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Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan and Simon Read

All times stated are UK

  1. Labour will lay 'foundations of new economy'

    Video content

    Video caption: General election 2019: Labour will lay 'foundations of new economy'

    Labour's shadow chancellor has outlined his party's pledges on inequality, setting out policies that include scrapping universal credit and raising the living wage to £10.

    Speaking in Birmingham, John McDonnell said scale of the reforms pledged by Labour "is significant" but that people's ambitions had been limited by almost a decade of "Conservative and Lib Dem austerity".

  2. US job growth much lower than estimated

    Man reads resume

    US private employers in November added the fewest jobs in six months, according to the the ADP National Employment Report and Moody's Analytics.

    US companies' payrolls increased by 67,000 last month, much less than estimates which ranged from 120,000 to 188,000.

    It was the lowest monthly gain since May when just 46,000 were created, the fewest since 2010, and continues a trend of decelerating job growth.

  3. Royal Mail appeals record £50m fine

    Royal Mail vans

    Royal Mail has confirmed it will appeal following the Competition Appeal Tribunal judgment earlier this month that rejected its application to have a record £50m fine from Ofcom overturned.

    The fine, announced in August 2018, related to Royal Mail's actions in 2014 when Whistl, then known as TNT, was trying to become its first competitor in wholesale mail delivery.

    Ofcom's investigation followed a complaint by Whistl that Royal Mail had abused its dominant market position.

    In a stock exchange statement it said: "Royal Mail has lodged papers with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to seek permission to appeal its recent judgment on Royal Mail plc vs Office of Communications to the Court of Appeal."

  4. OIl prices climb ahead of Opec meeting

    Oil pipe

    Oil prices have risen once again ahead of Thursday’s Opec meeting in Vienna, as investors continue to gear up for deeper production cuts.

    Brent crude futures rose 0.5% to $61.10 a barrel while WTI crude futures were up 0.5% to $56.37.

    "There is some uncertainty as to whether Russia and Opec’s other allies will support this and curb the looming oil glut," said Mihir Kapadia, chief executive of Sun Global Investments.

    "We could expect an extension to supply cuts to bring back some much-needed balance to markets with the option of reviewing it at the next meeting.

    "The next pressing concern will be Opec’s relationship with US President Donald Trump, who has been outspoken on the organisation about lowering oil prices in return for military support against Iran."

  5. Musk says 'pedo guy' tweet not meant literally

    Elon Musk

    Tesla founder Elon Musk (pictured) has appeared in court in Los Angeles to answer a lawsuit brought by a British cave diver he called "pedo guy" on Twitter.

    Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue 12 boys trapped in a Thai cave last year, is suing for defamation.

    Mr Musk, the first to testify at the court, said Mr Unsworth had insulted him, so he had insulted him back.

    The 48-year-old said the "pedo guy" tweet had not been meant to be taken literally.

    Read more here

  6. Analysis: What’s behind the surge in the pound?

    BBC World News senior reporter Ramzan Karmali writes:

    Pound coins

    The pound has reached the highest level in almost seven months. It pushed above $1.30 against the US dollar and was stronger against all other major currencies.

    Jeremy Stretch at CIBC World Markets says today’s move isn’t down to just one poll showing a Conservative lead but has probably happened as result of traders consolidating all the recent polls and deciding that a Tory majority is the most likely outcome.

    He also pointed out that liquidity is also pretty thin at the moment (meaning small trades could have outsized effect on the direction of the currency) and that the markets have been "short sterling".

    That means traders have been selling sterling and holding either dollars or euros - for a “considerable period” – probably since late August/early September. That has pushed down the value of sterling against other currencies.

    He also says that the pound was showing signs of weakness at the end of last month which was attributed to the fact that the polls weren’t quite as clear in showing a potential Tory majority as they are now.

    Jane Foley from Rabobank said the move today is mainly down to “technical reasons” and the fact that sterling went over the “psychological” $1.30 level. This has resulted in more traders reversing some of their short positions in sterling as they see sterling to remain above this level for the time being.

    She also pointed to the fact that the polls before the 2017 election started to narrow at around this time but they don’t seem to be doing that this time which has given currency traders greater confidence in the eventual election results.

  7. Sterling's run could end if Labour gains ground

    Quote Message: Sterling is currently trading close to a 12-month high against the euro, and at a 7-month high against the dollar. Should market participants continue to price in a Tory majority as the base case, the pound should remain well-supported. However, as we saw in 2017, polls can sharply narrow as we approach polling day. If a repeat situation pans out, seeing Labour gain ground and hung Parliament territory approach, sterling will likely face stiff headwinds. from Michael Brown Senior analyst at Caxton
    Michael BrownSenior analyst at Caxton
  8. HSBC customers to face up to fourfold increase in overdraft charges

    HSBC sign

    All HSBC customers will see their arranged overdraft interest rates shoot up from next March following a similar move from Nationwide earlier this year, MoneySavingExpert has warned.

    Current rates are between 9.9% and 19.9% but all account holders will be charged 39.9% after legislation has forced banks to charge a single interest rate for arranged overdrafts.

    "With both of the first banks to announce changes moving overdraft interest rates to around 40%, we have to wonder if this is the new normal," said Helen Saxon, banking editor at MSE."While it's a step forward to cut punishing over-limit fees and to make overdraft costs more transparent, this change will actually make everyone who is in their arranged overdraft and owes more than £25, worse off - whichever HSBC account they hold."

