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Summary

  1. Living standards higher than pre-crisis - for some
  2. European court victory for City
  3. Government sells Eurostar stake for £757m

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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Goodbye

Tom Espiner

Business reporter

That's the end of another interesting day for the business live page. We saw that living standards had risen for some people, ITV shares soared after better-than-expected profits, and reduced calorie sandwiches from Greggs have become more popular. See you tomorrow morning for more news.

Scottish Power sales ban

Radio 5 live

The 12 day "proactive"

sales ban for Scottish Power is appropriate, Ofgem's Sarah Harrison has told Radio Five live. "I think most people will understand that, if a company's struggling with customer service - i.e. to look after its existing customers - it probably should face a period where it can't take on new customers, and that's why this sanction is appropriate." She added that if customers independently decide they want to switch to Scottish Power "they're free to do so."

ITV results

Brenda Kelly
BBC

Brenda Kelly, a markets analyst, tells the BBC News channel that ITV's profit boost was partly down to more willingness among corporations to splash cash on adverts. "Ultimately, advertising spend is up, and it is down to a better economy, and a little bit extra to spend amongst corporations at the moment. So ITV making hay while the sun shines there."

Markets update

The FTSE 100 closed slightly higher at 6919.24, having gained 30.11 points.

ITV saw the biggest gains after it announced a full-year dividend of 4.7p, up 34%, and proposed a £250m special dividend worth 6.25p a share. Precious metals miner
Fresnillo saw the biggest drop after it posted lower-than-expected full-year profit.

Aluminium price-fixing dismissal

Banks Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and logistics firm Pacorini have won a dismissal of aluminium price-fixing claims in a US court. New York district judge Katherine Forrest said that complaints had failed to suggest the firms had participated in unlawful conduct.

RBS job cuts

BBC World News

Business editor Kamal Ahmed said it's "too difficult to tell" whether the RBS investment bank job cuts will be in the region of 14,000. "I interviewed the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland [Ross McEwan] last week... he said the job cuts would be significant."

McDonald's chickens

McDonald's restaurant, New York
Google

Fast food giant McDonald's has said it's going to stop using chickens that have been given antibiotics that are also given to humans, and stop taking milk from cows that have been given a specific artificial growth hormone. "Our customers want food that they feel great about eating," said Mike Andres, head of McDonald's USA. The food giant faces intensifying competition from smaller rivals positioning themselves as more wholesome alternatives.

RBS job cuts

BBC World News

Kamal Ahmed
BBC

With the news that RBS may shed around 14,000 investment banking jobs, BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed has told World Business Report that the industry has been hit by new regulations. "In the old days investment banking was where you made your money. In the new era of regulation, with very tight capital controls, investment banking is hard work."

Poland cuts bank rate

Poland's central bank has cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point to a historic low of 1.5% amid concerns over deflation. Most economists had expected a cut of 0.25 percentage points.

Wall Street open

In early US trading, the

Dow Jones opened down 123 points to stand at 18,080, and the
S&P 500 dropped 14.78 to 2,093. This could be the start of a second day of losses.

Greece bailout

Jean-Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel
Getty Images

It's "premature" to say whether Greece will be in line for a third bailout after it completes its existing programme, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has told a news conference. German chancellor Angela Merkel added that the eurozone has its "hands full" trying to make the second Greek bailout succeed.

Dirty property?

The Independent has a theory about why London's property prices are so wild. It's dirty money, it says. We are not going to illustrate this post with a picture in case the luxury mansion pictured has been bought perfectly legitimately through hard scrimping and saving... yeah, right.

ITV results

ITV shares
BBC

ITV shares are hovering around record highs after the broadcaster
posted better-than-expected profits of £605m. Shares have risen more than 5% to around 233p.

Jay Z and WiMP

High drama in the music streaming world today. Rapper Jay Z (Shawn Carter, or Mr Beyonce if you prefer) had offered $56m for Sweden's Aspiro, which owns the WiMP/Tidal service, a few weeks ago. Norwegian media group Schibsted, which owns a 76% stake, accepted the offer, but more than 10% of Aspiro's minority shareholders have now rejected it, meaning the deal can't go through as is. The rapper's Project Panther is yet to react.

Jay Z and Beyonce
Getty Images

Geneva motor show

Russell Hotten

Car
other

Our man with the oily rag is in Geneva at the motor show. He tells us the hottest car there is the 450th - and last - Bugatti Veyron to be manufactured. Until last year it was the fastest road car on the planet. Though perhaps calling it just a car is a bit unfair - we prefer pure automotive art. Jeremy Clarkson went a tad further: "It's rewritten the rulebook, moved the goalposts, and in the process given Mother Nature a bloody nose."

Household incomes

Brian Milligan

Personal Finance Reporter, BBC News

Incomes chart
other

This chart shows how over-60s have fared the best since the financial crisis struck.

Irish unemployment falls

Temple Bar
Getty Images

The number of

benefit claimants in the Irish Republic fell to 10.1% in February, another fall from a revised 10.3% in January. Those claiming jobless benefits fell by 4,300 to a seasonally adjusted 355,600, down from 450,000 shortly before Ireland entered its bailout.

Markets update

Lunchtime trade sees the

FTSE 100 down 0.2% at 6,876 points. The
Dax is up a touch at 11,289 and the
Cac 40 has added 0.3% to 4,883. The
pound is down 0.1% against the dollar at $1.5347 and against the euro is 0.26% higher at €1.3779.

