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Live Reporting

Mary-Ann Russon and Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight


    That 's it from Business Live for the day and indeed for the week.

    Thanks for spending the day with as and look forward to seeing you all bright and early at 6am on Monday.

  2. London markets close down


    The FTSE 100 has closed at 7,466.70, down 38.09 points or 0.51%.

    The mid-cap FTSE 250 closed at 21,499.29, down 73.57 points, or 0.34%

  3. Premier Inn to open five new hotels in Scotland

    One of the new Premier Inn hotels will be based at the site of the former BHS store in Princes Street, Edinburgh

    Premier Inn is to open five new hotels in Scotland this year, creating an estimated 200 jobs.

    Plans include a 136-bed hotel at the former BHS flagship store on Princes Street, Edinburgh, which closed following the collapse of the retailer in 2016.

    A 249-bed "mega-hotel" is also planned in Glasgow's St Enoch Square.

    There will also be new hotels in Aviemore, Hamilton and Thurso in Caithness.

    Last year, the Whitbread-owned chain opened only one new hotel in Scotland, in Oban.

    The company said the new hotels represented an investment of more than £70m.

  4. 'Ladies steak' idea not so easy to swallow?


    We asked earlier for your opinions about the so-called "ladies fillet", an 8 oz steak just for women, which a restaurant in Liverpool has started serving.

    The Manhattan Bar & Grill says it launched the menu option in response to countless queries from female customers, who wanted an alternative to the 10oz fillet because they could not finish it, according to The Telegraph

    Reader David Houston has been in touch to offer his thoughts and is not impressed with the "stupid name".

    "Why not just give a choice of 10 oz or 8 oz fillet? And at same time offer a 6 oz fillet," he says.

    "There shouldn't be any waste in fillet steak, you eat the whole thing.

    "10 oz (283 grams in modern measurements) is easily enough for two people."

    He adds: "Everything in moderation is a sensible diet."

  5. Pub joins Buckingham Palace on Grade I list

    The Philharmonic in Liverpool

    An opulent pub once praised by Bill Bryson for its ornate toilets has been given the same listed status as Buckingham Palace and Chatsworth House.

    The Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Liverpool is the first purpose-built Victorian pub in England to be given Grade I status, Historic England said.

    Ten other pubs have also had their status updated to include details of their interiors.

    They include four of eight in the country known to have no actual bar.

  6. Self-driving delivery van ditches 'human controls'

    Nuro van

    The first self-driving vehicle designed without basic human controls such as steering wheels, pedals or side view mirrors has been granted permission to test on US roads.

    Nuro, the company behind the design, makes autonomous delivery vans.

    The vehicle is Nuro's second generation of its vehicles, which it is calling R2 and will be tested in Houston, Texas.

    This is the first exemption to a rule requiring vehicles to have controls for human operators.

    Most of the rules for testing vehicles require features that allow a driver to safely take control of them.

    But in a statement, the US transport secretary Elaine Chao said given that the vehicle's top speed is capped at 25mph, these requirements "no longer make sense".

  7. Burberry 'reliance on China a double-edged sword'

    Burberry model
    Quote Message: Burberry is realising that reliance on Chinese consumption is a double-edged sword. In a statement today it has warned on sales and withdrawn guidance because of coronavirus. 'The outbreak of the coronavirus in mainland China is having a material negative effect on luxury demand,' the company said today. No surprise but shares are down 3% because of the uncertainty over the outlook. from Neil Wilson Chief analyst,
    Neil WilsonChief analyst,
  8. Chinese firms' precautions ahead of MWC

    Huawei's stand at Mobile World Congress 2019
    Image caption: Huawei's stand at Mobile World Congress 2019

    Many Chinese technology firms and handset makers still want to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona in two weeks, and as such have been working on precautions of their own to prevent transmitting of the virus.

    According to Wired, Huawei has quarantined all employees set to attend MWC for at least 14 days before the event outside China - everyone from executives to presenters to service staff.

    And mobile device maker Xiaomi has made the decision not to invite any Chinese press to attend the tech conference at all, and to send its employees to Barcelona ahead of time.

  9. US stocks slide at open

    After a four day winning streak US markets were down at open.

    Wall Street slipped from record highs as investors digested the US employment report for January that showed acceleration in jobs growth but included a downward revision to some previous numbers.

    The Dow Jones index of blue chip stocks fell 92.85 points, or 0.32%, at the open to 29,286.92. The wider S&P 500 opened lower by 10.24 points, or 0.31%, at 3,335.54 and the tech-based Nasdaq f 45.51 points, or 0.48%, to 9,526.64.

  10. ZTE will still be at MWC 2020

    ZTE booth at Mobile World Congress 2019

    In an earlier post, we stated that Chinese tech firm ZTE had pulled out of attending Mobile World Congress 2020, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

    ZTE has confirmed to the BBC that it is still planning to attend the tech conference in Barcelona on 24-27 February, but that it had cancelled one press conference that was scheduled for 25 February.

    The Chinese tech firm said it would still have a booth at MWC an would be demonstrating 5G solutions and showcasing new 5G mobile devices as planned.

    MWC usually attracts attendees from more than 200 countries.

  11. 'A good week for the US economy'

    construction site in USA

    Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at investment management firm Quilter Cheviot says that the US jobs growth data is a positive sign.

    “Today’s nonfarm payrolls report was another reminder of the underlying strength of the US economy and rounds off a good week for Donald Trump following his acquittal by the Senate and the Democratic Party’s shambolic Iowa Caucus," he said.

