partners, who are among the potential buyers.

    Godiva is owned by Yildiz Holdings, which also owns British biscuit maker McVitie's.

    Yildiz has asked for final offers to be submitted in the next few weeks.

  10. Fund manager gloomy over investment industry

    City of London

    What is the stock market for?

    It was supposed to be a place where companies could raise money for investment and where investors would be rewarded for their support.

    But some fund managers argue that it is no longer fulfilling that role.

    “Most investing is no longer about making long-term risks in definable investment projects," says Stuart Dunbar of Baillie Gifford in the Evening Standard newspaper.

    "It is more about free riding on the mythical ‘market return’ at minimum cost; participating in an expensive zero-sum arms race of better, faster, smarter analysis of markets with the actual companies nowhere in sight; shuffling risks around through financial engineering disguised as value creation; and about confounding and confusing on costs which are often not justified by managers who have lost sight of their core purpose.”

  11. Internet retailers suffer in December

    Christmas shopping

    Rachel Lund, head of retail insights and analytics at the British Retail Consortium, says that the most striking aspect of shopping figures for December is "the weakness of non-food, where it was only an apparent strong performance from small stores that pulled year on year growth into positive territory as larger stores saw sales sink".

    She adds: "Even large internet retailers did not emerge unscathed, as year-on-year growth in value terms sank to 4.3%, its lowest rate of growth in more than eight years."

  12. Analysis: Gloomy from all angles

    Dharshini David

    Economics Correspondent

    Shoppers on the High Street

    Official retail sales figures from the ONS confirm that the pace of spending growth has slowed.

    Retail sales volumes were down 0.9% in December versus November (when there was a 1.3% rise in sales) on a seasonally adjusted basis.

    This was actually not as bad a drop as many economists had feared – but still means the sales growth has lost momentum compared to earlier in the year, with sales declining 0.2% in the last three months as a whole. Food sales fared better than non-food sales, which dropped 2.3% on the month.

    There has been a lot of unease among analysts etc about whether the ONS’ seasonal adjustment process has kept up with changing Christmas shopping habits, with the increasing popularity of Black Friday – which would explain the monthly volatility in these numbers.

    The survey period used means the December figures include 25 November - which was Cyber Monday - but not Black Friday. Taking November and December together, sales were up by a subdued 0.3% .

    The best guide to the health of spending is the three month rate which shows that sales have stagnated – and the annual rate, which at 2.7% is a far cry from the 4.6% achieved in 2016.

  13. 'Tough start' for retailers

    Shopping bags

    December's month-on-month fall in retail sales (0.9%) was the biggest since May 2017 (1.3%).

    But Samuel Tombs from Pantheon Macroeconomics says the ONS has not caught up with the effect of Black Friday sales.

    "The sharp fall in retail sales in December, largely reflects the seasonal adjustment process failing to update fully for the new pattern of spending generated by Black Friday.

    Neverthless, it is a tough time for retailers.

    "Looking through the volatility, however, it’s clear that retailers have had a tough start to the year.

    "It suggests that consumers have tightened their purse strings amid rising concerns about Brexit.

    But Mr Tombs says retail sales could pick up later in the year.

  14. Tough year ahead for Tesla

    Tesla factory

    Elon Musk has painted a picture of a tough year ahead for Tesla.

    He says that at the beginning of the year, Tesla will sell its higher priced Model 3 vehicle in Europe and Asia which "will hopefully allow us, with great difficulty, effort and some luck, to target a tiny profit".

    But he said the company needs to make a lower priced Model 3 "as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles".

    Mr Musk said that at the moment, Tesla's most affordable Model 3 vehicle is $44,000 (£34,000).

    He adds: "The need for a lower priced variants of Model 3 becomes even greater on 1 July when the US tax credit again drops in half, making our car $1,875 more expensive and again at the end of the year when it goes away entirely."

  15. Tesla 'still too expensive for most people'

    Elon Musk

    In his email to Tesla's workers, outlining the need for job cuts Elon Musk says that while its electric vehicles "have made great progress" in competing with cars run on traditional fossil fuels, "our products are still too expensive for most people".

    He says that while Tesla made a profit in the third quarter, this was because it sold higher priced Model 3 cars and income dipped in the final three months of the year.

  16. BreakingTesla to cut 7% of workforce

    Tesla Model 3

    Tesla, the electric carmaker headed by Elon Musk, plans to cut 7% of its workforce as it hope to increase production of its Model 3 vehicle.

    In an email to staff, Mr Musk said: “Last year was the most challenging in Tesla’s history.”

    He said: "We unfortunately have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7% (we grew by 30% last year, which is more than we can support) and retain only the most critical temps and contractors.

    "Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months."