Banker bonuses

Canary Wharf
Getty Images

The UK could face legal action if it fails to implement the European Union's new rules on capping banker bonuses. The European Banking Authority cap limits bonuses to no more than two times fixed salary. Most of the bankers hit by the cap are based in London and the EBA said in October that "allowances" paid by banks to boost fixed pay soften the bonus cap and breach EU rules.

Live long and prosper

Spocked dollar bill
other

The Toronto Sun doesn't feature often on Business Live. In fact it may be a first. But what a first. "Star Trek fans told to stop 'Spocking' Canadian $5 bill" by the Bank of Canada".

Take a look. Or the BBC's version of the story is
here.

Toyota moves

Toyota
Getty Images

Toyota is promoting two foreigners to senior roles. Didier Leroy, its European boss, will become one of six executive vice-presidents - the first non-Japanese employee to hold such a role. North America group vice-president Julie Hamp will become Toyota's managing officer - the first woman to hold an executive position.

Household incomes

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

IFS graph on living standards
other

retweets: "The rapid fall and slow rise of living standards: new
IFS projections and analysis."

Areva cost savings

Areva building
AFP

The French state-controlled nuclear group Areva has a new strategy. It will focus on its nuclear business, which will boost its partnership with utility EDF. It's made losses in the past four years. Now it plans to have made cost savings of 1bn euros (£727m, $1.12bn) by 2017.

Greggs results

Greggs share price graph
BBC

Greggs shares have gained well after its results - up 3.4%. Earlier it said it made gains from property disposal of £1.5m (2013: £1.3m). Its pre-tax profit was up 41.1% to £58.3m (2013: £41.3m).

Via Twitter

Robert Peston

Economics editor

tweets: "A win is a win, but @George_Osborne will note ECJ ruled on ECB's lack of authority not on merit of discrimination against non-euro members"

Scottish Power

Pylons
Getty Images

Scottish Power has been banned from "proactive sales" for 12 days by
Ofgem for failing to meet customer service targets. The energy supplier said it was committed to treating customers fairly.

Indian economy

World Service

Arya
BBC

A trip not to Bollywood but Tollywood for

Business Matters presenter Fergus Nicoll in the latest instalment of the programme's trip to Chennai in southern India. Fergus asks how far economic development is provoking social change and interviews Tamil language film star Arya (pictured left). Listen
here.

Tesco board

Tesco
Getty Images

More boardroom moves at

Tesco. Gareth Bullock is stepping down from the main board tomorrow after almost five years, but will remain a director of Tesco Bank. He follows Jacqueline Tammenoms and Liv Garfield, who said last week they would leave. Byron Grote - a director of Unilever, Anglo American, Standard Chartered and Akzo Nobel - will join from 1 May.

Via Twitter

Simon Nixon, chief European commentator for the Wall Street Journal,

tweets:

Huge upward surprise in eurozone retail sales, up 1.1% on month compared to consensus forecast of 0.2%. More evidence recovery strengthening.

@Simon_Nixon

Shopping
Getty Images

Household incomes

BBC Radio 4

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie, accepts that

incomes have improved for some, but not most people: "The Chancellor has got a plan which is very much focussed on that trickle-down philosophy lavishing tax cuts on those at the top - and the people at the top are doing very well. It's the question about 90% of the rest of the country - what is happening to them? And for them life is getting much harder."

Market update

Here are the market numbers. London's

FTSE 100 is down 0.12% at 6,880.78. Frankfurt's
Dax is down 0.41% at 11,234.49 and Paris's
Cac 40 is up 0.05% at 4,871.87. The
pound is down 0.13% against the dollar at $1.5344 and is up 0.28% at 1.3783. Ho hum.

Eurozone economy

More good news. The January services PMI for the 19-country eurozone, which is up one point to 53.7 - but a touch under the flash reading of 53.9. "The outlook has brightened for all countries," says Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Euro ruling

Euro notes
Getty Images

Good news for the City after the General Court of the European Union ruled that the European Central Bank was wrong to insist that euro clearing houses be based in the eurozone. Britain had challenged the policy, saying it went against the bloc's single market.

Economy CBI

Radio 5 live

John Cridland the CBI chief got in a couple of requests for George Osborne via

Wake Up to Money: "Lower taxes on business because if you give business money they can create more jobs. But we need to invest in childcare support for low paid families. The cost of childcare is holding them back from taking jobs."

Household incomes

BBC Radio 4

Chancellor George Osborne, has been talking to the BBC: "The picture you hear, particularly from my political opponents, of the British economy, is not one reflected in this independent report. Indeed quite the opposite - what they show is that Britain is growing, that incomes are rising, that the richest have made the biggest contribution, that inequality has fallen."

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered
Getty Images

No great surprise, perhaps, that outgoing

Standard Chartered chief executive Peter Sands - and three other directors - have decided not to take a bonus for last year considering that the bank's pre-tax profits fell by a quarter to $5.1bn (£3.3bn). With a touch of understatement, chairman Sir John Peace says: "2014 was a challenging year and our performance was disappointing."

Household incomes

More on that research suggesting

living standards in the UK have now returned to levels last seen before the financial crash. The IFS says incomes are now rising at more than 1% a year. Its director, Paul Johnson, says there is not much to trumpet about: "It's astonishing actually that seven years later incomes are still no higher than they were pre-recession and indeed for working-age households they're still a bit below where they were pre-recession."

BlackBerry

BBC World News

Technology correspondent

Rory Cellan-Jones has been speaking to John Chen, the boss of BlackBerry, on
World Business Report. Rory asks him if he can imagine company no longer making handsets: "It's a little bit of speculation at the moment. I would say this: for our shareholders, nothing is sacred." Perhaps sales volumes speak louder than words.