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  1. FTSE 100 closes 1.9% higher
  2. Fedex to buy TNT Express for €4.4bn
  3. India keeps interest rates on hold

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

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Over and out

That's it for another day from me, Chris Johnston, and my colleagues this morning Tom Espiner and Ben Morris. They are back at 0600 BST and I'll be with you again from 1400 BST. Thanks for reading and do send any thoughts to us at

Wall Street update

Just before Business Live calls it quits for Tuesday, a quick update on US markets. The

Dow Jones is up 0.5% at 17,973, with Intel the biggest riser, up 1.7%. Meanwhile, the broader
S&P 500 is 0.3% better at 2,087.

Empire comes to E4

Getty Images

E4 has won the bidding war to screen Empire, the Fox drama that is beloved of Michelle Obama and attracted an audience of more than 10m viewers, in the UK, according to the

Independent's Adam Sherwin. The run will start "in the spring", Channel 4 said.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

Uncertainty about the outcome of the general election is currently a good thing for the economy, but could turn into a very bad thing.

Read more on Robert Peston's blog.

Dailymotion offer

Vivendi has entered "exclusive talks" to buy 80% of Dailymotion after Paris thwarted attempts by Yahoo! and Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing to buy a stake in the French video-sharing site. The €217m offer from Vivendi is likely to be more palatable to the French government.

'Dumb' Greece

"Dumb" is the word Germany's economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has used to describe Greece's call for more than €278bn (£203bn) in payments for the Second World War occupation. Making calls for reparations does not advance the race by Greece and its creditors to bolster the country's solvency by even "a millimetre", said Mr Gabriel at an event in Berlin: "Honestly, I find it dumb."

FTSE 100

BG Group
BG Group

Shares in

BG Group closed up 6.7% at 910.4p on the back of higher oil prices to be the top riser on the
FTSE 100 today. London's blue-chip index added 128.3 points to end the day almost 1.9% higher at 6,961.77. European markets also did well, with Frankfurt up 1.3% and Paris 1.5% better.

ECB purchases

The European Central Bank bought almost €61bn ($66bn) of government bonds and other assets in March - just beating its target for the first month of its quantitative easing programme intended to revive the flagging eurozone economy. The ECB aims to buy €60bn of assets a month with newly "printed" money until at least September 2016. ING economist Carsten Brzeski said: "QE is doing its magic. This is a very encouraging start and defies scepticism about whether they will make the target."

Via Email

Mumbai movies

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

India cinema
Getty Images

The choice of films for movie fans in the home of Bollywood just got a little narrower. The state government of Maharashtra - whose capital is Mumbai - said on Tuesday that all cinemas must show at least one film in the local Marathi dialect during peak evening hours. Incidentally, it is also mandatory for all cinemas here to play the national anthem before screenings. Singing along remains optional.

Plane orders

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Boeing has extended its winning streak in the battle with Airbus, its European rival, for aircraft sales. The US company delivered 184 aircraft in the quarter, up from 161 in the same period last year as the 787 Dreamliner proved popular with airlines. Airbus, meanwhile, delivered just 134 planes, down from 141, as demand for the wide-body A330 slipped.

Tidal waves

Tidal launch
Getty Images

Our technology correspondent

Rory Cellan-Jones takes to Twitter to highlight a
commentary on Tech City News by Ed Rex, founder of London startup Juke Deck, about Tidal. The music streaming service,
launched with much fanfare last week last month, offers a high fidelity service for $20 - double the standard monthly price. However, Mr Rex concludes: "Tidal offers nothing more than the same service as Spotify at a higher price."

US job openings

US job fair
Getty Images

US job openings surged to a 14-year high in February in a sign that the labour market remains solid, despite last month's sharp slowdown in job growth. Job openings - a measure of demand for workers - increased by 168,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.1m, the Labor Department said. That was the highest level since January 2001.

3G Capital boss

Jorge Paulo Lemann, the man who runs 3G Capital - the famously lean Brazilian company that owns Burger King and last month bought Kraft Foods in conjunction with Warren Buffett - does not eat burgers. Daniel Gallas, our man in Sao Paulo, reveals that Mr Lemann is an

advocate of healthy eating. Whether that belief has any influence on the product ranges of the companies 3G now owns remains to be seen.

