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Live Reporting

By Lucy Hooker

All times stated are UK

  1. When should students pay off their loans?

    Students

    The average student takes on £50,000 of student loans.

    But should they pay the money off as quickly as possible, or just pay the minimum for 30 years (after which any unpaid interest is wiped out)?

    Experts at AJ Bell have been crunching the numbers.

    If your starting salary is £27,500, then after 30 years you will have paid a little over £50,000 and all the interest accrued (£150,126) would be wiped out.

    However, if you start on £45,000, after 30 years you would have paid £125,180 in repayments.

    So in the second case it would, if possible, make sense to pay off that loan as soon as possible.

  2. Oil prices push higher

    North Sea Brent Crude Chart

    North Sea Brent Crude is up 51 cents this morning at $65.58 per barrel.

    Prices have been helped by a report showing Opec cut output in February. A Reuters survey showed in particular that Saudi Arabia curbed production last month.

    Meanwhile reports that the US and China are making progress towards a deal to solve their trade dispute helped boost prices.

  3. Anglo boss sees pay package double

    Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of multinational mining company Anglo American

    The chief executive of mining giant Anglo American, Mark Cutifani, received pay and other benefits worth £14.7m last year.

    That is double the £7.2m he made in 2017.

    Last year Mr Cutifani benefited from a share award worth almost £11m.

    In its annual report the company notes that Mr Cutfani's pay award was "higher than usual" last year. It attributed that to significant share price growth that affected shares in 2016.

    There's more on page 112 of the company's 2018 annual report.

  4. Sports Direct looks to buy Findel

    Mike Ashley and Sports Direct sign

    Mike Ashley's Sports Direct International Plc said has offered to buy Findel Plc in a deal that values the online retail and education business at £139.2m.

    Sports Direct is currently Findel's largest shareholder, and has offered to buy the remaining shares it does not already hold for 161 pence per share, a one-pence discount to Findel's close on Friday.

    Findel shares were up 8.6% to 176 pence after the announcement.

  5. Jobs at risk at Giraffe and Ed's Easy Diner

    Giraffe cafe

    The owner of chains Giraffe and Ed's Easy Diner has said it plans to close 27 of its 87 restaurants, as part of a CVA.

    The move by Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) puts hundreds of jobs at risk.

    Advisers from KPMG will oversee the CVA process, as the proposal now goes to a creditor vote.

    BRG owns a number of other household names, including fish and chip restaurant Harry Ramsden and the upmarket Cinnamon Collection.

  6. Ted Baker protected by 'low-key' branding

    Ted Baker website

    "As founder, chief executive and largest shareholder, Ray Kelvin was crucial to building Ted Baker up from a single shirt shop in Glasgow into a £1bn+ global company," writes equity analyst George Salmon at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown.

    "However, a rocky few months has seen that premium market value disappear. The allegations around the CEO have of course played a part, but a profit warning at the back end of February shows it’s not just the company’s former CEO under pressure, the financials are too.

    “Still, Ted’s logo isn’t typically front and centre of the design, unlike at rivals like Superdry and Abercrombie & Fitch.

    "That should provide some protection, while last week’s profit warning was driven by genuine one-offs rather than declining sales trends, which actually look reasonably good."

  7. Struggling towns to get £1.6bn post-Brexit boost

    Northern town

    A £1.6bn fund is being launched by the government to boost less well-off towns after Brexit.

    Prime Minister Theresa May said: "For too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread... but we want it to work for all communities."

    More than half of the money will go to the north of England and the Midlands to bring jobs and stimulate growth.

    Labour says it is a bribe to influence MPs in Leave-supporting areas to back Mrs May's Brexit deal.

  8. Construction hit by 'Brexit anxiety'

    “The UK construction sector moved into decline during February as Brexit anxiety intensified and clients opted to delay decision-making on building projects," said Tim Moore, from IHS Markit, which puts together the PMI index.

    “There were also reports that the more fragile housing market confidence has begun to act as a brake on residential work, which adds to signs that house building has lost momentum since the end of last year.

    "This leaves the construction sector increasingly reliant on large-scale infrastructure projects for growth over the year ahead."

  9. BreakingUK construction sector contracts in February

    Construction cranes

    Activity in the UK construction sector contracted for the first time in almost a year last month.

    It came as Brexit uncertainty and a slow housing market delayed new building projects.

    The IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 49.5 in February from January's reading of 50.6, and below economists' predicted 50.5 figure.

    It the first time the index has been below the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction since icy weather in March 2018.

    The last time the reading was below 50 for reasons unrelated to the weather was in September 2017.

  10. Teacher status higher than thought

    Hands up in classroom

    This is an interesting piece in the Financial Times by Lucy Kellaway.

    Ms Kellaway was an FT columnist, but retrained as a teacher.

    She is also the co-founder of Now Teach, a charity which encourages professionals to retrain as teachers.

