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  1. The morning's main business programmes are available on the Live Coverage tab
  2. Total boss dies in Moscow air crash
  3. Public sector net borrowing increases to £58bn in six months to September

Live Reporting

By Matthew West and Howard Mustoe

All times stated are UK

Howard Mustoe

Business reporter

That's all from us. Tomorrow there's Home Retail Group interim results, plus the usual mix of economic and corporate news. Come back from 06:00.


Today's cartoon is from

Existential Comics, and goes out to all those who work in technical support. Or did a thesis on Sartre.


Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella says he has been "humbled" after suggesting women trust karma i

Oh dear. One suspects this was always likely to happen. The

Daily Telegraph has unearthed how much Microsoft senior executive Satya Nadella gets paid. Why does this matter? Indian born Mr Nadella told a conference earlier this month that women should not ask for pay rises they might feel they deserve and should instead rely on "Karma". He earns $80m (£50m) by the way.


A note of caution today from insurance analysts at Barclays. "We believe that UK home insurance is following UK motor insurance into a period of very intense price competition, which is likely to erode margins and lead to earnings pressure for those in the space," analysts led by Alan Devlin say in a client note. "Disruptive" firms like esure, Admiral and Hastings taking share through price comparison websites is partly the cause, they say.


European markets across the board have reversed their earlier declines and are now all trading higher, some of them by a reasonable amount. It's all based on a

Reuters report that the European Central Bank could start buying corporate bonds in the secondary market as early as December as a way to combat deflation in the eurozone. The
FTSE 100 is up 0.8% to 6317.50, Germany's
Dax is up 1.56% to 8853.90, while France's
Cac-40 is up 1.8% to 4063.04 .


More from HSBC's Mr McCarthy. He also theorises as to what might be in Thursday's set of results. He says although Tesco has already identified a £250m shortfall in its first half finances, the results may now include "some impact of timing differences". So it could be some of the £250m hit comes back in the second half figures. He adds: "It could perhaps be that some commercial income was brought forward to flatter last year's full-year result, which would lower this year's profits but should normalise next year. Of course, it could also be that the £250m does not reflect the full effect of the overstatement."


Getty Images

Labour's Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie has responded to the borrowing figures saying they're a "serious blow to George Osborne". He adds: "Not only is he set to break his promise to balance the books by next year, but borrowing in the first half of this year is now 10% higher than the same period last year. As the OBR said last week, stagnating wages and too many people in low-paid jobs are leading to more borrowing."


At the other end of the spectrum, Aldi's growth slowed slightly compared to recent months, but sales were still up 27% versus last year resulting in a market share of 4.8%. Lidl's sales grew by 18%, with its market share standing at 3.5%.


Asda has again emerged as the winner among the big four supermarkets according to Kantar Wordpanel. Asda has grown sales ahead of the market, up 1% over the past year, boosting its share to 17.3%. Sales at Morrisons have fallen back 1.8% meanwhile.


Waitrose secured a record grocery market share of 5.2%. Impressively, it has boosted its sales by 6.8% over the past year, continuously growing its sales every month since March 2009


A group of Tesco trolleys

So the overall grocery market saw growth of 0.7% in the 12 weeks to 12 October according to analysts Kantar Worldpanel. Tesco's market share over that period was 28.8% down from 30.1% a year earlier. Prices across the whole market also fell again. This time by 0.2%.

Via Email


Economist Howard Archer says it is still possible higher rate taxpayers will have an positive impact on borrowing when they self-assess for the 20103/14 tax year in January. But at this rate it "looks inevitable... that extra fiscal tightening will be needed in the new parliament." Capital Economics meanwhile, suggests borrowing would have to be 37% lower over the next six months for the Chancellor to meet his £95.5bn target for the year. That seems... unlikely.

Via Twitter

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

tweets: "Breaking: Kantar retail figures - Tesco sales down 3.6% year on year, Sainsbury's down 3.1%". We'll bring you the full numbers in a moment. But clearly not good news for Tesco ahead of its half year results on Thursday.

Via Twitter


BBC Newsnight's economics editor Duncan Weldon

tweets: "Unless the exchequer gets a huge self assessment bumper in January it looks like borrowing will be up this financial year on last."

Via Email


IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer has a different take on the borrowing figures. He says: "The government's current fiscal problems largely reflect the fact that much weaker-than-expected earnings growth has limited income tax receipts, along with a large number of people now being in low-paid jobs or self-employed."

Via Email


Here's the line from the Treasury. It says: "We have seen stronger growth in receipts this month [that's true enough; income tax rose £200m, or 2.2%, to £10.7bn] but as today's figures show, the impact of the great recession is still being felt in our economy and the public finances. At the same time, we have to recognise that the UK is not immune to the problems being experienced in Europe and other parts of the world economy."


Public borrowing graph

In the month of September itself government borrowing stood at £11.8bn. That's an increase of £1.6bn compared with the same month a year ago. We await the usual email from the Treasury telling us that income tax will be back-loaded into the year. But the Chancellor at this point looks increasingly likely to miss his £95.5bn borrowing target (as the chart above shows) for the financial year. Don't forget on Monday the FT reported that Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander told his colleagues in the Cabinet there was no money for any tax giveaways in this year's Budget and the Office for Budget Responsibility last week warning about

income tax receipts.


Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks from April to September 2014 was £58bn, an increase of £5.4bn compared with the same period a year earlier,

official figures show.


ASOS share price graph

....have leapt this morning after the publication of its annual results. The online retailer, which had warned on its profits on three occasions this year and suffered from a fire in one of its warehouses over the summer is up 17% to 2,275p.


