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  1. Sainsbury's sales fall 1.9% in fourth quarter
  2. North Sea oil industry set for a Budget tax cut
  3. Report says Trinity Mirror in talks to buy Daily Express
  4. Craft beer and e-cigarettes added to inflation basket

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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Russell Hotten

Business reporter

That's all from today's live page. We'll be back from 06.00 tomorrow with news throughout the day on the Budget. It could get busy.

Market update

Wall Street continued to drift as investors await a Federal Reserve statement on Wednesday that could signal the future for interest rates. The Dow Jones index was down 0.68% while the S&P 500 was 0.4% lower. Investors are anxious to see if the Fed drops the word "patient" in describing its timetable for raising interest rates. Most economists expect the word to be removed.


Greek flags fly as a tourist walks by a souvenirs shop in Athens on Monday, 9 March, 2015

The Greek drama continues. Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem says Greece is running out of cash by the day, and that a new debt deal is urgently needed. Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis was brisk in his reply. Athens wont be "blackmailed" he says, adding that Mr Dijsselbloem's comments were outside his remit. "It would be useful for everyone for Mr Dijsselbloem to respect his institutional role in the eurozone." Ouch.

BHS stores

BHS store
Getty Images


new owners of the BHS retail chain have appointed consultants to look at the future of the stores. A spokesman said "certain loss-making stores might be sold at the right price". But BHS said just because a store is "under review" it does not mean closure is "the only option".

Market update

FTSE 100 graph

London's benchmark

FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.49% at 6,837.61 points, bucking the European trend. In Frankfurt the Dax 30 fell 1.54% to 11,980.85 points, a day after breaching the 12,000-point level for the first time. The Cac 40 in Paris shed 0.64% to 5,028.93 points.

ECB protests

Barbed wire outside new ECB building

Barbed wire and fortified concrete barriers have gone up around the new European Central Bank HQ in Frankfurt ahead of tomorrow's official opening. The Blockupy (rhymes with Occupy - geddit?) alliance of anti-capitalist protesters promises that about 10,000 demonstrators from across Europe will be there to spoil the fun.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

The fall in inflation expectations generates an annual windfall for the Treasury of around £6bn." Find out more about this Budget windfall in

Robert's latest blog.

Market update

share price graph

Despite the FTSE 100 treading water, there are some big movers. Tullow Oil, down 30% this year after the tumble in crude prices, was the index's leader, up 5.5%. Centrica, owner of British Gas, rose 4.89%. But Tesco fell 2.28% The FTSE 100 was up 0.29%, or 19.8 points, at 6,823.89.

Etihad Airways

Etihad plane

The chief executive of fast-growing Etihad Airways calls the Gulf carrier a "David" fighting "Goliaths". In his first public comments since three US airlines launched a campaign against Etihad over alleged unfair state subsidies, James Hogan said his rivals were gifted airports, terminals, landing rights and "amazing infrastructure" over decades. "To take them on, we've had to work harder and we've had to work smarter," he says in a speech.

US interest rates

File photo: Christine Lagarde, 13 Mary 2014
Getty Images

IMF head Christine Lagarde warns that emerging markets must prepare for the impact of a rise in US interest rates. In a speech in India she said there was a risk of a repeat of the so-called "taper tantrum" seen in 2013, when speculation about a change in US monetary policy sparked a global market sell-off. "I'm afraid this [taper tantrum] may not be a one-off episode.... The timing of interest rate lift-off and the pace of subsequent rate increases can still surprise."

TSB takeover

The board of Sabadell, the Spanish bank that wants to buy TSB, is expected to meet on Thursday, with the Spanish bank set to formalise its £1.76bn takeover offer. Lloyds Banking Group, which owns 50% of TSB, has already said it was minded to accept the offer.

TSB shares were flat at 327p in afternoon trading.

Market update

Street sign for Wall Street
Getty Images

US stock markets are lower as oil prices continue to fall and investors wait for clues about when the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates. The Dow Jones is down 0.78%, and the Nasdaq 0.24% off. The S&P 500 fell 0.48%. The Fed will make a statement later this week.

Via Twitter


tweets: Edinburgh-based photo sharing service @Blipfoto - one of Scotland's brightest tech stars - has collapsed. But liquidators exploring sale.

Car tech

eCall car

A plan to fit all new cars sold in the European Union from March 2018 with technology to contact emergency services after an accident moves a step closer. The European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted 26-3 favour of the eCall technology. A vote by the full European Parliament will be held in April.

Via Email

St Patrick's Day

In response to our question about office St Patrick's Day parties, Business Live reader Ian Hutchinson writes: "Just cooked and served St. Patrick's day themed lunch in the Samsung canteen at Weybridge."

Russell Hotten

Business reporter

Thanks to Ben and Chris for livepage until now. A new team has taken over. Don't forget, you can get in touch via email or tweet @bbcbusiness

Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

Microsoft's Band goes on sale in Britain in April after being on the market in the US for a few months. BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has been putting the fitness gadget through its paces - and asks whether its design will deter potential users. Read more


Cement mega-merger


The board of Lafarge is expected to meet this afternoon to consider new, less favourable terms in a bid to save its €42bn cement mega-merger with Holcim, which pulled the plug on Monday. It wants the "marriage of equals", which calls for Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont to become chief executive of the combined group, to be revised. The question will be how many concessions Lafarge is willing to make to keep the deal from crumbling.

