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  1. US private sector job growth slows
  2. Eurozone & UK factory activity picks-up in March
  3. New UK 'Google tax' comes into effect

Live Reporting

By Joe Miller

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Joe Miller

Business Reporter

That's it from New York for the day, and the end of Wednesday's Business Live page. Come back tomorrow from 06:00 BST.

Mexico oil fire


One person has died and 16 people have been injured by a fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the BBC's Katy Watson reports. In recent years, Mexico's state-run oil company Pemex has suffered a number of accidents. In 2013, 37 people were killed by a blast at the company's headquarters. The year before that, a fire in a natural gas facility killed 26.

US cybercrime sanctions

The White House has announced that it will enable US authorities to impose sanctions on "entities" involved in cyber attacks against the country. The move allows the US to "expose and financially isolate those who hide in the shadows of the internet to conduct malicious cyber activities," said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Walmart speaks out



Walmart joined a chorus of businesses and activists calling upon Arkansas's governor to veto a "religious freedom" bill that some claim would allow for discrimination against gays and lesbians. Doug McMillon, the firm's chief executive, said the law threatened to undermine "the spirit of inclusion" in Arkansas. A few minutes ago, Governor Hutchinson announced he had asked for changes to the bill.

Markets update

The US markets are still down, but the

FTSE 100 in London has closed up 0.5% at 6,808.39. Investors welcomed data showing that eurozone & UK factory activity picked-up in March. Banking shares led the index, with Barclays adding almost 3%.

Via Blog

How flexible should the UK labour market be?

Duncan Weldon

BBC Newsnight

According to the international economic think tank the OECD,

the UK has one of the least regulated and most flexible labour markets in the world. That flexibility - of which zero-hours contracts are a part - has generally meant that unemployment has been lower. But there has been a trade off in terms of weaker earnings growth.

Second time lucky?

David and Kathleen Long

A couple from Scunthorpe in north England have won a £1m Euromillions prize -

for the second time. David and Kathleen Long beat odds of more than 283 billion-to-one to scoop the prize - after first becoming winners in 2013.

Toyota sales


Toyota has released its March sales figures for the US. The firm shifted almost 5% more vehicles than the same period last year. Sales of Lexus models, one of Toyota's luxury brands, did particularly well, growing by 8.6%, but sales of the lower-end Scion range (pictured) dropped by more than a quarter.

Via Twitter

Mark Broad

BBC business producer


On the Tory battle bus - @George_Osborne interview with @BBCKamal on @TelegraphNews letter. On @BBCNews at 6pm (BST).

Via Twitter

Ben Thompson

Presenter, Business Live

José Manuel Barroso tells me "Nothing prevents Greece being successful, but sometimes bad politics". Full interview #BBCBizLive Thurs 07:30 GMT

Via Twitter

Ben Thompson

Presenter, Business Live


Former President of EU Commission tells me Greek govt "lacks experience & came with completely unrealistic promises".

You can watch the full interview tomorrow on BBC Business Live at 07:30 GMT.

GoDaddy soars


Web hosting company GoDaddy made its debut on the NYSE this morning, to much fanfare. Shares are up more than 30% already. The firm claims to serve approximately 13 million customers in 37 countries, but it is perhaps best known for what it's boss (pictured above right) calls "edgy, fun advertising that talks to the small business person".

Markets update

The US markets have all headed downwards in early trading:

  • The
    Dow Jones is down 1% at 17,607.23
  • The
    S&P 500 is down 0.8% at 4,860.36
  • The tech-heavy
    Nasdaq is down 0.8% at 2,050.55

Krugman attack

Former Florida governor, Jeb Bush

New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman launches an attack on the economists reportedly advising Jeb Bush (pictured), who is expected to launch a bid to become the Republican candidate in the next presidential election. Mr Krugman describes Glenn Hubbard as a competent economist "when he wants to be". Kevin Warsh he describes as a "self-proclaimed wise man who urges us to ignore basic macroeconomics".

General Motors

General Motors
General Motors

Pick-up trucks, vans and SUVs (big cars, to non-Americans) were the strongest sellers for General Motors in March, up 14% on the same time last year. However, passenger car deliveries were down 21%,

the Detroit-based firm said.

US Jobs

On Friday, we'll get the latest official update on US jobs, but a smaller survey of private-sector jobs, released this morning by payrolls firm ADP, shows job creation slowed in March. Last month, 189,000 positions were created, down from 214,000 in February. The news is expected to drive US stocks lower when the markets open in a few minutes.

Via Twitter

Justin Rowlatt

BBC Correspondent, Delhi

Iron underpins the modern world, so what does the

dizzying crash in iron ore prices tell us about all our futures?

Thanks to Ben and Tom, known collectively as the early team. I'm Joe Miller in New York, and I'll be with you until 18:00 BST.

Boom year for US car sales

BBC World News

Yogita Limaye

The US car industry is expecting 2015 to be the best year in a decade, with 17 million cars sold, says BBC business reporter Yogita Limaye. Low interest rates, particularly over the summer, could be good for car sales, Yogita said on World Business Report. In a sign of confidence in the market, Warren Buffett has invested in car dealerships and plans further investment, Yogita added.

Fiat Chrysler sales

Jeep Renegade

Fiat Chrysler has reported a 2% increase in US sales in March. Its Jeep brand saw sales jump 23%. Sales of Chrysler cars were also higher.