...are not published until Thursday, so don't worry - you're not in a time warp. But the drip feed of information may have started already. HSBC analyst David McCarthy has put out a note today in which he says the supermarket behemoth will need to invest £3bn in its customer offer to achieve a turnaround. But he says most of that could be self-funded. Mr McCarthy adds: "Tesco has been going wrong for six years or more and it could take as long to put things right as it took to go wrong".


the new eurostar e320 train

Eurostar has reported a 3% growth in passengers to 2.7 million for the three months to 30 September compared with a year earlier as well as 2% growth in revenue to £211m. Just last week the government announced its intention to sell its 40% stake in the firm it jointly owns with the French. Under the plan the government hopes to raise about £20bn from corporate and financial asset sales by 2020. Eurostar celebrates its 20th birthday on November 14th. It will unveil its new fleet (see above) to mark the occasion.


Markets are down again today. The

FTSE 100 in London fell 0.35%, the
Dax in Frankfurt declined 0.31% and the French
CAC dropped 0.11%.

  • ARM Holdings led the gainers up 2.5%
  • Reckitt Benckiser led the losers down 2.4%
  • Whitbread fell 2.2%


BAE Systems continues its movement into cyber security, stumping up £144m for Perimeter Internetworking Corp, which trades as SilverSky, a cloud security firm. The purchase will add to earnings in three years, says the firm


Shares in French oil firm Total are understandably lower this morning following the death overnight of the company's widely respected chief executive Christophe de Margerie in a plane crash in Moscow. Total has opened down nearly 3% to €42.94.


General view of cup from a Costa Coffee shop,

Revenue for the owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn was up 13% to £1.29bn for the six months ended 28 August. Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said: "The trading momentum of our strong first half performance has continued into the first few weeks of the second half and positions Whitbread well to deliver full year results in line with expectations."


GKN, which makes parts of planes and cars, said sales fell of the third quarter - that's July to September - but profit rose. A stronger pound than last year caused much of the lost revenue. For the rest of the year, the motor and aerospace market will grow, while agriculture "looks set to continue its recent decline," it says.


BBC Radio 4

Simon Segars the boss of chipmaker ARM is on the Today programme. He says lots of companies license his firm's tech so he's not worried about competition from the likes of Intel, which is now targeting ARM's market. "Competition is a good thing," he says. He adds: "History has shown the technology solution that we produce is the one that goes into most devices. Virtually every smartphone in the world uses an ARM processor". So, safe to say he's not worried in the slightest then.


ASOS webpage screengrab

Online retailer ASOS has reported as 14% slump in profits to £46.9m. Last year ASOS reported profits of £54.7m. There are no surprises here, though. The firm has previously warned "disruption" from investment in warehousing and the launch of its new business in China would hurt profits and that remains the case. Boss Nick Robertson says the firm is "in a period of major investment that comes at a short term cost, but the medium-term benefits will be significant."



ARM, which could well make the chips in your mobile phone, says it made $320m (£195.5m) of sales in the third quarter, up 12% compared with last year. It will probably sell $350m in the final three months of the year, it said.


Reckitt Benckiser products
Reckitt Benckiser

Reckitt Benckiser says it now expects full year revenue growth at the lower end of its total revenue growth target of 4-5%. The firm "delivered a robust performance in tougher markets in the third quarter" it said.


BBC Radio 4

China's economy grew by 7.3% in the three months to September, compared with expectations of 7.2%. But it's still the lowest growth in six years. The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh tells the

Today programme Chinese monetary policymakers want to slow the Chinese economic growth gradually and allow the rest of the world to get used to it. China is becoming a "middle income economy" she says and will revert to a normal path for a developed economy over time of around 3% to 4%.

Via Twitter

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

tweets: My interview with CEO of Oscar de la Renta fashion house, Alex Bolen,
from Talking Business


Radio 5 live

We don't have enough engineers in the UK or scientists for that matter argues Ann Watson of Semta, an engineering skills charity, on

5 live. She says: "We need a million scientists, engineers and technicians by 2020, We are starting to see a shortage in education; people training those recruits." The perception of engineering as a "dirty, oily industry" doesn't help, she says.


Radio 5 live

Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank is on

5 live talking about the falling stock market. "If we see stocks fall more we may see companies bargain hunting," she says. So more firms may start purchasing each other.


Radio 5 live


Travel writer Simon Calder is on

5 live talking about the weather. He says he sees about 50 weather-related cancellations at Heathrow, so perhaps about 5% of flights so far. Flights to Frankfurt look hard to come by, he says.


Heathrow airport has said this morning that around 10% of flights will be cancelled today as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo hit the UK. Flights with the 20 biggest carriers would be affected, it says. British Airways has already cancelled some ahead of the expected severe weather. The remains of the hurricane are predicted to bring heavy rain and gusts of up to 75mph in some areas, causing disruption to rush-hour travel. If you're travelling today it's

worth checking before you arrive at the airport.


Radio 5 live

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of French oil company Total, has died in an air crash in Moscow. Sarah Rainsford, the BBC's correspondent in Moscow says poor weather with low visibility is a possible cause of the crash. His plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine killing him and three crew, she tells

5 live.

Matthew West

Business reporter

Morning folks, we have the latest public borrowing figures out at 9:30 today. But before that we have full year results from online retailer ASOS, and interim figures from Whitbread, plus the weather is promising to play havoc with the transport network today with

10% of flights out of Heathrow already cancelled this morning. We'll bring you everything as it happens.