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Summary

  1. US shares rise on merger news and housing market data
  2. UK launches investigation into alleged pension data misuse
  3. Ford targets China with Lincoln Continental revival

Live Reporting

By Joe Miller

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Joe Miller

Business Reporter

That's all from the Business Live page here in New York. Join my colleagues in London from 06:00 tomorrow.

Continental revival

Continental
AP

Speaking of cars, here's a 1958 Lincoln Continental, to jog your memories. Mark III, in case you were wondering.

'Not a car'

Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that a "major new Tesla product line",

which will be unveiled on 30 April. He adds it is "not a car".

iPhone trade

iPhone
Reuters

In its latest bid to capture even more of the market, Apple has launched a trade-in scheme through which customers with Android, Blackberry or Windows smartphones can get credit towards a new iPhone,

according to 9To5Mac. No word yet on how much the firm is offering for its rivals' handsets.

Unlimited milk

Milk
PA

The EU's 30-year-old milk quotas are coming to an end tomorrow, reports the BBC's Johny Cassidy. "The quotas were first introduced in order to put the brakes on over-production in the 1970s, but the global demand for milk and dairy products means the quotas are stopping UK and EU farmers from cashing in. They finish at midnight tomorrow. End of an era."

Backing Bernanke

Ben Bernanke's first blog, which we mentioned earlier (13:28), has received an enthusiastic

endorsement from the New York Times' resident economist Paul Krugman. "The image of the little old lady living hand to mouth off the interest on her bank account is basically a fiction," says Mr Krugman, as he backs up the former Fed chief's defence of low interest rates.

Women and guns

World Service

Getty
Getty Images

Why are more women buying guns in the US?

Business Daily has the answer, with a special report by Jane O'Brien from a women-only club at a Virginia shooting range.

US home sales

Sales
Getty Images

So-called "pending" home sales in the US - contracts that have been signed, but not yet finalised -

rose by 3.1% in February, to the highest level since June 2013. The growth was strongest in the Midwest and West, but sales in the South and Northeast fell.

Continental revival

Continental
AP

The Lincoln Continental is back. Ahead of the New York Auto Show,

Ford announced it would revive the iconic model, which it stopped production of 13 years ago. The luxury brand is popular in China, apparently.

China's conundrum

Xi Jinping
Getty Images

"To maintain economic growth, China is straining to promote innovation, but by enforcing a political chill on Chinese campuses Xi risks suppressing precisely the disruptive thinking that the country needs for the future," writes Evan Osnos in a comprehensive

profile of China's president for the New Yorker. "At times, politics prevails over rational calculations," he synopsises.

Via Twitter

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

Profits at Prada tumbled 28% last year as sales took a hit in Europe & Asia;

1st drop since listing in HK 4 years ago.

Matzo machines

Streit's
Streit's

Eventually, even a centuries-old tradition must yield to modernity. Streit's, which has been baking matzos (unleavened bread eaten by Jews during Passover) in New York's Lower East Side for 90 years, is to close its doors and go digital,

moving to a computerised plant outside of Manhattan. It's no small enterprise - annual sales reportedly exceed $20m.

Market update

Time for an update on the US markets. The main indexes are all up, boosted by merger news in the pharmaceutical sector.

  • The
    Dow Jones is up 1.5% to 17,978.31
  • The
    S&P 500 is up 1% to 2,081.62
  • The tech-heavy
    Nasdaq is up 0.8% to 4,929.82

Hit and miss

Some important context re: Dreamworks,

courtesy of Brent Lang at Variety. The company "is one of the only publicly traded pure-play entertainment companies in the business," he writes, "which means its share price can soar or crash to earth with each film debut. Likewise, prior box office disappointments have resulted in massive writedowns and deep staffing cuts."

Home advantage

Dreamworks
AP

Animation studio Dreamworks had a good weekend. Its new release, Home, soared to the top of the US box office on its opening weekend, taking in $54m. Shares are up nearly 9% as a result.

Winning ways?

MSG
Reuters

Talking of New York, shares in the company behind one of the Big Apple's landmarks, Madison Square Garden, have shot up by almost 6% this morning. This follows news that the firm will split its sports operations (home to the NY Knicks and Rangers, among others), and its entertainment arm (Billy Joel, et al) into two separate businesses.

US spending

The markets are about to open here in New York, but investors have already been handed some unwelcome news. Figures from the US Commerce Department show consumer spending hardly rose at all in February, (a 0.1% increase) with many choosing to put their money in savings instead. This is bad news for the US economy, because spending accounts for more than 65% of economic activity in the country.

Ben Morris

Business Reporter

That's it from the early team on the Business live page. In an exciting first for our page, it will be hosted this afternoon from New York. Joe Miller is the man at the wheel.

Comedy Central

Trevor Noah
Getty Images

The Daily Show is one of the most influential shows on US television and one of the biggest money makers for the Comedy Central network, owned by Viacom.

According to the New York Times, the show's next host will be South African comedian Trevor Noah, after current host Jon Stewart steps down later this year.

Net-a-Porter deal talks

Net-a-Porter website
BBC

The luxury goods firm Richemont, which, among other brands, owns Cartier, is in talks to sell Net-a-Porter, which sells high-end fashion online. Switzerland's Richemont said that it is talking with Italian online retailer Yoox over a possible deal.

