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  1. The Consumer Price Index was 0% in March
  2. Conservatives pledge 30 hours of free childcare for working parents
  3. Nokia in talks to buy Alcatel-Lucent

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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China economy

Is China's premier softening up the markets for disappointing GDP data being published tomorrow? According to Chinese media reports, Li Keqiang told state radio on Tuesday that there are downward pressures on the economy and the country must prepare for economic difficulties.

Virgin Money

Virgin Money shop signs

Two investors in Virgin Money - US billionaire Wilbur Ross and Stanhope Investments - are selling up to 45 million shares in the UK lender, representing about 10.2% of the firm's issued share capital. Shares in Virgin Money, which bought the remains of Northern Rock after its collapse, have risen almost 49% since the lender's stock market flotation last year. Funds run by Mr Ross own about 33.5% of Virgin Money.

Via Blog

IMF global outlook

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

"The IMF emphasises that their projections hinge on oil prices remaining low until the end of the decade." Read Linda's analysis of the IMF's forecast for the global economy


FTSE close

FTSE 100 graph

London's main share index nudged record territory on Tuesday. The FTSE 100 closed 0.16% up at 7,075.26 points, finishing near the record 7,089.77 points reached on 10 April. Miners were big gainers on the back of rising metals prices, with Anglo American up 4.09% and BHP Billiton 3.07% ahead. Barclays rose more than 1% on a broker recommendation. Shire, down 2.55%, was the main loser.

Music revenues

Kanye West Twitter
Twitter/Kanye West

Revenues from streaming and downloading music caught up with physical formats like CDs for the first time last year, the trade association IFPI says. But overall global income from sales fell slightly to $14.97bn. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says in its annual report that while revenues were down 0.4% in 2014 on the previous year, digital delivery had finally matched physical formats, with each accounting for about 46% of the market.

Lottery fraud

The former security boss of a lottery in the US has been charged with fraud after allegedly hacking the computer that picks the winning numbers. Eddie Raymond Tipton was the security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association when he was arrested in January by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations.


Ford cars at dealership

Ford's struggling European business saw stronger sales in the first quarter of 2015 as falling unemployment and cheaper energy put more money in car buyers' pockets. Ford sold 335,100 vehicles in its 20 traditional European markets, a 12.5% rise over the same quarter a year ago. Ford of Europe's vice president of sales, Peter Fleet, says "customers clearly have more money to spend".

Via Blog

Conservative manifesto

Robert Peston

Economics editor

"I am a bit puzzled by some of the economic messages sent out by David Cameron and the Tory manifesto." Find out why in Robert's

latest blog.

Fish and microchips?

robot waiters
Getty Images

An interesting insight into how we may be

ordering our restaurant meals in future. Termi-waiter? Not quite yet.

Right to buy - back to the future?

Chris Mason

BBC Political Correspondent

BBC Political Correspondent Chris Mason finds today's announcement to extend right to buy eerily familiar. "The Right to Buy for council tenants extended home ownership, transformed many of Britain's housing estates and expanded our property-owning democracy. A Conservative Government will extend this right to tenants of housing associations." -

that's from the 2005 Conservative Party manifesto.

Via Twitter

IMF global outlook

Linda Yueh

Chief business correspondent

tweets: IMF WEO forecasts #Russia economy to shrink for 2 years: 2015 -3.8%, 2016 -1.1% & #Brazil GDP -1% this year before rebounding by 1% in 2016.

Pricey notebook

Alan Turing
Science Photo Library

A handwritten notebook by World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing, has been brought for $1m at auction. The 56-page manuscript, contains Mr Turing's mathematical and computer science notes, and according to auction house Bonhams is the only extensive Turing manuscript in existence. He killed himself in 1954 after hormone treatment to "cure" his homosexuality.

US markets update

US markets edged higher at the open, helped by gains in JPMorgan Chase after the bank posted

a 12% rise in quarterly profits. Energy stocks also advanced as oil prices rose. The Dow Jones index increased 41.38 points, or 0.23%, to 18,018.42, the S&P 500 gained 3.36 points, or 0.16%, to 2,095.79, and the Nasdaq added 6.36 points, or 0.13%, to 4,994.61.

