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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Slack plans to float shares on stock market
  3. Uber plans to sell shares at $44-$50 to value the company at $90bn
  4. US economy grows at annual rate of 3.2% in Q1
  5. RBS shares fall as bank reports profit fall
  6. Debenhams names 22 store closures
  7. SAS pilots strike grounding 673 flights

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Wall Street opens slightly lower

    Wall street traders

    Wall Street shares opened slightly lower again, following a mixed set of earnings results from US firms, while latest data showed the US economy grew by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019 due to temporary factors.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 50.7 points or 0.2% lower to 26,411.41. Top of the losers is Intel, which dropped 8.7% to $52.63 after slashing its profit and revenue forecasts on Thursday due to weaker demand for cloud computing amid the US-China trade war.

    The S&P 500 is 5.8 points or 0.2% down to 2,919.94. Intel heads the losers, followed by Intuit, which dropped 9.1% to $239.75. On Thursday, Intuit said a strong US tax season meant it was likely to see full-year revenues grow by 10% - the top end of its previous guidance.

    And finally, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is 46.4 points or 0.6% lower to 8,070.29. Top of the losers is Intuit, followed by Intel, with Nvidia in third, sliding 5.7% to $176.23.

    Yesterday, reports suggested that Nvidia is working on a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop-tablet device that could also be used for gaming.

  2. How has the US economy grown over the last 3 years?

    BBC graph on US economic growth
  3. Headline strength masks big concerns

    Shipping containers at a port

    Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, says there are still plenty of reasons for concern, despite figures showing the US economy grew by 3.2%.

    He says that the strength seen in the first quarter of 2019 was principally due to three elements – net exports, an acceleration in inventory building and government spending.

    Net exports added 1% to overall GDP growth, as exports increased by 3.7% annualised and imports contracted by 3.7%. Accelerating inventory building added 0.7% to the economy, and a surge in government investment in highways and roads led to a 3.9% gain.

    "The upshot is that, stripping out trade and inventories, final sales to domestic purchasers increased by only 1.4%, which is the smallest gain in more than three years. That is a much better guide to the underlying strength of the economy," said Mr Ashworth.

    "So taking out the over-sized boosts from net trade, inventories and highways investment, which will all be reversed in the coming quarters, growth was only around 1.0%.

    "Under those circumstances, we continue to expect that overall growth will slow this year, forcing the Fed to begin cutting interest rates before year-end."

  4. Slack applies to float shares

    Slack sign

    Cloud team collaboration software firm Slack has confidentially applied to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to list shares publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, according to its filing.

    Slack will be listed on the stock exchange under the ticker symbol SK at some point in either May or June.

    Slack is the latest Silicon Valley technology firm to float its shares.

    Its workplace messaging tool is popular and it was most recently valued at over $7bn by venture capitalists.

    The valuation caused speculation that Slack could receive an acquisition offer soon.

  5. Good afternoon

    Middle Eastern art on display at Sotherby's

    Thanks Lucy and Joe for this morning's live coverage of all things business.

    Mary-Ann Russon with you until 21:30 for the rest of the day's news and views.

    Today, a rare and important Iznik "Golden Horn" pottery dish from Turkey, circa 1530 (est. £300,000 - 500,000) and a portrait of Suleyman the Magnificent of Gentile Bellini, Italy, circa 1520 (est. £250,000 - 350,000) are on display at Sotheby's Middle Eastern Art Week Preview.

    The artwork will be sold as part of The Orientalist Sale on Tuesday 30 April.

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

  6. BreakingUS GDP grows by 3.2%

    The preliminary estimate of GDP for the first quarter of 2019 is in.

    The US economy grew by 3.2%, a much larger figure than the 2.5% expected

    The data is often subject to revision, but it will influence investor sentiment.

    Stand by for a tweet from Mr Trump.

  7. Will Debenhams landlords fight back?

    Rob Young

    Business presenter

    "The plan to shut 22 stores and reduce the rent bill on dozens more is likely to prove contentious.

    "Many of those stores could see reductions of 50% -- that will be extremely painful for landlords.

    "They are being asked to back the move. But we can expect many of them to come out fighting. After a series of these restructurings on the high street, commercial landlords have had enough.

    "The use of so-called company voluntary arrangements is increasingly controversial.

    "Landlords argue other creditors do not take their fair share of the pain. Three-quarters of the retailer’s creditors will have to approve the plan.

    "People close to the process say it’s by no means a done deal."

  8. Adventure firm seeks CVAs

    Snow and rock

    Hot on the heels of Debenhams' announcement, Outdoor & Cycle Concepts says it is “to close loss-making stores and protect the long-term future of the business”.

    Never heard of them? Well you may know some of the umbrella firm's brands, which include Cotswold Outdoor, Snow+Rock, Runners Need and Cycle Surgery.

    Jose Finch, managing director at O&CC, said: “It is vital that we make the right choices that will ensure we create a strong future together."

