That's it for today. We're back tomorrow from 06:00. Eurozone growth figures are out, which should give us something to chew over. See you then.
- The morning's main business programmes are available on the Live Coverage tab
- Shell 'warned Nigeria pipeline could leak before spills'
- Oil price falls to four-year low
- Virgin Money raises £150m from share sale
Asda chief executive Andy Clarke has joined the bosses of the other major supermarkets in declaring that "a new reality is upon us". He's talking about changes in customer shopping habits like the growth in online shopping and the threat from discount supermarkets. Yesterday, Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said industry like-for-like sales would be lower for a number of years to come.
Reporter for Five Live
Warren Buffett - through his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm - is buying the Duracell battery business from Procter and Gamble, reports Bloomberg news.Back in October P&G said it planned to exit the battery business, as part of an effort to slim down the consumer goods giant.
Ed Cox, northern director, Institute for Public Policy Research
Now that Sky (formerly BSkyB) has created a European giant, what's next?Deadline Hollywood speculates that Rupert Murdoch could sell his 39% stake in Sky, worth up to $5bn, to fund another bid for Time Warner. However, back in August Mr Murdoch said he was "resolute" in dropping his bid for the US media giant. We'll see how resolute.
Supermarket Asda says underlying sales turned negative in its third quarter, hit by tough market conditions which have pushed sales volume growth lower and price deflation. Asda, which vies with Sainsbury's for the title of the UK's second largest supermarket behind Tesco, says sales at stores open over a year fell 1.6% in the three months to the end of September. That compares to a 0.5% rise in like-for-like sales in the previous three months.
One of Apple's most important suppliers, Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, has reported an 11% rise in net profit in the third quarter to $1.14bn (£724m), according to the AFP news agency. Hon Hai is better know by its trade name, Foxconn. Almost half of the company's revenue is generated by orders from Apple.
Will OPEC try to halt the decline price of oil? They can try, says Capital Economics: "Even if the cartel does cut its official output target, this would best be seen as a response to the lack of demand for the cartel's oil rather than a serious attempt to drive prices higher again." OPEC nations meet on 27 November.
British American Tobacco (BAT) says it will challenge allegations by HMRC that it oversupplied cigarettes to Belgium, that were than smuggled back to the UK. HMRC has imposed a £650,000 fine on BAT, but the company says it cannot be held responsible for the actions of smugglers and consumers that bring back cheap cigarettes on so called fag ferries. "We are not a law enforcement agency," it said in a statement.
A group of 61 economists, academics and other forecasters surveyed by the European Central Bank (ECB) expect eurozone inflation of 1% next year and 1.4% in 2016, data released today shows. That's down from earlier forecasts of 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. They add falling oil prices and widespread political tensions could lead to a slowdown in economic growth to 1.2% next year, from a previous estimate of 1.5%.
How do you make £2.8bn disappear from the UK budget deficit? It might sound like a magic trick, or at the very least a rhetorical question. The BBC's head of statistics Anthony Reubenexplains why working out how much debt we're all in is actually quite a tricky business.
Mark Williams, chief Asia economist, Capital Economics
Today's activity and spending data have brought further evidence that Q4 has got off to a slow start. But with President Xi sounding relaxed about the prospect of a drop to 7% GDP growth, a shift in policy still seems unlikely.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has released its latest mortgage arrears and repossessions data for the three months to the end of September. Once again the figures show a drop in both people falling behind in their mortgage payments or having their home repossessed. The number of mortgage borrowers in arrears was 125,100, down from 131,400 three months earlier. The proportion of all properties repossessed by mortgage lenders was 0.04%, or 5,000 properties, the CML adds.
The pound is heading lower again, adding to Wednesday's loss. Comments from Bank of England governor, Mark Carney reinforced the feeling that interest rates are not heading higher in the UK anytime soon. The pound traded as low as $1.5756 - the lowest level since September of last year.
Brent crude oil fell to a four-year lowbelow $80 a barrel this morning, after Chinese data showed a further slowdown in activity in the world's biggest energy consumer and Saudi Arabia remained silent about a possible cut in production. Brent crude for December, which expires today fell 83 cents to $79.55, its lowest since September 2010, before recovering slightly to around $79.85.
SABMiller is the biggest brewer in China,but sales there have been hit in the last couple of months by poor weather in the central regions, the company's chief executive Alan Clark says on World Business Report. He thinks it is a short term issue. Soft drinks are becoming increasingly important for the company and now account for 20% of its sales volume, Mr Clark says.