  9. Trump has 'passing relationship with reality and the truth'

    Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell

    Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell doesn't believe US President Donald Trump's claim he wants "nothing to do" with the NHS in post-Brexit trade talks.

    Asked about Mr Trump comments on Tuesday, Mr McDonnell said: "Donald Trump has a passing relationship with reality and truth sometimes."

  10. 'Will my Polish employees come back next year?'

    Christmas tree seller
    Image caption: Chris Seagers' family has been growing strawberries for three generations... and sell Christmas trees and logs in the winter

    Chris Seagers runs a Strawberry Farm at Draycott in the Cheddar Valley, and sells fruit and veg and - in the winter - Christmas trees.

    "I don’t really know anything about the general election – I’m always busy and I don’t watch the telly – I don’t do the internet really - the information just does not get through to me. I don’t know which way to turn," he said.

    "The employee issue is very important to me. I employ Polish people to pick the strawberries and we want to know if they can come back next year. That’s a big thing. They are trying to find the right paperwork to be able to come… [they are] very confused about work permits.

    "They’ve been coming eighteen years. We look after them so they come back. We couldn’t do it if it’s weren’t for them. We can’t employ English people because they don’t get up in the morning I’m afraid to say… it just doesn’t work."

    Quote Message: Everybody’s just arguing all the time, aren’t they? He’s this, she’s that… it’s just a big old headache. from Chris Seagers Cheddar Valley Grower
    Chris SeagersCheddar Valley Grower

    "I don’t export and don’t buy much in – only a box of oranges and some peppers – so I don’t think much will change for me in the way of the taxes.

    "It's been obvious that the popularity of trading local has grown. These trees I am selling today are from Bridgwater whereas in other years they’ve come from abroad - and the fruit and veg I sell here is local."

  11. Asian luxury goods giant calls for HK rent relief

    Actor Natalie Portman
    Image caption: Actor Natalie Portman is the face of Miss Dior, which is distributed by Bluebell in Asia

    The biggest distributor of luxury goods in Asia has called on landlords in Hong Kong to help ease the burden of slumping sales caused by six months of civil unrest.

    Bluebell Group, which distributes a huge number of high end brands such as Christian Dior perfumes, Balmain and Anya Hindmarch, has asked shopping mall owners to make major cuts to rents, warning a collapse in tourist spending risks pushing retailers out of business.

    The company's chief executive Ashley Micklewright told the South China Morning Post that sales in some of its shops have plummeted by as much as 60 percent.

    Official figures published this week showed that retail sales saw their biggest ever monthly fall in October, sliding by 24.3%, while the ongoing protests have already pushed the economy into its first recession in a decade.

  12. Woodford Income Focus Fund to remain shut

    Neil Woodford

    The Woodford Income Focus Fund is staying shut as administrators continue to try to find a new manager or choose to roll it up into another fund.

    In a letter sent to investors today, Link Asset Services said that the fund - suspended on 15 October - would remain shut for another 21 days while it explores options, although it states that "We are now in the final stages of that process".

    It promises: "We will write to you again as soon as our review is complete and in any event this will be no later than 30 December 2019."

    Since suspension the fund value has fallen 1.99% while the FTSE All-Share has risen 0.21%.

  13. 'Easy money has been made' on sterling

    Quote Message: Sterling has reached its highest level since May as the polls gave the currency another boost and Trump’s visit to the UK unfolded relatively smoothly. FX traders will now ponder which way the risks are skewed as we run into election week with a feeling among some that the easy money has been made and with Sterling well above the August lows, the risk to the downside is substantially higher. from Adam Seagrave Head of Global Sales Trading at Saxo Markets
    Adam SeagraveHead of Global Sales Trading at Saxo Markets
  14. Which party promises more cash in our pockets?

    Video content

    Video caption: General Election 2019: Your questions answered

    BBC East political correspondent Andrew Sinclair has the answers to some of your election money questions in this video (above)

  15. FTSE 100 climbs after positive services data

    The blue-chip index is now at 7,178.22, after reversing earlier losses to rise 19.46 or 0.27%, following this morning's positive services data.

    The mid-cap FTSE 250 has followed a similar path.

    After dipping in early trading it's now at 4,037.75, up 13.56 or 0.34%.

  16. Strain lined up for top job at Morrisons

    Trevor Strain

    As we reported earlier, Morrisons' finance boss Trevor Strain has been promoted to chief operating officer, which puts him into the prime spot to take on the top job when current chief David Potts steps down.

    Strain will give up his position as chief financial officer, handing over the reins to Michael Gleeson, to concentrate on the operational side of the business.

    Mr Potts said: "These two appointments are a result of strong management development plans at Morrisons and I am delighted that we are promoting two highly capable colleagues from within the team."

    Strain's new role will see him take over responsibility for commercial, manufacturing, supply chain, logistics, operations development, online and wholesale.

    It's not clear what he'll be paid, but PA Media reported that Strain - who was previously with Tesco and has been with Morrisons since 2009 - took home a healthy £3.2m last year.

  17. Pound boosted by positive services data


    The pound's climb to a seven-month high has been boosted by this morning's positive services data, says David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB.

    "The services reading for November being revised up to 49.3 from 48.6 previously will likely serve to support these gains," he said.

    "As the last of three keenly-viewed industry surveys in the past three days, this rounds off the latest batch of leading indicators on the UK economy, leaving an overall impression of a slight improvement against a pessimistic backdrop, with activity on the whole remaining at subdued levels."