    Some professionals considering the switch are worried about the lowly status of teachers in society, compared with other professions, she writes.

    But Ms Kellaway thinks that concern is misplaced. Most participants in here scheme have actually found their status and sense of self-worth actually improved.

    The story is unfortunately behind the FT's paywall.

  11. 'Strong team' at Ted Baker

    Ted Baker store

    "It is disappointing to see a founder leave the business and brand that he founded," say analysts at stockbrokers Liberum.

    "However, Ray Kelvin leaves Ted Baker with a strong team and culture. The brand has grown steadily from its origins since 1988 and the team at Ted Baker is one of longevity.

    "Ray’s decision to resign will see the business move forward under new leadership but we are encouraged that the Board has acted in a positive manner and will be providing additional support to the executive team."

  12. Ryanair passenger numbers jump in February

    Ryanair planes

    Ryanair says it has seen a strong rise in its total February customer traffic, compared with the same period in 2018.

    It says total passenger numbers, including those at Lauda Air - where it owns a majority stake, were up 13% to 9.6m customers.

    Stripping out the effects of the Austrian subsidiary, Ryanair's passenger numbers were up 9% at 9.3m.

    Ryanair said operated more than 53,000 scheduled flights in February.

    In January Ryanair cut its profit forecast blaming lower-than-expected air fares.

    The airline's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, said at the time Ryanair could not rule out having to cut fares further.

  13. FTSE 100 up; Aviva up; DMGT up; Ted Baker down

    The FTSE 100 has started the week with decent gains, up 0.3% at 7,127.

    Aviva is up almost 2% after it named its new chief executive.

    Daily Mail and General Trust is almost 5% higher after it announced that shareholders would receive shares in Euromoney, plus £200m.

    Ted Baker is down almost 4% after founder Ray Kelvin resigned as chief executive.

  14. Chinese shares rise

    People sit in front of stock boards in China

    It's been a strong session for most markets in Asia. China's Shanghai Composite added 1.1% to end at 3,027.58 points and Japan's Nikkei 225 index put on 1% to close at 21,822.04.

    South Korea's Kospi index bucked the upbeat trend, shedding 0.2% to close at 2,190.66.

  15. Daily Mail to return Euromoney stake to shareholders

    Daily Mail offices

    The owner of the DailyMail plans to return all of its shares in Euromoney Institutional Investor and £200m to eligible shareholders.

    Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) holds more than 49% of Euromoney, which provides business-to-business information.

    It is also its largest shareholder and founding investor.

    It says fully participating shareholders will be all holders of A Shares (other than Rothermere Affiliated Shareholders) and the DMGT Employee Benefit Trust.

    DMGT chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said: "In total, the distributions will result in almost £900m of assets being returned to shareholders, who will benefit from direct ownership of Euromoney while retaining exposure to a simplified DMGT group."

  16. Aviva names new chief executive

    Maurice Tulloch, chief executive Aviva

    One of the UK's biggest insurance companies, Aviva has appointed a new chief executive.

    Maurice Tulloch, who has been at the firm since 1992, takes over from Mark Wilson.

    Mr Tulloch will receive a base salary of £975,000 a year and will be eligible for an annual bonus worth twice as much as that.

    Two thirds of that bonus will have to be held as shares and would be paid to him over three years.

  17. 888 buys sport betting site BetBright

    Everton v Liverpool in EPL

    Online gambling giant 888 says it bought rival BetBright's sport betting platform for £15m.

    In a statement 888 said: "The acquisition strengthens 888's product and technology capabilities and will support the long-term development strategy for 888Sport."

    It said the deal would also "enhance the group's long-term prospects in the global sports betting market".

    As well as sports betting, 888 also provides online poker, casino and bingo gambling.

    As part of the acquisition, BetBright's Dublin team will be integrated into the 888 group.

  18. Ghosn's lawyer to pursue 'new strategy'

    Carlos Ghosn

    The lawyer for ex-Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn said his team will push forward with a fresh strategy in his defence against allegations of financial misconduct, Reuters reported.

    Junichiro Hironaka - nicknamed "the Razor" - said his team wouldn't be constrained by the strategy undertaken by his previous legal team. Mr Hironaka took over as his chief defence lawyer last month.

    Mr Ghosn has been in detention in Tokyo for more than three months.

    Read more on Japan's 'hostage justice system'

  19. BreakingMotor dealers 'overcharging' some customers

    Some car dealers are ripping off customers who are buying cars on finance deals, the Financial Conduct Authority has found.

    Too obtain bigger commissions for themselves, some dealers were overcharging customers for interest, the FCA said.

    Altogether it could be costing customers £300m a year.

    "The FCA will follow up with individual firms where failures were identified but expects all firms, both lenders and brokers, to review their policies, procedures and controls to ensure they are complying with all relevant regulatory requirements and are treating customers fairly."