    However, there could still be gloom ahead.

    “However, the attention of most investors remains focussed on China and the spread of the coronavirus which, aside from being a human tragedy, is starting to pose risks for global growth in 2020. We expect it to be largely a Q1 story but if not, the Federal Reserve may come under pressure to cut interest rates despite continued strong US labour markets.”

  12. BreakingUS economy adds 225,000 jobs in January

    US job growth accelerated in January, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 225,000 jobs during the month, with employment at construction sites increasing by the most in a year amid milder-than-normal temperatures.

    There were also strong gains in job creation in the transportation and warehousing industry.

    But the Labor Department's monthly employment report also showed the economy created 514,000 fewer jobs between April 2018 and March 2019 than originally estimated.

  13. 'A lot of other vendors will be thinking hard now'

    A sign advertising Mobile World Congress 2020

    Technology industry analyst Dean Bubley says Swedish telecoms equipment giant Ericsson's decision to pull out of the annual Mobile World Congress tech conference in Barcelona this month could spur other firms to do the same.

    "It must have been a hugely difficult decision, given the massive amount of time and thought that will have gone into Ericsson's preparation," Mr Bubley told the BBC.

    "A lot of other vendors will be thinking hard now. Clearly some vendors will have spent a lot on preparation, although it's hard to know how much booths, for example, will get recycled for other events, and whether flights and hotels are cancellable."

  14. GSMA responds to Ericsson MWC announcement

    Outside a convention centre where Mobile World Congress is held in Barcelona

    The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), which organises the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech conference in Barcelona has responded to Swedish telecom equipment giant Ericsson's decision to pull out of the event.

    Ericsson typically has one of the biggest exhibits and stands at the conference each year.

    "The GSMA regret to see Ericsson’s decision not to attend MWC Barcelona this year as they are an important player in our ecosystem," the organisation said.

    "We respect their decision and are reassured by their commitment that they will be at MWC Barcelona 2021 in full force and our rebook trends for next year’s event remain high.

    "Ericsson’s cancellation will have some impact on our presence at this time and will potentially have further impact."

  15. More on Mobile World Congress and coronavirus

    Mobile World Congress 2019

    The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show is held in Barcelona for three days every February, and it typically attracts over 100,000 people from over 200 countries.

    MWC is organised by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), which represents mobile operators around the world.

    The event helps to connect mobile network operators with device makers, software companies, internet companies and equipment providers, and to showcase new technologies and products to potential customers.

    On Tuesday, the GSMA released a list of measures it is implementing to control the potential spread of the coronavirus.

    The measures include an increased cleaning and disinfection programme across all high-volume touch points at the conference centre, increased medical support, new signs reminding attendees of hygiene recommendations, asking all attendees not to shake hands, and training staff, third party vendors and exhibitors on personal hygiene and disinfection materials and measures.

  16. BreakingEricsson pulls out of Mobile World Congress


    Swedish telecoms equipment giant Ericsson has announced that it is pulling out of attending the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2020 conference in Barcelona, Spain - the world's biggest annual event for the telecoms industry.

    Ericsson, which in the past has often had the largest booths and exhibits at the conference, said that after an extensive internal risk assessment, it had decided to withdraw from the event to ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers in light of the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread to more than 25 countries.

    "Ericsson appreciates that GSMA have done everything they can to control the risk," the firm said in a statement.

    "However, as one of the largest exhibitors, Ericsson has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors."

    South Korea's LG Electronics has also pulled out of the event, while China's ZTE has cancelled a press conference set to occur during the event.

  17. Fans to be offered shares in £2.2m stadium

    The County Ground

    Swindon Town FC fans are being given the chance to own part of the club's County Ground.

    The League Two club agreed tobuy the freehold for the groundfrom Swindon Borough Council in March for £2.2m.

    Shares will be offered to fans with a minimum price of £19.69 in honour of the club's first and only League Cup Final win in 1969, against Arsenal.

    Swindon chairman Lee Power said owning the stadium would allow them to redevelop the County Ground.

    The ground has been Swindon Town's rented home since 1896.

    The club said the freehold was "subject to the purchase costs being met by both the club and supporters" and it needed at least 2,300 supporters to "commit to purchase a community share".

  18. Ladies, would you order this steak?

    A Manhattan Bar & Grill fillet steak

    A steak restaurant in Liverpool has started serving an 8oz steak called the "ladies fillet", just for women.

    The Manhattan Bar & Grill says it launched the menu option in response to countless queries from female customers, who wanted an alternative to the 10oz fillet because they could not finish it, according to the Telegraph.

    Would you prefer to order this steak, or do you think it's sexist?

    Get in touch on

  19. Ex-Thomas Cook staff adapting to railway life with GWR

    Sian Pike

    When Thomas Cook collapsed, thousands of employees suddenly found themselves without a job - but 30 of them have been fast-tracked for new jobs on trains after Great Western Railway (GWR) made a plea for cabin crew and ground staff to get in touch.

    Sian Pike, who had been with Thomas Cook for 26 years and was an airline cabin manager, is one of them.

    "My life had been flying, and suddenly it was ripped away from me, leaving me feeling really numb," said Ms Pike.

    "I used to tell passengers I'd be flying until they kicked me out.

    "My uniform is still in my wardrobe, my bags are under the stairs.

    "It was a way of life. I was literally going to be there with my Zimmer frame going down the aisle."

    Read more here.