US retail sales

New York shopper
Getty Images

Americans increased their spending on cars, furniture, clothing and building materials in March, lifting retail sales for the first time in four months. Retail sales rose 0.9% last month, after falling 0.5% in February, the Commerce Department says. The rebound suggests that shoppers are returning after an unseasonably cold winter hit sales.

IMF global outlook

More on the just-published World Economic Outlook report from the International Monetary Fund. It has downgraded its forecast for US growth this year from 3.6% to 3.1%, citing the consequences of a strong dollar. Its forecast for UK growth this year remains at 2.7%, although for next year it has been cut from 2.4% to 2.3%.

Phones 4U

phones 4 U shopfront

An update from the administrators appointed to failed retailer Phones 4U says that unsecured creditors - which includes customers - are likely to receive only 4p in the pound. Secured creditors, mostly bondholders, will receive between 20p and 24p in the pound, PricewaterhouseCoopers says.

IMF global outlook

The International Monetary Fund warns that global growth remains moderate, with "uneven prospects" across the main countries and regions. Compared with 2014, it says the outlook for advanced countries is improving, but growth in emerging and developing economies is projected to be lower. It says there will be weaker prospects in 2015 for some oil-exporting nations. The IMF's World Economic Outlook says that global growth is likely to be 3.5% this year, in line with its January forecast.

Johnson & Johnson

Pharmaceutical giant

Johnson & Johnson's first quarter results have trumped Wall Street's estimates. However,
its $4.4bn net profit was down 5.9% on the same period last year, while its $17.4bn sales were 4.1% lower. The firm said it had continued to suffer from currency movements. The strong US dollar against other currencies has hit J&J because it gets a large chunk of sales from overseas which it then has to translate into dollars.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, one of the largest US retail banks, says first quarter net profit was $5.8bn, down from $5.9bn a year ago as expenses rose and the bank set aside more money to cover bad loans. Revenue was $21.3bn, up 3%.

Conservative manifesto: minimum wage editor Paul Waugh says a spokesman for the Conservative party has told him that the party's manifesto pledge to eliminate income tax for those on the minimum wage, only applies to those working 30 hours or less.
Mr Waugh tweeted: "Tory spksmn: "The Prime Minister cdn't hv bn clearer" that his minimum wage tax cut only applies to working 30hrs or less. Well, he kinda cd."

Docker's dosh

Docker logo

Cloud computing firm

Docker is reported to have raised a further $100m (£64.8m) from investors despite not having yet spent the $40m it raised in its third round of funding last September. "We need to be prepared to add employees, add features, and add functionality that enterprises are asking for - networking, storage, additional security," Benjamin Golub, Docker's chief executive,
told the New York Times.

Sun: Shape-up Tesco tells staff

Tesco store
Getty Images

Tesco wants slimmer staff and has posted health tips on its staff website, according to the Sun newspaper. The article quotes a "supermarket insider" (it's not clear if the person is a Tesco insider) as saying "healthy workers will give a more appealing look than a bunch of sweaty overweight workers wheezing around the aisles." Tesco said that its own staff had asked for help in getting fit and the store had "lent a hand with some ideas to stay active".

Nokia shares fall

Nokia shares

Investors are not enthused by news that Nokia is in advanced talks to buy

Alcatel-Lucent. Nokia shares are down by 5%, but off the session lows. "They could come up with some cost cuts, but just because you combine one weak player with another weak player does not necessarily mean that you will end up with a stronger player," said fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu from Clairinvest.

FTSE ticks higher

FSTE 100 chart

Market sentiment has picked up since this morning thanks largely to an uptick in mining shares which are dominating the top risers on the FTSE 100.

Rio Tinto,
BHP Billiton and
Anglo American are all over 2% higher. As a result
the FTSE 100 is up 0.12% at 7072.51 points, close to its record high of 7,095.36 points reached on 10 April.