Personal finance reporter, BBC News
BBC Radio 4
Amazon is advertising for staff to work on its drone delivery project in Cambridge, England. OnToday Andrew Griffiths from DroneFlight.co.uk points out the legal difficulties of drone delivery, one being that you cannot fly a vehicle out of your line of sight. He says an option might be to have official flight lanes and drop off points.
On average British homes are the smallest in western Europe. Steph McGovern is at a building site in Nottingham this morning forBreakfast, where she is illustrating the larger houses recommended by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Its one floor, one bedroom house is 6 square meters bigger than the current average.
German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble has defended European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who has faced calls to go following reports Luxembourg - where he was prime minister for 20 years - granted deals to some 340 companies allowing them to avoid tax. Mr Schaeuble told German radio today: "The practice is annoying but to make personal accusations out of it? There was no breach of any legal rules. The same thing was done in other countries."
European markets have opened a little higher so far this morning. In Paris good earnings news from French telecoms firm Iliad and plans to return money to shareholders at turbine maker Alstom have helped investor sentiment. TheLondon Stock Exchange is leading early gains in London up 1.5%, following its half-year earnings update earlier today.
There's been a lot of data on the Chinese economy this morning and it all points to a continued slowdown.
- Industrial production growth falls to 7.7% in October
- Power generation fell in October, the third month of decline
- Retail sales growth slows to 11.5% in October
The Financial Times reports today thatsenior Whitehall officials fear a promise made by prime minister David Cameron to make £7.2bn of tax cuts in the next parliament will undermine already fragile public finances. Mr Cameron made the promise during the Conservative party conference. Treasury officials are increasingly worried they will be forced to rely on a narrowing band of taxpayers to plug the deficit, the newspaper reports.
Shell was warned that a pipeline in Nigeria could leak, before it spilled hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. BBC Business Reporter, Howard Mustoe has seen court documents showing that Shell's own executives were concerned about the state of the pipeline.
BSkyB has announced that it has completed the takeover of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. Both broadcasters were previously owned by 21st Century Fox. The company is also changing its name from BSkyB to Sky.
Broadcaster ITV has reported an 8% rise in revenue to £1.8bn. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier, says the broadcaster is on course to "deliver another year of double digit profit growth". He also said 2015 looks strong with the return of hit show Broadchurch, the Rugby World Cup and new shows including Thunderbirds Are Go!
Virgin Money has priced shares at 283p each ahead of its stock market flotation later this month. That would give the company a market value of £1.25bn. Shares are expected to start trading on 18 November. The share sale will raise £150m for Virgin Money.
BBC Radio 4
Some fascinating reporting by Simon Cox fromRadio 4's The Report. He has been investigating Tesco's relationship with its suppliers in the run up to its accounting problems. Suppliers were being asked for lump sums, which is not unusual in the supermarket business. But its seems Tesco was being very aggressive, particularly as sales started to slow, says Simon. One former Tesco buyer told him it was a "brutal" environment.
BBC Radio 4
Steven Bell, chief economist at F&C Asset Management says that an unethical culture at banks led to the trading scandal onToday. But, he says, that culture is changing as compliance officers are now in charge. Before they just sat in the corner and were ignored, according to Mr Bell.
Radio 5 live
Alistair Phillips-Davies, the chief executive of energy firm SSE is onWake Up to Money. His company did some polling recently and found that customers believe that 25% of their bill goes towards company profits. But profits only make up between 3% and 4%, he says. Mr Phillips-Davies hopes an official review into the energy market will help clarify the true state of the market in the public's mind.
Radio 5 live
Steve Bell chief economist, F&C Asset Management tellsWake Up to Money: "The public think bankers are all spivs and crooks and it's going to take a long time before that changes." Banks now employ thousands and thousands of compliance officers and "have lost their buccaneering spirit," he says.
"Why aren't crooked bankers in prison?"asks the Daily Mail today. The article does not really answer the question but does say that "dozens" of traders face prosecution following yesterday's massive fines for five banks for fixing the currency markets. An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is now expected to escalate, says the article.
Radio 5 live
Mr Broadbent reiterates the Bank of England's position on interest rates. "We expect the path of interest rates to be different than in the past and the rise in interest rates to be gentler and more gradual. But we have also said that the timing of an interest rate rise is less important than the rate of increase."
Radio 5 live
More from Bank of England deputy governor, Ben Broadbent: "There are signs that productivity is beginning to improve though and that is the real driver of wage rises," he says onWake Up to Money. He expects that trend to continue over the next few years and "for things to begin to return to normal".
The giant toymaker Hasbro is in talks to buy the animated movie studio, Dreamworks,according to the New York Times. Dreamworks has been up for sale for a while and recently held takeover talks with Japan's Softbank. Hasbro's chief executive has long wanted to build an entertainment business, the report says.