Fedex deal

TNT Express
Getty Images

Shares in Fedex are up a modest 3.7% in New York following the deal to buy
TNT Express, whose stock has soared more than 31% in Frankfurt and 29% in Amsterdam. However, TNT shares are still below the €8 being offered by Fedex to acquire its European rival.

Metro Bank

Metro Bank logo
Getty Images

Most UK bank branches "look like off-track betting parlours", says US property billionaire Richard LeFrak, who invested $25m in Metro Bank. Metro, set up five years ago, aims to disrupt the UK banking sector. Founder Vernon Hill says: "The Brits, with good reason, hate their banks more than the Americans do."

There's more interesting background in this Bloomberg article.

Productivity puzzle

car wash
Getty Images

Economics editor

Robert Peston popped up on
Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show at lunchtime to talk productivity. To hear why Britain can't be a nation of car washers,
click here.

Battery breakthrough

Aluminium battery
M Shwartz, Stanford University

The end to the smartphone battery battle could be in sight at last. US scientists have developed a flexible aluminium battery that they say could be a cheap, fast-charging and safe alternative to lithium-ion technology found in most gadgets. It can recharge in less than a minute and is very safe and durable - but (and there's always a but) only delivers about half the voltage. The findings were reported in the journal


Data deal

A big deal to start the (short) week: a California-based data and software company called

Informatica Corporation is being bought by a consortium including private equity firms Permira Advisers and the
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about $5.3bn (£3.6bn). The price is a 6.4% premium to the $45.83 at which Informatica shares closed on Monday.

Fedex buys TNT Express

Fedex chief financial officer Alan Graf does not expect "significant" redundancies following the purchase of TNT Express. He is among several executives speaking on a conference call for analysts. Mr Graf says Fedex will invest "aggressively" in integrating the two firms and expects the deal to increase profits for the combined business from 2018. Fedex is "very confident" of winning regulatory approval, he adds.

IMF 'flexible' over Greek reforms

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (R) speaking with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Christine Lagarde
Getty Images

The Greek finance ministry says that the IMF is prepared to be "flexible" with the package of reforms Greece has proposed to its creditors. The comments followed a meeting between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and IMF chief Christine Lagarde in Washington on Sunday. Greece has to meet a near 450m euro repayment to the IMF by Thursday.

Fedex buys TNT Express

BBC World News

Fedex shouldn't have any problems with competition regulators over its proposed acquisition of TNT, Stephen Gibson of SLG Economics tells BBC World News. The combined company of Fedex and TNT will have around 17% to 18% of the market, he says. "That is below the threshold of about 30% that European regulators would normally use... However, there will be a pressure on TNT to sell off some of its airline operations," he adds.

Fedex buys TNT Express

BBC World News

Steven Gibson

If Fedex successfully buys TNT, it will create a European rival to UPS and DHL, which have a "bit of a duopoly" Steven Gibson of SLG Economics tells BBC World News. This is "great for consumers because they will really be able to play off the different couriers," he says.

Germany and Greece debt

Sigmar Gabriel
Getty Images

It's "not clear" how Germany can help Greece stay in the eurozone, Germany's economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has said. "This country... is ready to help [Greece] get back on its feet... how one can do that, does still not appear to me to be very clear," he said. Perhaps he should speak to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, we are sure he would give him a few ideas.

Market update

FTSE 100

BG Group leads the
FTSE 100 higher at lunchtime in London, shares are up almost 5%. Other energy shares are also doing well, with Centrica and Shell both up more than 3%. Those shares are catching up with Monday's big gain in oil prices. But, that rally in oil prices is weighing on airline shares. British Airways owner
IAG is down 1.5% and
Easyjet is down 0.1%. The
FTSE 100 is holding on to early gains, up 1.5%.

Russia and Greek loan

Anton Siluanov

Greece has not yet asked the Russian government for a loan, according to Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov. Nevertheless, credit and financial issues may well be on the table when Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras meets Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, a Russia government spokesman said.

Pensions freedoms

older women drinking tea
Getty Images

More indications that newfound pensions freedoms could be a bit of a slow burn. The government helpline, Pension Wise, has handled 3,600 calls since it opened in March, according to stats for the site. Just under 200 people have had face-to-face appointments with the Pensions Advisory Service, and almost 1,400 people have booked telephone guidance appointments.

