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Summary

  1. Marks & Spencer reports more falls in clothing sales
  2. US Republican win raises budget concerns
  3. The morning's main business programmes are available on the Live Coverage tab

Live Reporting

By Edwin Lane and Ben Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Edwin Lane

Business reporter, BBC News

That's it from us for today, we'll be back tomorrow with more business news from 06:00.

TIME WARNER

Woody Harrelson left, Matthew McConaughey
AP/HBO

US media giant Time Warner

announced a net income of $967m for the three months to the end of September, down 20% on the same quarter in 2013. Sales rose 3% to $6.2bn. Home Box Office had a particularly strong quarter, with revenue rising 10% to $106m. It also received 19 Emmy Awards, including five for True Detective.

MARKETS UPDATE

The markets are looking quite positive, with M&S leading the risers on the London market after its results this morning.

  • The
    FTSE 100 is up 1%
  • M&S is 9% higher
  • The
    Dax in Frankfurt and the
    Cac 40 in Paris are both up about 1.4%.

Via Twitter

LISTEN AGAIN

World Service

tweets: "Finance to the fore in #Midterms2014. Will it mean standoff btw congress and @BarackObama? LISTEN to BBC Biz Update
bit.ly/1s3Sdf6"

DATING FRAUD

The owner of a dating site aimed at people with sexually transmitted diseases

faces a $16.5m (£10.4m) payout in the US after being found in breach of consumer laws and guilty of fraud. SuccessfulMatch, which owns the site PositiveSingles, was found to have shared profiles of its customers with other dating sites despite offering a confidential service.

GOLD AND SILVER

Gold prices
Bloomberg

The price of gold continues to fall. It is now trading below $1,150 an ounce and at levels not seen since mid-2010 (see chart). Silver prices have also fallen sharply today. The stronger dollar is largely to blame. As a result, shares in miners of precious metals are down.

Via Email

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

From the World Economic Forum in Delhi, India's finance minister, Arun Jaitley, tells India Business Report: "We need to become a low-cost manufacturing hub rather than just a manufacturing hub because in a competitive world, manufacturing per se will not survive unless it's low cost. Consumers buy what's cheap."

INSURANCE MIS-SELLING

More on the banning of those Swinton executives. "'A culture was allowed to develop within Swinton that pushed for high sales and increased profit without regard to the impact on the firm's customers,"

said the FCA. It also highlights the £90m in bonuses that the three executives were in line for in 2011, if they achieved profit targets.

US ELECTIONS

Republican supporters for Governor Scott Walker
Reuters

The US mid-term elections don't matter for the economy says Capital Economics in a research note this morning. "Even a Republican party which is in control of both chambers of Congress is unlikely to refuse to raise the debt ceiling next year and trigger another Federal government shutdown," says Paul Dales, senior US economist.

INSURANCE MIS-SELLING

Back in July of last year insurance broker Swinton was fined £7.4m for mis-selling policies. Now the
Financial Conduct Authority has fined three former Swinton executives a combined £928,000 and banned them from taking leading roles at financial services firms. The three are Peter Halpin (former chief executive), Nicholas Bowyer (former marketing director) and Anthony Clare (former finance director).

SPOTIFY

Taylor Swift
PA

Can musicians make money on Spotify? Pop star Taylor Swift has removed her entire back catalogue from the music streaming site, but other musicians say it's the best way to share your music and get paid for it.

Newsnight investigates.

WELFARE

Should a nurses pension count as "welfare spending"? the government thinks so, but the Institute for Fiscal Studies disagrees. "Lumping a quarter of total spending into one bucket labelled "welfare" may not strike the most helpful balance," it says.

Read Brian Milligan's piece here.

OLYMPICS

Beijing
Getty Images

The huge financial costs of big sporting events like the Olympics is putting would-be host cities off,

Business Insider reports. It says Beijing is now the favourite to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, but largely because no one else wants it. The previous favourite, Oslo, dropped out in October citing financial concerns. One worry for the IOC is that Beijing typically has very little snow.