    No word on how many branches will seek this arrangement, but O&CC runs 115 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

  9. Wolverhampton loses long awaited Debenhams

    Debenhams Wolverhampton

    Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

    Wolverhampton was initially promised a Debenhams back in 2006, as part of a new £300m shopping centre.

    Thanks to the financial crisis the plan was shelved.

    But eventually Debenhams did open its doors in the existing Mander Centre.

    Now after less than 18 months of trading it is one of the stores earmarked for closure, another blow for a city centre that's already loss a BHS and rather longer ago, a Woolworths.

  10. Don't forget the Saudis

    If you take the top end of the Uber valuation range, the company's ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick will soon own a stake worth more than $7bn.

    Saudi Arabia's 5% stake in the firm would be worth around $4.5bn.

  11. Uber still expects loss of $1bn this quarter

    Uber sign and car

    More details revealed by Uber as it unveiled the terms of its forthcoming debut:

    • Revenues rose from $7.9bn in 2017 to $11.3bn last year, that's a rise of 42%
    • There were 1.5bn trips made using the platform in the final quarter of 2018
    • Uber expects to report a net loss for the first quarter of 2019 of around $1bn and revenues of roughly $3bn.

    Uber now gears up for its roadshow, or ten days of pitching to potential investors. They may want to know when it expects to make a profit.

  12. Clear your calendars

    For those asking, there is no Uber IPO date as of yet.

    The filing just says: "As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement".

    However, we do have news of the ticker symbol. Unsurprisingly, it will trade under the symbol “UBER”

  13. Uber will be second largest market debut ever

    Uber car

    The $80bn - $90bn valuation in prospect for Uber - assuming all goes to plan for its stockmarket listing - is rather lower than the $120bn valuation that investment bankers told Uber last year it could fetch.

    The reassessment may have come after smaller rival Lyft floated last month. Lyft's shares are down 22% on their float price.

    Still Uber is likely to rank as the largest IPO since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group joined the market in 2014.

  14. Paypal investment confirmed

    PayPal

    As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier, PayPal has agreed to buy $500m worth of Uber stock, and the company says it wants to deepen its relations with the mobile-payments firm.

    "We and PayPal intend to explore future commercial payment collaborations, including the development of our digital wallet," Uber's filing reads.

    PayPal already helps Uber process fares.

  15. BreakingUber locks sights on $90bn

    The car hailing app, Uber, has kicked off its investor road show.

    Unveiling the terms for its stock market listing it is publishing some choice titbits of information.

    • It anticipates an IPO price of $44-$50 a share
    • It expects to sell up to 180 million shares
    • that will value the firm between $80bn and $90bn
  16. Fake it until you make it, or get busted

    Anna Sorokin

    A woman who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress to swindle high society New York has been found guilty of multiple charges, including stealing more than two hundred thousand dollars.

    Anna Sorokin created a new identity for herself when she moved from Germany to the United States in 2016. She could face up to 15 years in prison.

    Her own lawyer said her philosophy was "fake it until you make it". When she arrived in New York three years ago, she created a new life for herself by befriending some of the wealthiest people in Manhattan society.

    Sorokin claimed to be a millionaire heiress - with a huge trust fund and a taste for the finer things in life. She wore designer clothes, stayed in five star hotels and travelled on private planes - all at the expense of friends, banks and businesses who bought into her lies.

    In truth she was the daughter of a Russian lorry driver who moved to Germany when she was 16. And although she tried to borrow $22m to build a nightclub and art gallery in the heart of New York - she hadn't a dollar to her name.

  17. AstraZeneca reports higher sales

    AstraZeneca

    The British pharma giant AstraZeneca has benefited from its aggressive push into cancer drugs and a focus on emerging markets, including China.

    Sales and profits were sharply higher in the first quarter, beating market expectations.

    Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown says it marks an inflection point for the firm.

    “Revenue growth is no longer a matter of faith for Astra investors, it can be seen in black and white," he says.

    Astra can’t rest on its laurels yet though he adds: "Keeping the dividend going through the lean times means Astra’s built up a considerable debt pile that must be reduced before returns to shareholders can start to grow once more.”

    That may explain why AstraZeneca shares are trading lower.

  18. GMB blasts 'devastating' Debenhams closures

    Debenhams

    The GMB Union is calling the Debenhams closures a "high street travesty".

    National Officer Gary Carter says:

    “This is devastating news for Debenhams employees who have battled hard to keep the company afloat.

    “They will join the tens of thousands of retail workers made redundant in recent months.

    He adds:

    “It’s another hammer blow for the high street, another established name gone and more retail space left empty.

    “The closures will have a real and negative impact on the livelihoods of the employees and on local communities.

    “It’s about time this Government stopped bickering over Brexit and did something to stem retail job losses and reinvigorate Britain’s high streets.”