Bernanke blog

Former Fed chief, Ben Bernanke
Getty Images

The former chief of the US Federal Reserve,

Ben Bernanke, has started a blog. It is hosted by the Brookings Institution and the first post asks: "Why are interest rates so low?" Don't blame the Fed. he says.

Labour's advert

FT Labour advert
FT

Here's a snippet of what the fuss is about - how Labour used business quotes on the EU in

today's Financial Times.

Via Email

Response to Labour's business manifesto

Business lobby group the

British Chambers of Commerce boss John Longworth responds to Labour's proposals: "The Labour business manifesto sets out a number of sound policies, notably around long-term investment, access to finance, infrastructure and training - all of which are critical to the sort of sustainable, balanced growth that the UK economy needs." But, it goes on: "At the same time, some of the tax and regulatory plans proposed by Labour need a re-think - to ensure these do not negatively affect enterprise and entrepreneurial aspiration."

Via Email

Kellogg's on Labour's advert

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

A Kellogg's spokesman said: "We were told about this on Sunday afternoon and we were really clear that we are not party political. We were concerned about it [the advert]." The spokesman said that "eyebrows were raised internally" about the use of the quote. It appears that the company was told about the advert when it was too late to remove the quote. The quote is from a speech by Jonathan Myers, head of Kellogg's UK and EU operations, made in Manchester in March 2014.

Germany China trading deal?

Frankfurt stock exchange
Reuters

The operator of the German stock market, Deutsche Borse is looking at business deals with China Construction Bank (CCB). Deutsche Borse may give CCB access to trading facilities. In return CCB might boost trading in Chinese currency products in Germany.

Cameron warns of 'economic chaos'

Prime Minister Cameron
BBC

David Cameron has just made a speech outside 10 Downing Street in the first day of formal campaigning

ahead of the 7 May vote. Mr Cameron said the election presented a "stark choice" between him and Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, warning that a Labour victory would result in "economic chaos".

Via Email

The value of contacts

Live page reader Martin Blagoev writes: I agree entirely that it is a bit easier for young people with connected parents, but in my opinion, there are also plenty of opportunities presented in events such as careers fairs or 'workshops' for schools/colleges run by large companies. As I see it, the problem is that young people are often unwilling to try and reach out because they think it probably won't work anyway. Those with the 'connections', on the other hand, simply don't need to do this as their parents often do it for them!

Via Twitter

Mark Broad

Economics reporter, BBC News

Ed Miliband defends use of comments from Siemens UK on Europe in FT advert - says they were public comments

Via Blog

Kamal Ahmed

BBC Business editor

Oh dear. It looks like Labour's much trumpeted business manifesto advert in the Financial Times concerning membership of the European Union has ruffled a few feathers. Siemens has told me that the party "over-stepped the mark" when they quoted Juergen Maier, the chief executive of Siemens UK, in the advert.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

Kingfisher continues to lead the FTSE 100 higher. Shares are up 2.8% after the company abandoned a deal to buy France's Mr Bricolage. Computer chip designer
ARM is up 2% - tracking gains for chip shares in the US on Friday.

Via Twitter

James Cook

Scotland Correspondent, BBC News

Gordon Brown tells supporters in Glasgow, Labour will "end austerity" by adding £800m to Scottish departmental spending in 2016/17. Gordon Brown says extra funding will come from bankers' bonus tax, mansion tax and changes to corporation tax & pensions tax relief.

Via Twitter

Megan Greene

Economist

German civil servants and chemical workers followed metalworkers in securing big pay rises. Bodes well for Ger domestic demand and inflation

Labour business manifesto

Labour leader Ed Miliband
BBC

"For every hour worked we produce 20% less than our competitors in the G7", says Ed Miliband in a speech launching Labour's business manifesto. He wants to close the UK productivity gap with the rest of the world. A "gold standard" vocational baccalaureat would be one of the measures he would introduce if elected to power in May. He also pledges to cut and freeze business rates for small firms.

Windsor Castle staff

Windsor Castle
PA

Staff at the visitor centre of Windsor Castle are to be balloted on industrial action over pay. The dispute involves 120 members of the Public and Commercial Services union, which includes guides and kitchen staff. The union says it is "scandalous" that staff are "appallingly" paid.

Greek blame game

Yanis Varoufakis
EPA

Yanis Varoufakis has called for an end to the

"toxic blame game" between Greece and Germany. The finance minister made the call as Greece prepares to finalise its list of economic reforms to present to its international creditors.

Stress tests

The new Bank of England stress tests include dealing with a sharp slowdown in China and a eurozone crash. The Bank of England also said the 2015 tests would exclude the Co-operative Bank, which failed last year's health check and is in a deep restructuring programme.

CBI boss

Alan Jones

tweets: "Headhunters have been appointed to look for a successor to CBI Director General John Cridland who is standing down from the post."

Pensions

Paul Lewis

Presenter, Money Box

tweets: "The basic state pension would be £1.15 a week higher from April if the Coalition had not changed the uprating rules "

The value of contacts

Business Live earlier mentioned Debrett's and its concern about young talent. It is putting its money where its well-spoken mouth is in doing its bit to help people who don't have an address book full of the well-heeled. It's set up a foundation to boost the chances of the talented but less-well connected.

German inflation

Teaser for the main German inflation figures due at 12.00GMT. Consumer prices in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia were 0.5% higher in March than in February, and were up 0.2% year-on-year, said the state's statistics office. Brace yourself for the countrywide ones in a few hour's time.