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Live Reporting

By Howard Mustoe and Joe Miller

All times stated are UK

Joe Miller

Business Reporter

That's it from us, thanks for all your contributions. Join us from 6am tomorrow for the best of business news, including AstraZeneca's full year results.

GSK on UK politics

GSK chief executive Sir Andrew Witty has been asked about the recent spat between business and Labour. "About 97% of our business is outside the UK," he said, so the "state of global activity" has much more influence on GSK. But, he said: "we want a strong commitment to science" from whoever is in the next government.

Via Email

Who wants to be an engineer?

Justin Davies

Livepage reader and software engineer

There are lots of jobs for software engineers but they normally want a science, maths or IT degree and experience. Online programming training will not open many doors... A good first step would be Software Testing. Getting a BCS foundation certificate will open doors and the cost is small if you do the learning at home. From Testing you can progress your career if you feel it's right for you. One key point to note is salary stats can be very misleading. To get a good salary could mean moving.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

"The IFS has provided

a useful numerical way of understanding Tories' and Labour's conflicting economic visions - which is essentially that the Conservatives believe the imperative is to cut debt and the size of the state, whereas Labour wants potentially bigger budgets for building roads, rail and schools, and for funding the police and prisons (both parties promise to protect spending on health, education and overseas aid)."

Taking Office

Office Depot
Office Depot

Office supplies chain Staples is buying rival firm Office Depot in a cash-and-stock deal valued at nearly $6bn, says Associated Press. The deal values Office Depot at $11 per share - last night, they were changing hands at $7.63.

Glaxo HIV drug sale

GlaxoSmithKline hired investment bankers Citi, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to advise it on its HIV medicine business ViiV Healthcare, Sky news reports. It could

sell shares in the business to the public, says Sky. That's one option among several, it adds.

Via Blog

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

The Archbishop of Canterbury has entered the febrile debate about the role of business in society, telling me that high levels of inequality must be tackled. In an interview at Lambeth Palace, Archbishop Justin Welby said that businesses had to consider how they used their powerful positions to support society... The Archbishop kept

his strongest comments for the role taxes play in ensuring that companies contribute to the societies in which they operate.

Via Email

Greek debt

Nigel Cassidy

BBC News

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Reuters

The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has just made a rapid appearance alongside the European Parliament president Martin Schulz in Brussels on his whistle-stop tour of EU capitals to drum up support for a less onerous bailout deal. He said the goal was to respect the mandate of the Greek people but also the rules of the EU. Martin Schulz said difficult times lay ahead but he was optimistic of a solution.

Via Email

China rate cut

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

Usually as effective as a rate cut, China cutting the amount of cash that banks need to hold to boost growth that has slowed considerably. I believe it's the first required reserve ratio (RRR) cut since May 2012, although there have been cuts for select small lenders. But, banks are still holding a considerable 19.5% to meet reserve requirements so it's a small but notable cut of 0.5%.

Debating cows

Nigel Evans, a Conservative MP from Ribble Valley in Lancashire, tells the committee: "It's time we all wake up and smell the coffee... but what's the use of smelling the coffee unless it's got British milk in it. Also some toast with British butter on it and a slab of Lancashire cheese".

Debating cows

Westminster Hall
BBC

Over in the House of Commons, politicians are discussing the pressures on UK dairy farmers - a combination of rising supply and falling demand. There are high costs too - keeping cattle well fed and healthy costs about 30p per litre of milk produced. Our colleague in Westminster, Chris Davies, says he has never seen such a packed committee room. "There's votes in them there cows!" he says.

China rate cut

China has cut its "reserve requirement ratio" for banks by 0.5% in a move designed to boost lending.

Good service

Services
Thinkstock

Away from the doom and gloom of the IFS's predictions, the UK's service sector expanded faster than expected in January, a survey has suggested. The purchasing managers' index from Markit/CIPS rose to 57.2 in January compared with December's reading of 55.8, which was a 17-month low. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

Via Twitter

Duncan Weldon

BBC Newsnight

IFS in one tweet: fiscal repair job half done, pain under everyone's plans but huge gap between parties, tax rises likely post-election.

Via Twitter

Duncan Weldon

BBC Newsnight

IFS Green Budget: difference in departmental cuts between Conservative & Labour plans is approx £20bn. Huge gap between the parties.

UK public spending

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says the worst of the UK's spending cuts are still to come. It says over the next four years the UK is planning the largest fiscal consolidation out of 32 advanced economies. It would mean public spending falling to its lowest share of national income since at least 1948 and fewer people working in the public sector than at any time since at least 1971.

Via Twitter

Asa Bennett, @HuffPostUK business reporter

IFS: UK planning biggest cuts package out of 32 advanced economies over 2015-2019

Newspaper review

news
BBC

The Wall St Journal leads on

BP's abandonment of oil projects, The Times reports on
soaring equity markets as fears of a Greek exit of the eurozone subside,
as does the Telegraph. The FT says the European Central Bank is
blocking a plan for Athens to raise short-term funding while a new bailout is agreed.

Via Email

Who wants to be an engineer?

Mr Stacey adds: "It is important to note that being an engineer will not automatically lead to quick riches, but it does lead to employability"

Via Email

Who wants to be an engineer?

Peter Stacey has some advice for wannabe engineer Martin Pollard. "There is a huge shortage of software engineers in this country, and so I would recommend programming classes followed by internationally recognised qualifications such as provided by the IEEE or Microsoft. Such a route is made easier today by the rise of online courses, which also drives down the cost."