JPMorgan results

JP Morgan sign
Getty Images

JP Morgan Chase & Co, the biggest US bank by loans, said first quarter profit rose 12.2% as revenue from fixed-income trading - that's bonds to you and me - increased. The lender's net profit rose to $5.91bn. The bank took a charge after tax for $487m in legal expenses.

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Clydesdale says 'sorry'

Clydesdale Bank
Getty Images

"We got this wrong and I am sorry for that," says Debbie Crosbie, the acting chief executive of Clydesdale Bank following the
Financial Conduct Authority's record £20.7m fine relating to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaints. As many as 93,000 customers may be entitled to refunds or additional compensation, the FCA has calculated.

Chinese bank lending weak

Chinese Yuan
Getty Images

Economists are keeping a close eye on the Chinese economy. The latest figures on bank lending don't add a huge amount to the overall picture. New banking lending in March picked up, but a broader measure of lending (which includes other financing) shrank. "Credit issuance was unusually weak in March but, with the late Chinese New Year break still casting a shadow, we wouldn't read too much into this," says Mark Williams, chief Asia Economist at Capital Economics.

Conservative manifesto: Party for the rich?

David Cameron rebuffs criticism from the BBC's deputy political editor James Landale that the Conservative party is seen as a party for the rich. "We've created 10,000 jobs a day [during our time in power]", he says.

Conservative manifesto: Help for workers

David Cameron pledges three new commitments which he says will help working people: the extension of the right to buy housing scheme, extend free childcare to 30 hours for working parents of three and four year-olds and legislating to ensure that no one earning the minimum wage will pay income tax.

Via Twitter

Tax and minimum wage

Robert Peston

Economics editor

@david_cameron: legislate that rise in minimum wage will automatically lead to uprating in tax-free allowance, so low earners pay no tax

Via Twitter

Conservative manifesto

Robert Peston

Economics editor

@David_Cameron big theme appears to be that we've made the big cuts, suffered the belt tightening, now's the time to receive the dividends

Conservative manifesto: Brownfield sites

Conservatives promise £1bn brownfield regeneration fund, to prepare land for development.

Conservative manifesto

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron is laying out the conservative manifesto. "There is almost nothing without economic security," he says. The manifesto is "full square" behind working people he says.

Right to buy: reaction

Ed Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband has commented on the Conservatives right to buy plan. "The Conservatives are claiming they can fund right to buy with a bounced cheque," he said.

Via Twitter

BBC Radio 4

"I just put them in the bin" - @sima_kotecha meets a Warwickshire North voter who's had enough of election leaflets

Via Email

Flipkart reverses

Simon Atkinson

Editor, India Business Report

India's biggest online retailer, Flipkart, has pulled out of a deal with phone network Airtel to let customers browse its site for free on their smartphones - with Flipkart picking up their internet data costs. Critics said this went against net neutrality and a flurry of users took to Twitter and Facebook saying they were deleting the company's app from their phones in protest.

Via Email

UK inflation

Vicky Redwood

Chief UK economist, Capital Economics

Even if the UK does narrowly avoid deflation, inflation is still likely to hover close to zero for most of 2015. While there is a danger that this affects pay growth and inflation expectations, prompting a more prolonged period of zero inflation, this looks unlikely to us. Indeed, low inflation rates should be welcomed as giving a boost to the spending power of firms and households.

Clydesdale fined

The City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today

fined Clydesdale Bank £20.7m for "serious failings in its Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) complaint handling processes" between May 2011 and July 2013. This is the largest ever fine imposed by the FCA for failings relating to PPI, it says. The big money banks have paid out has gone to customers, not the regulator.

Green Party manifesto


The Greens want a "fair economy" ending austerity and meeting the demand for public services, according to leader Natalie Bennett, who is hosting a press conference to coincide with the publication of their manifesto. The minimum wage should be lifted to a living wage immediately and raised to £10 an hour by 2020, she says. Railways should be renationalised, she adds.