Via Email

Paul Hollingsworth, UK Economist, Capital Economics

Waitress, Murrayfield stadium
PA

"Despite the weaker-than-expected tone of October's Markit/CIPS services survey, the recovery looks unlikely to run out of steam in the fourth quarter. Anecdotal evidence from Markit suggested that financial market uncertainty in October may have weighed on activity."

SERVICES SECTOR

There are further signs of a potential end-of-year slowdown in the UK economy this morning.

PMI survey data from Markit/CIPS suggest the services sector grew at a slower rate in October, with performance weaker than many analysts had expected. Markit economist Chris Williamson said a mix of worries about the eurozone, a slowdown in China, and US monetary policy had hurt sentiment.

FIZZY DRINK TAX

Soda tax campaign sign
Reuters

Berkeley in California has become

the first US city to pass a tax on sugary drinks. The one cent per-ounce tax will fall on drinks distributors, by increasing their business licence fee. The US soft-drink industry has spent millions of dollars fighting the measure and beat a similar proposition in San Francisco.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

blogs: "The longer that immigrants stay in Britain, the more British they become, as it were. And the painful fiscal fact is that so-called native British people were a burden on the state over the same assessed period of between £591bn and £674bn."

WETHERSPOON SHARES SLUMP

Wetherspoons
BBC

Shares in

Wetherspoon's have slumped 7%, after it released a trading update. For the 13 weeks to 26 October like-for-like sales rose 6.3%. But operating profit margin fell to 7.7%. It blamed a 5% increase in hourly pay for staff, which came into effect in October. It also said utility bills rose by about 4%.

Via Email

M&S RESULTS

Neil Saunders

Conlumino retail analysts

"A slip in sales of -6.3% is extremely poor and indicates that M&S's website is simply not delivering the goods. We maintain our view that the site is confusing to navigate and that M&S has made it too much like magazine which gets in the way of buying product. Further refinement is needed if this channel is to provide the strong growth M&S needs it to."

GCHQ

BBC Radio 4

Martha Lane Fox, the founder of Lastminute.com and a cross-bench peer, describes GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan's comments that

tech companies need to cooperate more to fight terrorism as "reactionary and slightly inflammatory". She says our digital lives are much like our home lives now. "I don't want the security services and GCHQ to rummage in my front room, and that's how I feel about my iPhone."

Via Blog

IMMIGRATION

Robert Peston

Economics editor

blogs: "the big point is that without the immigrants, our taxes or public sector borrowing would be measurably higher. Which, at a time when the government is failing to reduce the UK's unsustainably large public sector deficit at the speed it would like, seems of some relevance."

IMMIGRATION

BBC Radio 4

Economics editor Robert Peston is on Today talking about the economic impact of immigration. A report out this morning says new EU immigrants

pay more tax into the UK economy than they take out in benefits. Robert says it shouldn't be a surprise - most immigrants are young, keen to work and well qualified - exactly the people who make a net contribution. It's when they - and native British people - get old that they start being a burden on the state.

MARKET UPDATE

Marks and Spencer shares have soared 7% this morning, making them easily the biggest winner on the FTSE 100.

  • Engineering firm Meggitt is up 5% on share buyback
  • The
    FTSE 100 is up 0.4%
  • Miners Fresnillo and Randgold down sharply

TOYOTA'S RECORD YEAR

Toyta showroom, Tokyo
EPA

Toyota has raised its annual forecast for operating profit to a record 2.5tn yen ($21.9bn; £13.7bn). It was previously forecasting a profit of 2.3tn yen. A weaker yen has boosted profits by making overseas sales relatively more valuable.

Via Twitter

M&S RESULTS

Simon Jack

Business correspondent, BBC News

tweets: "City will prob like these M&S results. Margins better. M&S.com has been a disaster. Wonder if food would ever be spun off?"

