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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Tech stocks weigh on Wall Street
  3. Shares in Barbie-maker Mattel soar
  4. SSE warns on profits
  5. Japan's stock market falls
  6. Nationwide building society profits slump
  7. Tata Motors shares fall
  8. Olaf Scholz: Germany ready for hard Brexit

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

  1. EU agrees tighter rules on controversial pipeline

    European Union nations backed a plan to regulate Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline on Friday, a move that will likely slow, but not stop, its construction.

    The long-stalled agreement comes after a last-ditch German and French push to amend the draft and give Berlin a greater say in how to ensure the pipeline to carry Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea complies with EU law.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the vote as an example of Berlin's close ties with Paris after the two countries, which both have firms invested in the project, were publicly at odds ahead of the EU meeting.

    Nord Stream 2 has divided the EU, with critics saying it increases countries' reliance on Russian energy.

    Nord Stream route
  2. F1 broadcaster bails out

    Qatar-based BeIN Sports says it had decided not to renew a contract for the rights to broadcast Formula One in the Middle East and North Africa, areas where F1-owner Liberty Media is trying to attract more interest.

    The previous five-year deal expired at the end of last season. The 21-race 2019 world championship starts in Australia on 17 March.

  3. Stakebuilding in Metro Bank

    Metro Bank chairman and founder Vernon Hill with his dog Duffy
    Image caption: Metro Bank chairman and founder Vernon Hill with his dog Duffy

    US hedge fund Hound Partners has disclosed a 5.05% stake in the UK's Metro Bank.

    The stake would make the investor Metro's sixth biggest shareholder, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

    Metro Bank last month announced a sharp rise in exposure to higher-risk mortgages and said profits would be hit by slowing growth, raising fears of a shareholder cash call.

  4. FTSE falls

    The FTSE 100 has closed 0.3% down at 7,071 points. A tentative recovery earlier in the trading session faded in the afternoon.

    The biggest faller was engineer Melrose, which lost 5%. Ocado, which had two days of heavy falls after a warehouse fire, added 3.5%.

    The FTSE 250 closed down almost 0.8% at 18,652.8.

  5. Former bank and its vault sold

    view of the building

    From the outside it looks just like any other disused bank branch.

    But the former NatWest branch on Fore Street in Chard, Somerset, has a vault that is even bigger than the three visible storeys of the building.

    Rumour has it the vault was used to store documents, banknotes and even the Crown jewels during the Second World War.

    It has now sold for £211,0000.

    Graham Barton, from property auctioneers Clive Emson, said: "This property has attracted an incredible amount of interest with the huge and deep underground vaults showing how in the past we dealt with a threat from the Continent to our economy and things we hold dear. Somewhat ironic right now, when you think about it".

  6. Grenfell Tower firm to split

    Grenfell Tower

    A company that supplied cladding used on Grenfell Tower is to split into two, just weeks after it rejected a takeover offer.

    US-based Arconic said on Friday that it would spin off one of its core divisions.

    Arconic had been under pressure from shareholders to restructure the business. An offer last month from Apollo Management would have valued the business at about $17bn.

    However, any restructuring has been complicated by the risk of legal liabilities following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London.

    Arconic did not specify which division it intends to spin off and when, but said it will consider the sale of businesses that do not fit into either of the divisions.

  7. Mattel shares soar


    Mattel's surprise fourth-quarter profit has ignited shares in the toymaker. The price opened up 25% as investors cheered cost-cutting efforts and strong sales for Barbie and Hot Wheels toys.

    There was less joy for rival Hasbro. It missed estimates for quarterly profit as the absence of a major Disney movie release compounded its struggles to recover sales lost from the collapse of retailer Toys "R" Us, sending its shares down 4%.

  8. Wall Street falls

    It looks like Wall Street could be ending the week on a gloomy note. US shares have fallen at the open, with technology stocks leading losses.

    Scepticism that a US-China deal would be reached before the 1 March deadline has also hit sentiment.

    The Dow Jones has fallen 0.5% at 25,042.3 points, while the S&P 500 has also opened 0.5% lower at 2,692.3.

    The Nasdaq lost 0.8% at 7,232.3.

  9. 'Project After'

    notes and coins

    What is the government planning for the economy if there is a no-deal Brexit?

    According to the Financial Times there is a plan: "Project After".

    It is being drawn up by Mark Sedwill, cabinet secretary and the FT says some ideas are radical - such as slashing tariffs and cutting taxes - others more conventional, such as supply-side reform and export support.

    It quotes what it describes as a Whitehall figure: "It's basically a Doomsday list of economic levers we could pull if the economy is about to tank. Sedwill has been working on it since the summer."

  10. FCA asking for 'daily updates' on property funds

    windows on in building

    Property funds made the headlines after the EU referendum when major finance firms had to suspend trading in their commercial property funds because investors were rushing to withdraw their funds.

