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Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye from Business Live

    It's an early close for Business Live today.

    Check back on the website though as figures on new US employment are due out very shortly.

    Or if you fancy a long read, Theo Leggett has written an in-depth piece about former Nissan boss - now fugitive - Carlos Ghosn, following his extraordinary press conference this week.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. China lifts Jaguar Land Rover

    Jaguar Land Rover cars

    Jaguar Land Rover full-year sales fell 5.9% to 557,706 vehicles compared to 2018.

    After a challenging first six months, the company saw sales in China bounce back which delivered double digit growth.

    However, other regions including Europe, the US and the UK all recorded falls.

    Quote Message: 2019 was a year of two halves for Jaguar Land Rover. Over the last six months we saw a marked improvement in China, where intensive work with our retailers, combined with significant process and product improvements are starting to gain traction. Elsewhere, adverse market conditions continued to affect the industry. from Felix Brautigam Chief commercial officer at Jaguar Land Rover
    Felix BrautigamChief commercial officer at Jaguar Land Rover
  3. What Boeing employees really thought about the 737 Max

    Staggered by the internal documents that have emerged from Boeing about the 737 Max?

    Here's a screenshot - courtesy of Reuters reporter David Shepardson - from messages between Boeing employees, one of whom says the plane is "designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys".

    View more on twitter
  4. Boeing's battle over MCAS

    Yet more deeply troubling revelations from the internal documents Boeing handed over to the US government investigating the grounded 737 Max aircraft.

    Unlike its other models, Boeing's 737 Max features software called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) which is designed to stop the plane from stalling and can force the nose of the jet lower.

    How the MCAS system works

    This internal message from a Boeing employee shows their concern that MCAS might be seen as a new function and would therefore require pilots to be trained on simulators and certified to fly the 737 Max.

    Internal Boeing documentation

    It can be very expensive to train pilots on simulators, the cost of which may have put airlines off from buying Boeing's new jet.

    Instead, pilots who were certified to fly Boeing 737 NG took a short course on an iPad to gain familiarity with the Max.

    MCAS was found to be a factor in two crashes within five months which killed 346 people.

  5. Carrickfergus factory to close with the loss of 270 jobs

    Sensata sign

    Sensata Technologies is to close its factory in Carrickfergus, County Antrim with the loss of 270 jobs.

    The firm makes tyre pressure sensors and blamed the closure on the downturn in the European car market.

    The factory will wind down on a phased basis and fully close by early 2021.

    The firm has a larger factory in Antrim that will remain open, although the company said "a small number of operational support roles" based there will also go.

    Yann Etienvre, senior vice president of global operations at Sensata Technologies, said the company was facing "a perfect storm of European market conditions".

  6. 'Difficult second album' for Superdry boss

    Julian Dunkerton

    AJ Bell's Russ Mould has also been looking at Superdry's disappointing trading update, which warned profits could be cut to zero.

    He says the return of co-founder Julian Dunkerton to the company "is starting to look like a difficult second album rather than an overnight success".

    “Reducing discounts may have hurt sales amid strong industry competition but this could be a price worth paying if it helps rebuild the integrity of the brand and improves margins.

    “This is a high-wire act for Dunkerton though, as it relies on the patience of shareholders and there is a risk the brand just doesn’t have the same cachet it once did.

    “After nine months in charge, and after a lengthy campaign to oust the previous management, there will be increasing pressure on him from the market to deliver tangible signs of progress as we move through 2020.”

  7. Joules shares plunge on profit warning

    Shares in fashion brand Joules have sunk 20% after it said profits were set to be "significantly below market expectations" following poor Christmas trading.

    The company said sales were "significantly behind expectations" in the seven weeks to 5 January, dropping 4.5% from a year earlier, although it blamed this on "one-off" issues that hit the availability of stock.

    Joules also said it expected cost "headwinds" as a result of tariffs being imposed by the US-China trade war.

    Chief executive Nick Jones said: "We are disappointed with our inability to fully satisfy our customers' demand through our online channel during the important Christmas sale period.

    "We have identified the root cause of this one-off issue and have taken steps to prevent its reoccurrence."

  8. Turbulence ahead for Ryanair?

    Ryanair plane

    Earlier this morning Ryanair raised its profit guidance after trading over Christmas turned out to be better than expected.

    However, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, warns the skies might not be entirely clear for Ryanair in the year ahead.

    He notes that there was "some mild turbulence to contend with in the [Christmas] period, with Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion struggling thanks to an ongoing pricing war with its rivals".