Rosneft settlement

President Putin
Getty Images

Rosneft has settled a long standing dispute with shareholders of defunct oil company Yukos. You may recall that Yukos was

controversially dismantled in 2003 and sold in pieces to Rosneft, which became Russia's largest oil company. Yukos' owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, spent 10 years in prison on tax evasion charges before he was pardoned by president Vladimir Putin and released in December 2013. Yukos shareholders, excluding Mr Khodorkovsky, sued Rosneft.

Scotch exports fall

Whisky bottles
Getty Images

After a decade of strong export growth, overseas sales of Scotch whisky fell last year. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said HM Revenue and Customs data showed exports fell 7% to £3.95bn in 2014. Sales to the US - by far the most important market - were disappointing, registering a 9% fall. The SWA thinks that retailers in the US chose to run down high inventories of whisky last year. It also blamed greater competition in the US spirits market.

Via Blog

Weep for falling productivity

Robert Peston

Economics editor

Why has [UK] productivity been so limp? There are plenty of competing explanations. Getting to the root of the problem matters. Because unless we can improve productivity, we won't be able to afford the living standards we feel we deserve.

India exports

Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone (MPSEZL)
Getty Images

The Indian government wants to raise the value of exports to £609bn by 2019/2020, it says. That would be almost double the value of exports in 2013/14, which were worth around £315bn.

Market update

FTSE 100

Banks continue to support the

FTSE 100.
Barclays is up 3% and
Lloyds Banking Group is 2.4%. The sector was helped by a positive comment on Lloyds from analysts at Jefferies. On the FTSE 250,
First Group fell almost 4% after it said that its US business
Greyhound had seen falling passenger numbers.

State support for Russian firms

Russian flag

Russia's government has agreed to provide state guarantees of debts worth 16bn roubles (£190m) to car maker Gaz and another 19bn roubles to airline UTair, economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev says. The government is also considering several requests for state guarantees worth around 40bn roubles for Ural Airlines, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, and construction firm SU-155.

Via Twitter

Adam Parsons

Radio 5 live presenter

tweets: Only just noticed that Corporation Tax is precisely 50 years old today.

Zero hours contracts

Jonathan Paterson

BBC deployment Editor, World Newsgathering

Chef generic

Between October and December 2014, around 697,000 people said they were employed on a zero-hours contract in their main job, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. A year earlier, the number was estimated to be 586,000. Although this appears to be an 18.9% increase, we can't say that this is a result of more people starting work on zero-hours contracts. ONS warns that some of this increase could be due to greater awareness of the types of contracts that people are on.

World Bank predicts harsher Russia recession

Red Square
Getty Images

Russia faces a deeper and more protracted recession than predicted in December, the World Bank says. The effect of Western sanctions could last for years and oil prices may stay low, it predicted. In a baseline scenario, the bank said Russian GDP could contract by 3.8% in 2015 and by 0.3% in 2016. In December it said it expected the economy to shrink by 0.7% this year and grow by 0.3% in 2016.

Mahindra Brazil exit

Mahindra & Mahindra website
Mahindra & Mahindra

India's Mahindra & Mahindra has abandoned the Brazilian market. It won't be a major loss as Mahindra only sold 250 pick-up trucks in a good month. It blamed the sluggish economy, changes in regulation and the weak local currency.

Ireland unemployment

Ireland's unemployment rate fell to 10% in March from 10.1% a month earlier, according to official figures. People claiming unemployment benefit fell by 4,700 to a seasonally adjusted 350,600.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

Neither business leaders nor economists have a monopoly of wisdom on what's good for Britain or are free from political bias. But it is perhaps therefore all the more important to remember that those paid to think about how best an economy should be run don't necessarily agree with those paid to run companies.

Via Twitter

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

FirstGroup's US Greyhound business down 6% as passengers switch to cars, due to cheaper fuel. Stagecoach's MegaBus has seen similar trend.

Crowd-funded property deals

World Service

Hugh Schofield

The French are "pouring" money into crowd-funded property investments, according to the BBC's Hugh Schofield on World Business Report. The average size of each investment is 7,000 euros (£5,000) he says. Returns of between 8% and 12% are promised, but Hugh warns that there are many risks.

City Car Club purchase

city car club website
city car club

Enterprise Rent-a-Car, which bills itself as the world's biggest vehicle rental business is buying the UK's City Car Club. With more than 800 vehicles and 30,000 members City Car Club is the UK's biggest independent car sharing company.

Economists: Election's 'non-trivial' impact

Leading UK economists have some interesting thoughts over what effects different election outcomes would have on the UK economy. A majority of

survey respondents at the Centre for Macroeconomics think the outcome of the election will have a "non-trivial" effect on the economy.

UK manufacturing accelerates

Welder in UK factory
Getty Images

UK manufacturing activity has hit an eight month high

according to a survey by Markit. Its index hit 54.4 in March, up from 54 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. "Consumer goods producers reported by far the steepest expansions of both production and new orders," said Rob Dobson an economist at Markit.

Sluggish UK productivity

Whole economy output per hour

Alas, we're not getting any more productive according to the latest figures from the

Office for National Statistics. In the final three months of last year productivity actually fell by 0.2% compared with the previous quarter. For the whole of 2014 labour productivity was little changed from 2013. But there was "robust" recovery in manufacturing productivity last year, says the ONS.