Market update

Hong Kong stocks rose 0.51% after rallies in Europe and New York on hopes Greece will be able agree a debt deal with creditors. The benchmark

Hang Seng Index added 124.98 points to 24,679.76.
Japan's Nikkei closed up 2% as banks led the index higher following a profit jump from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Via Twitter

Mark Broad

Economics reporter, BBC News

Archbishop @JustinWelby tells @BBCKamal 'Business is important, we need to affirm the significance of those who generate and create wealth'

Markets update

After closing near its record high on Tuesday, the FTSE 100 has slipped back in early trade. Yesterday, the FTSE rose more than 1% to close at 6,871.8 - a four-month high and near to its record closing level of 6,930.2 reached in 1999. However this morning it fell 9 points to 6862.78.

Taiwan plane crash

Video footage taken by a motorist showed the TransAsia Airways plane careening over a motorway shortly after it took off from Taipei airport on a domestic flight.

Image of plane crashing over bridge in Taiwan (4 Jan 2015 - image by @Missxoxo168)
@Missxoxo168

Via Email

Who wants to be an engineer?

Martin Pollard

Livepage reader

"Read this with interest. I'm a 37 year-old-former arts student with c.15 yrs experience working in a bank, and with a family and mortgage to pay. But I might like to become a scientist and/or engineer to help fill the gap. How would I become one?" Can any readers offer advice from personal experience? bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Via Twitter

Gavin Hewitt

Europe editor

Juncker and Tsipras hold hands and smile but that doesn't disguise the tension over the Greek crisis #Greece

Via Twitter

Gavin Hewitt

Europe editor

Italian PM Renzi told new Greek PM Tsipras that he was a 'blessing' because it meant Renzi was no longer Europe's number 1 'dangerous lefty'

Sony job cuts

While Micromax is booming in India, another smartphone-maker is suffering from the increasingly competitive market. Japanese firm Sony says it is cutting a further 1,100 jobs in its mobile phone unit, as it retreats from China, where cheaper rivals are on the rise.

Via Email

Greek debt

Simon Jack

Business correspondent, BBC News

Prof Bofinger adds if Angela Merkel were running the US Treasury and Jens Wiedmann was running the Federal Reserve, the world would be in a depression now. Brave words for someone who has to meet with Mrs Merkel frequently. Listen to him talk to the

Today programme from his office at the University of Wurzburg.

Greek debt

BBC Radio 4

Bofinger
BBC

More from Prof Bofinger. In the US, UK, Japan and China, high budget deficits are still the norm, he says. And their economies are doing well. "I think the German approach is something you can do... but if everyone does it, it would be a disaster."

Greek debt

BBC Radio 4

Peter Bofinger, a member of Germany's Council of Economic Experts, or "Five Wise Men", is on Today, talking about Greek PM Alexis Tsipras. "I think he is playing a dangerous game... its a very specific chicken game, its more or less a chicken flying into the engine of a jet, it could be dangerous for both sides," he says.

Micromax

Simon Atkinson, Editor, BBC India Business Report

"When I moved to India about a year ago, the first TV commercial I saw was a fairly cheesy ad for Micromax starring Aussie actor Hugh Jackman. I'd never heard of the brand but soon realised how big it was - so am not surprised

it's overtaken Samsung as India's biggest smartphone seller. It's a huge market. Millions upgrade to smartphones every month."

Sky's the limit

Fortitude
Sky

Entertainment group Sky says it made a pre-tax profit of £1.2bn in the last half of 2014, a rise of almost 140% on the same time period in 2013. Fortitude, Sky's new psychological thriller starring Michael Gambon, Sofie Grabol, and a host of other big names, is cited by boss Jeremy Darroch as an example of "the potential we now have to operate at greater scale".

Market listings

wizz
Wizz air

Higher FTSE means market flotations, of course. Wizz Air, a low-cost carrier in central and eastern Europe, says it plans to sell shares to the public, hoping to raise €150m. In other news, HSS Hire, which rents out tools, will offer shares for 210 pence apiece.

Future drugs

BBC Radio 4

"There are huge changes in the way people will be treated for cancer," says Dr Mick Cooper, head of healthcare research at Edison Investment Research. He's being asked on

Today what pharmaceutical companies will do when they lose their patents. Immunotherapy, where a person's own immune system attacks cancer cells, is a big growth area, he says.

Peaking FTSE

Radio 5 live

FTSE 100
AFP

London's main share index, the FTSE 100, could very well reach an all time high today. There's a "yearning for yield," Gemma Godfrey tells Wake up to Money, at a time when interest rates are so low that other investments offer a very low return.

Market commentary

BBC Radio 4

FTSE
BBC

Gemma Godfrey, head of investment strategy at Brooks Macdonald, is on

Today, explaining the recent rally in UK stocks. "There are quite a few tailwinds for the FTSE," she says. That's City-speak for reasons shares are on the up. A weaker pound has boosted foreign earnings, and we are seeing debt renegotiations - rather than a much-feared exit of the eurozone - for Greece, she explains.

Lenovo results

lenovo
Reuters

Shares in Lenovo rose nearly 6% in Hong Kong, a day after it announced a third-quarter profit that beat analysts' forecasts. The world's biggest maker of personal computers said it earned $253m in the period, although that's a 5% drop from a year ago. Revenue is up - it flogged more mobile phones after buying Motorola Mobility from Google.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Business Correspondent

Lord Browne tells #WUTM costs need to come down in North Sea oil; industry has become "bloated...some companies will go to the wall"

Who wants to be an engineer?

Radio 5 live

Brian Cox
BBC

Adam Parsons, whose father, he tells us, was an engineer, has been chatting about the future of the profession

with none other than him-off-the-telly, Prof Brian Cox. He says we need "over a million more qualified engineers and scientists in the economy by 2020" to fulfil existing demand. We'll only fill this gap with immigration, says the Prof.