    This makes life tough for property funds as they cannot quickly sell properties to help fund redemptions,

    The Financial Times is reporting that the Financial Conduct Authority is asking for daily updates from funds after investors started withdrawing their funds again. It cites data from Morningstar which shows £315m was withdrawn in December - comparable to the volume of redemptions in each of the two months following the referendum.

  11. Goodyear sales slip

    goodyear logo

    The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company had reported a 5% fall in fourth quarter sales to $3.9bn (£3bn).

    On an adjusted basis - the measure watched by analysts - net income was $120m ($0.51 per share) compared to $245m ($0.99 per share) in 2017.

    For the whole of 2018 sales were $15.5 billion, up 1%.

    The results are lower than Wall Street's expectations.

  12. Thomas Cook tumbles

    Thomas Cook plane

    Thomas Cook's shares have taken a tumble.

    They are off more than 16%.

    Investors are digesting Thursday's announcement by the travel company in which it said it was conducting a "strategic review" of its airline. The company's fleet of 103 jets is a mix of planes it owns and leases.

    The news had initially given the shares a boost.

  13. Dam fears

    A car being swept along in a torrent mud
    Image caption: The breaking of the Feijão dam, in the town of Brumadinho, last month drove a torrent of mud downriver sweeping all before it

    Areas around two dams in Brazil have been evacuated.

    Brazilian company Vale has evacuated around 500 people from a dam area in the Gongo Soco mine in the state of Minas Gerais as a preventive measure.

    Residents of an area close to an Arcelor Mittal dam, also in Minas Gerais, have also been evacuated.

    Last month, a Vale dam collapsed and left hundreds of people dead and missing in the town of Brumadinho.

  14. Compass protest

    compass logo

    There has been a protest vote over the number of boardroom seats held by a director at Compass.

    The contract food company has revealed that 22% of investors at its annual meeting voted against the re-election of Ireena Vittal to its board.

    According to the company's website, she is a former partner at management consultants McKinsey and also a director of Godrej Consumer Products, Wipro, Indian Hotels Company, Titan and Cipla Limited.

    The company acknowledged the scale of the vote against her. It said: "Over the last 12 months Mrs Vittal has reduced the number of non-executive roles held and the Board believes that she continues to discharge her role at Compass Group plc effectively. However, the board takes seriously the results of the AGM and will engage with shareholders to understand and discuss their concerns regarding over-boarding".

  15. FTSE 100 heads lower

    damage to ocado warehouse

    The FTSE 100 is now in negative territory, down 15 points at 7,078.64.

    Melrose, the engineering company, is leading the fallers, down more than 5%. Tui, the travel company hit by yesterday's profits warning, is also lower.

    Centrica - down nearly 3% - is also among the biggest fallers after its rival SSE cut its profits forecast and Citigroup downgraded its rating on the stock.

    Ocado is now leading the risers, up 2%, after it was punished by investors for the fire in its Andover warehouse, which has now been extinguished.

    As mentioned earlier, house builders are also higher.

  16. Sir Philip 'threatened to bankrupt' the Telegraph

    Unsurprisingly, The Telegraph has plenty of coverage of its dispute with Sir Philip Green.

    It says Sir Philip threatened to bankrupt the newspaper and made a series of "aggressive and expletive-ridden phone calls".

    The Telegraph also says that Sir Philip has been ordered to pay the bulk of the Telegraph's costs.

    Chris Evans the Editor of The Telegraph said: "Sir Philip has described the allegations against him as no more than banter. If that’s so, he should release his accusers from their NDAs and allow them to speak freely."

  17. Telegraph had 'vendetta' against Green

    Sir Philip Green

    Sir Philip Green's legal action against the Daily Telegraph has been formally ended by a High Court judge.

    This is part of a statement from Sir Philip Green and the board of Aracadia:

    "The Telegraph has pursued a vendetta against Sir Philip Green and the employees and management of Arcadia Group for the past nine months, harassing many of its staff and their families in their homes, often at night and at weekends.

    "The Telegraph and its owners must now decide whether to do the decent thing and respect the NDAs (non-disclosure agreements).

    "If not they will expose their sources to potential further legal actions and significant losses. Their fate is now in the Telegraph's hands."

  18. Hasbro sales continue to fall

    Monopoly game

    Hasbro continues to struggle with the collapse of Toys R Us. Sales in the final quarter of last year fell 13% to $1.39bn.

    “2018 was a very disruptive year, driven by the bankruptcy and liquidation of Toys“R”Us across most of the world and a rapidly shifting consumer and retail landscape,” said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s chairman and chief executive.

    Hasbro products include Nerf guns, Transformers toys and Monopoly boards.

    Toys R Us was one of its most important retailers.

    The US parent company filed for bankruptcy in September of 2017.

    100 Toys R Us stores in the UK closed last year.