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Live Reporting

Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for tuning in

    Thanks for reading Business Live today. We're closing early but will be back at 6am sharp tomorrow.

  2. Michel Temer: Brazil ex-president arrested in corruption probe

    Michel Temer

    Former Brazilian President Michel Temer has been arrested in São Paulo as part of a massive corruption investigation.

    Mr Temer, a 78-year-old lawyer who served as president from 2016 to 2018, is being investigated in several cases.

    He has consistently denied any wrongdoing. His arrest was considered imminent after he lost his legal protection when he left office.

    Many politicians and business leaders have been convicted or charged as part of the so-called Operation Car Wash.

    Read more

  3. Boeing, FAA under scrutiny over Boeing 737 Max's

    A Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 enroute from Tampa prepares to land at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on March 11, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    A US Senate committee plans to hold a hearing on the US Federal Aviation Administration's certification of the Boeing 737 Max on March 27, Reuters has reported.

    It also plans to call Boeing and other aviation manufacturers to testify at a future hearing, the report said.

    Separately, The Seattle Times has reported that the FBI has joined a criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 Max.

    Two crashes involving Boeing's 737 Max 8 in five months prompted several countries to suspend the plane from flying and saw Boeing ground all of its 737 Max fleet earlier this month.

  4. FTSE 100 closes higher

    The London market has closed higher thanks to a strong performance from the mining, energy, consumer and healthcare sectors.

    The index ended Thursday up 0.9% - or 64.30 points - at 7,355.31.

  5. Macron hints at cost of lengthy extension

    French President Emanuel Macron has warned British MPs to back Theresa May's withdrawal deal or face a no deal Brexit. However, he hasn't ruled out offering the UK a much longer extension if the deal is voted down again, as long as there is a "deep political change". But what might that mean?

    View more on twitter
  6. Pound under pressure

    Pound coins

    The pound is down again today - falling 1% against the dollar and 0.4% against the euro - and it is not just because of Brexit.

    The other big factor is a bounce-back in the dollar. The greenback has recouped some of the ground it lost yesterday on the back of the Federal Reserve’s update. The US central bank said it would hold interest rates steady until at least the end of 2019 - bad news for currency investors.

  7. Merlin shares slide

    irates welcome the visitors at the pirates part of Legoland in Billund

    Analysts at Berenberg have cut their rating on Merlin Entertainments to "sell" from "hold", saying its adjusted profits - as measured by earnings per shares - could fall as much as 20%.

    Shares in the company - which runs the Legoland theme parks, Alton Towers, Sealife and Madame Tussauds - are down almost 6%.

  8. What's driving US markets?

    Traders

    US stocks are firmly in the green now, with the main indexes up between 0.6% and 1%.

    Technology shares are driving the gains and offsetting falls in financial companies, who are concerned about the Fed's decision to hold interest rates steady until at least the end of 2019.

    The S&P technology index rose 1.7% thanks in large part to Apple - which is up 3.2% after analysts said they expected the company's new video service to boost future earnings.

    Shares in Levi's, which began trading today, have surged some 35%, indicating great demand for the firm's stock.

  9. First Russia-China rail bridge completed

    Construction crews have joined the first-ever railway bridge connecting Russia and China.

    The two thousand meter-long bridge stretches across the Heilongjiang, or Amur, River, linking Russia's far eastern Jewish Autonomous Region with northeastern China.

    The railway tracks have not yet been completed on the bridge, which is expected to open formally in July.

    Chinese officials say the bridge is part of the ambitious belt and road project to create new global trade routes. They say it will drive trade between the two countries by linking China's northeastern railway to Russia's Siberian rail system.

  10. Another bank facing pension row?

    Standard Chartered logo

    Pensions for boardroom executives have been in focus of late at banking groups HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group.

    As we mentioned earlier, the Times is reporting that Standard Chartered is also facing concerns from investors about the pension arrangements for its chief executive Bill Winters.