    And, he adds: "Despite the collapse of Thomas Cook last year, competition remains an issue in other markets too, while rising staff costs and a volatile fuel bill are continuing pressures on the company’s low-cost model.

    “This is a critical point given how much of the businesses success has been built on keeping a very tight hand on the purse strings.

    “The picture could look a bit less rosy in the summer due to further delays in the delivery of grounded Boeing 737 Max planes, which will stunt passenger growth.”

  9. Willie Walsh 'made no duff deals'

    BA plane

    Out of the big three European airlines - British Airways, Air France, and Lufthansa - BA was the last to do a major merger, says Andrew Lobbenberg, sector head of European equity research at HSBC, reflecting on the retirement of Willie Walsh.

    He told the BBC the structure BA and chief executive Willie Walsh put in place when it struck the deal with Spain's Iberia, where airlines are held to account by a holding company, had proven "really successful".

    Looking back at Mr Walsh's career as he prepares to retire this year, Mr Lobbenberg also said the strategic importance of BA buying most of the old BMI airline was "absolutely huge" because it gave BA more slots at Heathrow.

    "Heathrow is full. You can get a slot at Heathrow, but it's for love and a lot of money," he says.

    "It is really interesting though, that he's done a slew of deals at IAG, and there's not a duff one among them, which is quite remarkable among dealmakers," Mr Lobbenberg adds.

  10. B&M shares drop on challenging Christmas


    Shares in discount chain B&M are now trading 8.2% lower after reporting a challenging Christmas period.

    The company said like-for-like sales for three months to 28 December rose 0.3% "against a challenging broader retail market and our decision not to engage in any early discounting activity".

    Total revenues, which includes trade from shops opened during the reporting period, rose by 9.3%.

  11. Segway’s prototype wheelchair crashes at tech show

    Segway's S-Pod was offline at CES after a crash during a demonstration
    Image caption: Segway's S-Pod was offline at CES after a crash during a demonstration

    Segway's prototype wheelchair crashed during a demonstration at the CES tech show.

    The S-Pod - a self-balancing electric wheelchair - was being tested by a journalist at the time. The rider had accelerated the vehicle before accidently crashing into a wall.

    Its maximum speed is 24mph (38km/h). The company said no one was injured.

    The crash made the S-Pod unavailable for further demos, but analysts say the company should not face lasting damage.

    Read more here

  12. Flight was returning to airport, says Iran aviation chief

    Debris from the Ukrainian International Airlines flight that crashed on Wednesday
    Image caption: Debris from the Ukrainian International Airlines flight that crashed on Wednesday

    Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority, explains why the country does not believe the Ukrainian International Airlines flight that crashed was hit by an Iranian missile.

    "The thing that is clear to us and that we can say with certainty is that this plane was not hit by a missile. As I said last night, this plane for more than one and a half minutes was on fire and was in the air and the location shows that the pilot was attempting to return," he said.

  13. Ryanair profit upgrade lifts rivals' shares

    Easyjet and Ryanair planes

    A profit upgrade by Ryanair (see earlier post) boosted share prices for its fellow airlines.

    Easyjet is leading the FTSE 100 risers, with its share price up 5.6% at £15.19.

    It is followed by BA-owner IAG, up 4.4% at 662.8p.

    On the FTSE 250, Wizz Air's share price is 4.7% ahead at £40.37.

    Packing company Mondi is the FTSE 100's biggest faller so far, down 1.9% £16.79, after announcing its chief executive Peter Oswald is stepping down.

    Discount chain B&M has emerged as one of retail's losers over the Christmas period leads the FTSE 250's biggest fallers, down 7.6% at 367.1p.

  14. JD Sports upbeat as sales rise

    JD Sports

    Sports fashion retailer JD Sports says it remains confident about reporting full-year profits at the top end of forecasts.

    The company said that despite challenges facing the UK retail market, "it is encouraging to report positive like-for-like trends in the group's global Sports Fashion fascias, particularly overseas".

    JD Sports did not give any further detail on how quickly sales had grown. It argued that given "the increasing significance of our international businesses... and the fact that there is a differentiated timing of the post-Christmas sale period in a number of our key overseas markets, the ultimate out-turn will reflect trading in these markets through the remainder of January".

    However, it said was "confident" that full-year profits would be "in the upper quartile of current market expectations", which range from £403m to £433m.

  15. Superdry shares plunge on profit warning

    Superdry's share price dropped 20.28% to 376.1p after it warned that it expects full year pre-tax profit to fall to between £nil and £10m.

    The wider FTSE 250 has opened up 0.19% at 21,683.69 while the FTSE 100 is up 0.13% at 7,607.79.