Trader banned

A former Rabobank trader has become the first person permanently banned from the British financial services industry over rigging Libor interest rates. The Financial Conduct Authority said Paul Robson, who last year pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to manipulate Rabobank's yen-denominated Libor submissions, lacked honesty and integrity. It is the first public action by the regulator against a trader for rigging Libor. The FCA's Georgina Philippou says: "He knew what he was doing was wrong."

Mortgage lending

UK mortgage lending to home buyers fell 26% in January compared with the previous month to just 41,400 loans and was 16% lower than January 2014, the

Council of Mortgage Lenders said. There there 19,000 loans for first-time buyers - the lowest figure for 21 months. Rapid rises in house prices and tighter regulation of mortgage lending has kept some prospective buyers out of the market.

US housing

Construction workers, Washington
Getty Images

Still in the US, February was slow month for housebuilders. Housing starts slumped 17% from January, to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 897,000 units, according to the

Commerce Department. That's the lowest level since the beginning of 2014. Severe winter weather last month is being blamed. But the outlook is brighter: approved building permits rose 3% compared with January.

Mall wars


Santa Monica-based Macerich, the US shopping centre owner being targeted by rival operator Simon Property Group, has rejected its $22bn offer, claiming it "substantially undervalues" the company and was not in the best interests of stockholders.

Asian infrastructure bank

Hong Kong
Getty Images

In the wake of

US displeasure at Britain joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Germany and France have said today they will follow suit. The bank is seen as a rival to the US-led World Bank and a part of China's "soft power" drive. It was launched in Beijing last year to support investment in transport, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure in Asia.

Pinterest fundraising

Getty Images

Pinterest, the scrapbook-style social network, has raised $367m (£248m) from both new and existing investors, bringing its valuation to $11bn. The new funds will help fuel global expansion plans and the company may raise a further $211m. Users outside the US now account for 40% of Pinterest's total - up from 28% in 2013.

Via Twitter

Alexis Tsipras

Dominic Laurie

BBC World Service business presenter

Greek PM will visit Putin in Moscow on April 8th. Cue news meltdown.


'Taper tantrum'

Getty Images

IMF supremo Christine Lagarde is worried. Worried the "taper tantrum" that hit emerging markets in 2013 could return. What, pray tell, is this phenomenon? It can happen when investors worry that loose monetary policy - such as quantitative easing - could suddenly change, which she says can create "substantial market volatility". So there you have it.

Google doodle


It's St Patrick's Day, in case you had forgotten, and Google has trotted out a rather fun

doodle to mark the event. Are you having an office St Paddy's party? Let us know at

Via Twitter

Jonathan De Mello

Head of Retail, Haper Dennis Hobbs

In terms of the [IMRG] study on grocery prices, Sainsburys came out higher than Waitrose for a basket of goods! (£60.15 vs £59.98). Aldi? £42.15.

Labour: Minimum wage

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna complains that the

rise in the minimum wage does not match the increase to £7 per hour promised by the Chancellor earlier in the current parliament. It also does not match Labour's "aspiration" to get the level to £8 per hour. He also wants better enforcement of the minimum wage rules.

Trinity Mirror


Responding to the Times story about its interest in buying the Express, Trinity Mirror has confirmed to the stock market that it is at "an early stage of evaluating certain of Northern & Shell's assets" - referring to Richard Desmond's company. "There is no certainty that any agreement will be reached in respect of the range of outcomes currently under consideration."

Cuts warning

Business secretary, Vince Cable

On the

News Channel business secretary Vince Cable responds to comments by the head of the National Audit Office who said that civil servants could be making deep cuts, without knowing what sort of damage they might cause. Mr Cable says it's a "very salutary warning". There isn't much scope for deep cuts without doing serious damage, he says. That's why the Liberal Democrats want a better balance between taxes and spending, he adds.

Inflation basket changes

More from the ONS inflation basket. Yoghurt drinks have been kicked out due to falling sales, while changes in interior design taste are also reflected: white emulsion paint has been replaced by coloured paint. And protein powder is another new entry - a "distinct and growing sector".

Via Twitter

Rory Cellan-Jones

Technology correspondent

Still nothing from Polaroid or Blip about the demise of @Blipfoto - what happens to the millions of photos held on the site?

Ikea ban

Ikea store, Wembley

Ikea has banned games of hide-and-seek in its Dutch stores,

according to Bloomberg. Back in July last year, the Swedish retailer allowed one game and 500 people joined in. But the company told Bloomberg the game was "hard to control" and says it will not authorise other games.

Inflation basket changes

Craft brewery in Hackney, London

The Office for National Statistics has released its annual review of the basket of goods and services that make up its inflation calculations. E-cigarettes and craft beer have been added. Music streaming services and headphones are also newcomers. Interestingly satellite navigation devices (sat navs) are being removed because many drivers navigate with their smart phones, according to the ONS. There are 703 items in the current basket.

Via Twitter

Minimum wage

Robert Peston

Economics editor

How generous is 3% rise in minimum wage?

Hugo Boss shares

Hugo Boss
Getty Images

Investment consortium Red & Black, which is 60% owned by the private equity firm Permira, has sold its holding in Hugo Boss for about €950m (£680m). That leaves Italy's Marzotto family as the German fashion group's biggest shareholder. The 11.9% stake was sold at €113 a share.

Hugo Boss shares have risen 27% in the past year and the company is worth €8.4bn.