M&S RESULTS

BBC Breakfast

Natalia Berg, Planet Retail
BBC

"They just can't get womenswear right," says Natalie Berg from Planet Retail about M&S. The fashion press "absolutely love" their new ranges she says on Breakfast. But she points out that more than half of their sales comes from the over-55 demographic. All-in-one jump suits, biker jackets and leather skirts might not appeal to them, Ms Berg says.

Via Email

Retailers have been complaining about the relatively warm September and October. But retail analyst Nick Bubb points out that data from Planalytics shows October 2013 was quite warm too, so demand for clothes should have only fallen a little bit compared with last year. September was more challenging though, he admits.

M&S RESULTS

Radio 5 live

Marc Bolland, the boss of M&S, is on

Radio 5 live. He says you have to disregard September due to the warm weather. Without that month womenswear sales have risen. He's also positive about the Christmas period, with 200 lines of women's party wear and occasion wear.

M&S RESULTS

BBC Radio 4

Marc Bolland
Getty Images

Online sales through M&S.com are down 6%. On

Today Justin Webb asks Mr Bolland if that is really bad news for a modern retailer. Mr Bolland says the website has been redesigned and it will take time to see growth. "What is more important is that people like it," he says. "You don't build an online platform for one quarter, but for 20 years ahead."

M&S RESULTS

BBC Radio 4

Marc Bolland, the boss of M&S, is on

Today. He says he's encouraged by improvements in things like womenswear. "The trend is positive," he says. "Customers are telling us the style is back at M&S." He says the core customer is a "woman who likes to be inspired".

HOLIDAY PAY

BBC
BBC

"Ludicrous" says the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)

in the Telegraph. "Mission creep," says the CBI on the
front page of the Financial Times. Those business organisations are expressing their angst about yesterday's court decision to
award workers extra holiday pay. The BCC says added pressure on business would be "unbearable".

Via Email

David Buik from Panmure Gordon describes the results as "not quite as bad as expected". But he reminds us that M&S is a "million miles" away from the £1bn annual profit achieved in 1997 and 2008.

M&S RESULTS

M&S
PA

Clothing and footwear sales saw a 3.4% fall in the three months to September, but, like many retailers, M&S is blaming the unseasonably warm weather in September that has hit sales of coats and autumn-wear.

Via Twitter

Nick Bubb, retail analyst

tweets: "Blimey, M&S have increased the interim dividend by 0.2p to 6.4p, to show their free cash flow generation..."

M&S RESULTS

Pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of September were £279m, down slightly from the same time a year ago.

BreakingBreaking News

M&S RESULTS

Marks and Spencer reports a 4% fall in sales of general merchandise (mainly clothing) in its second quarter. Food sales up 0.2%, and overall sales down 0.2%.

FIZZY DRINKS TAX

Measure D election headquarters in Berkeley
Reuters

Berkeley, California could become the first city in the US to tax sugar-sweetened drinks. The San Jose Mercury News reports that an early count indicates the pro-tax vote has a sizeable lead. The proposal is for a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. "No" campaigners said it's still to early to say which way the ballot has gone.

NOTSPOTS

BBC Radio 4

The government has

suggested tackling "notspots", where customers can't get a signal from their mobile phone operator, by letting customers roam between networks. John Cooke from the Mobile Operators Association tells
Today "it's a really bad idea", and the government should instead do things like sorting out the planning laws that inhibiting building mobile phone masts.

M&S RESULTS

BBC Radio 4

"M&S is a business everyone thinks they can run," says retail analyst Kate Hardcastle on Today. She says the business "can't be all things to all men" and needs to decide its target demographic.

ROLLS-ROYCE CUTS

Radio 5 live

Rolls Royce engineer
Rolls Royce/PA

Some interesting perspective on the 2,600 job cuts

announced by Rolls-Royce (aerospace) yesterday. On
Wake Up to Money Ewen Cameron Watt from BlackRock Investment Institute says Rolls-Royce has periods of product development when it needs engineers, then periods when it "harvests" profits from those engines with contracts for maintenance and other back-up. He also says demand for engines from Asia is likely to slow.