    Mirza Berg, global head of governance at Aviva Investors, says pension will be a "hot button topic topic" at this year's annual general meeting season.

    Standard Chartered is quoted as saying that the pensions policy had been drawn up in consultation with shareholders.

  11. US markets tick up

    After opening lower, the main US indexes are now in positive territory.

    A short while ago the Dow Jones was up 0.3% at 25,816.64 points while the broader-based S&P 500 had gained 0.4% to 2,834.780.

    The tech-heavy Nasdaq index was up 0.6% at 7,773.23 points.

  12. Huawei ban 'would hit UK 5G roll-out'

    Rory Cellan-Jones

    Technology correspondent

    Man on phone

    The Chief Executive of the mobile operator Three has told the BBC that the roll-out of 5G networks will be delayed if the government bans the use of Huawei equipment.

    A government review of telecoms infrastructure is nearing completion amid pressure from the United States for the UK to follow Australia and New Zealand in barring the Chinese giant from any involvement in 5G networks.

    Three’s David Dyson said that Huawei equipment was part of his company’s plan for 5G: “We've already started to deploy equipment for when we launch 5G in the second half of the year. So if we had to change vendor now, we would take a big step backwards and probably cause a delay of 12 to 18 months.”

    Mr Dyson said Huawei was just one of its suppliers but stressed that Three had consulted the government about security issues and was confident that the Chinese firm did not pose a threat to its customers.

    “Huawei met all of the standards that the other operators met, and we felt at the end of that process that Huawei was the right choice for our customers and for our business,” he said.

    He also warned that a ban would pose a risk to the UK’s 5G ambitions: “It is seen as an important element in terms of how the UK economy does develop over the next five to 10 years. So I think any sense that there is a delay to the start of rolling out 5G will have implications for the broader economic environment in the UK.”

  13. Traders in double denim for Levi's IPO

    Traders at the New York stock Exchange have been celebrating Levis' return to the stock market by donning their favourite Levi's denim.

    Trading kicked off on Wednesday after a 34-year absence, with the US firm boasting a market valuation of about $6.6bn.

    The offering will raise $623m for the San Francisco-based inventor of blue jeans.

    View more on twitter
  14. Alzheimer's drug trials halted

    Workers in white overalls in the manufacturing room of Biogen

    Pharmaceutical company Biogen and Japan's Eisai have announced they are ending phase three trials on an Alzheimer's drug.

    "This disappointing news confirms the complexity of treating Alzheimer's disease and the need to further advance knowledge in neuroscience," said Michel Vounatsos, Biogen's chief executive.

    "We are incredibly grateful to all the Alzheimer’s disease patients, their families and the investigators who participated in the trials and contributed greatly to this research."

    Biogen's shares are down 27%.

  15. Wall Street starts lower

    wall street sign

    Wall Street is starting the day lower.

    The Dow Jones is off 57.23 points at 25,688.44.

    The S&P 500 opened has slipped 4.51 points to 2,819.72.

    Nasdaq is down 23.54 points at 7,705.43.

    That's after the US Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it did not expect to raise interest rates for the rest of 2019 amid slower economic growth.

  16. CVA for Ed's Easy Diner

    Business reporter on The Times

    View more on twitter

    Earlier this month the owner of Giraffe and Ed's Easy Diner -Boparan Restaurant Group - said it needed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) and would close almost a third of the 87 restaurants. Read that story here.

  17. 'Relatively terse' minutes

    Bank of England

    Back to the Bank of England.

    Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Economics, says the minutes of the latest meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting are "relatively terse".

    "The Committee doesn't want to provide any hostages to fortune in the current uncertain political climate," he said.

    He expects rates to rise to 1% (from 0.75%) in the second half of the year.

    "The exact timing will depend on how long Brexit talks roll on. While markets must attach some weight to the likelihood that rates would be cut in a no-deal scenario, the 20% chance of a 2019 rate hike currently priced-in looks too low," he said.