Pensions freedoms

Elderly couple

From Monday new retirees have been allowed to access

their entire pensions pots. But figures from a pension advice line suggest this sweeping pensions reform could be a bit of a slow burn. Investment company Hargreaves Lansdown, which runs a pensions advice line, said it had "a couple of hundred" calls on Monday and only around 8% of people were calling about taking their pension out in one go. The firm thinks it will see a pick up over the coming months.

Annoying ads

Tim Harford

How annoying does an ad have to be before a website should refuse to run it? A question, you might think, that has not occurred to some website operators.

Tim Harford, the undercover economist has been looking at some interesting research in this area.

Samsung's new phones

BBC World News

Samsung S6

Telecoms expert Alan Stevens is upbeat about Samsung's new smartphone, the Galaxy S6 which goes on sale next month: "They look like better phones, they feel like better phones, they perform very well in tests." But if the investment in the S6 does not pay-off Samsung "could be in trouble" in the next few months, he warns on World Business Report.

Battery breakthrough?

Entrepreneur Elon Musk
Getty Images

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk

plans to invest $5bn in a giant lithium battery plant. He appears to be sceptical about the challenge presented by
the battery research from Stanford University (see earlier post). In a tweet he said: "Battery "breakthroughs" need to state power *and* energy density (not the same thing), plus how long they last. They usually fail on energy." Are there any battery experts among our readers? What do you think?

Leeson tweet


A Sky News headline writes million instead of billion (we've all been there) and prompts
an amusing tweet from Nick Leeson - the man who sank Barings Bank with rogue trades in the 1990s. "@skynews think you mean billion but hey what's a few zeros between friends - at least that's what I used to think" he said.

Battery breakthrough?

Could this be the breakthrough in the battery technology that consumers and industry have been hoping for? Researchers at

Stanford University have invented a high-performance aluminium battery, that recharges extremely quickly, is long lasting and inexpensive. Apparently it's almost impossible for the battery to catch fire.

Chinese shares surge

Shanghai Composite Index

Chinese shares continued their recent strong run. The
Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.5% on Tuesday to close at another seven-year high (the chart above goes back to 2008). Investors were encouraged by an increase in the number of shares sales. Regulators approved 30 first-time share sales for April, up from 24 in February and March.

UK services sector activity

Activity in the UK's dominant services sector grew in March at its fastest rate since August 2014, a closely watched survey has indicated. The

Markit services purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 58.9 in March, up from 56.7 in February. A figure above 50.0 indicates growth in activity.


Business Live

Business Live

Michelle Mone, founder Ultimo

Michelle Mone, who founded the lingerie brand Ultimo, explains how tough it is to start a business. Getting finance is a challenge - she had to use her house as security. She also feels strongly that there is not enough mentoring for start-ups. About six months after starting is when entrepreneurs really need advice, Ms Mone says.

Eurozone economy

Business activity in the eurozone is continuing to improve, a closely-watched survey has suggested. The final reading of

Markit's Composite PMI rose to 54.0 in March, compared with 53.3 in February. That's the best reading in almost a year. "The expansion of economic activity in March was evenly spread across the manufacturing and service sectors," Markit said.

Australia rates

Business Live

Business Live

Bronwyn Curtis

"Australia is not cutting [interest] rates because they're terribly worried about the property market, which is just going through the roof there," economist Bronwyn Curtis tells the Business Live TV programme.

Newspaper review

Newspaper review

The Financial Times has done some analysis on the NHS and found that a "collapse in efficiency" has left a financial black hole deeper than feared. "Top bitcoin exchange poised to open in UK,"
reports The Times in its business section today.
The Easter bank holiday has been a washout for retailers, reports the Telegraph.

Via Email

India rates

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

Despite India's central bank holding interest rates steady today - we could well see another cut fairly soon. Remember the two rate cuts we've already had his year came outside the RBI's policy meetings. And if the bank sees those cuts being passed on to businesses and customers - and if inflation keeps coming down - then another cut to 7.25% over the next few weeks wouldn't be a huge surprise (even if the timing will keep us on our toes).

Market update

Mining shares have jumped in London in early trading. No doubt those shares have been helped by speculation that Glencore might renew its bid for Rio Tinto.

Glencore is up 3%,
Anglo American is up 2.8%. However
Marks & Spencer is the biggest winner of FTSE 100 shares, up 3.4%. Overall the
FTSE 100 is off to a strong start, up 1%.