The Standard and Poor's rating agency has downgraded Greece's sovereign credit rating further into junk status, saying it expects the country's financial commitments will be unsustainable without "deep economic reform or further relief". The agency downgraded Greece to CCC+ from B- "given the risk of further worsening in liquidity for the sovereign, the banks, and the economy".
- EU files a complaint over Google Shopping
- Southern oil field estimate 'clarified'
- Lib Dems and UKIP publish manifestos
Adultery is clearly a booming business. Ashleymadison.com, a website for cheating spouses, has announced plans to float on the London stock market. The Toronto-based company said it wants to raise about $200m to fund expansion in the "international market of adultery". The site's parent company, Avid Life Media, has previously tried to list on the Canadian stock market. The firm's slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair".
Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has taken down an online Anzac Day campaign after it attracted strong criticism on social media. The campaign used the slogan "fresh in our memories" over photos of World War One soldiers, echoing Woolworth's slogan "The fresh food people". Woolworths said it regrets any offence caused.
London's top share index hit a new record close today, helped by big gains forSainsbury, Sports Direct and CRH. The FTSE 100 ended up 21.52 points, or 0.30%, at 7,096.78. The index had earlier reached an intra-day high of 7,111.72 points. The FTSE 100 is now up 8% since the start of the year. Airlines IAG and Easyjet fell 2% and 1.4% respectively on a jump in oil prices. Brent Crude was 3.1% up at $61.65 a barrel.
Games of Thrones broadcaster HBO has sent "take down" notices to Periscope, the live-streaming video app owned by Twitter, after users of the app broadcast episodes of the hit show on Sunday night. HBO also said Saturday's online leaks of four episodes had come from within a group that had received preview DVDs.
Greek banks made more use of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) in March, increasing their borrowing by 4.4% from the previous month as an outflow of deposits continued, according to latest Bank of Greece data. Banks switched to using ELA, provided by the Greek central bank, in February after being cut off from European Central Bank funding. Emergency funding from the Greek central bank, which is more costly than borrowing from the ECB, rose to €68.51bn.
Chief business correspondent
London's top share index reached an intra-day record, helped by big gains forSainsbury, Sports Direct and Burberry. The FTSE 100 reached 7,111.72 points, and is currently 28.53 points ahead at 7,103.79. Airlines IAG and Easyjet fell around 1.5% on a jump in oil prices. Brent Crude is 2.2% up at $61.12 a barrel.
Roy Franklin is replacing former BP boss Lord Browne as chairman of shale gas company Cuadrilla Resources. Mr Franklin, a Cuadrilla board member since 2012, has also worked at BP, where he headed the exploration arm's acquisition and divestitures unit.
Brazilian police arrest the treasurer of the ruling Workers' Party Joao Vaccari as part of an investigation into corruption at state-run oil company Petrobras. Federal police say they arrested Mr Vaccari at his home in Sao Paulo. He is regarded as part of President Dilma Rousseff's inner circle.
The protester who jumped onto the table while European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi was giving his press conference seems pretty happy about her actions. But who is she? There's still no news.
US stocks opened higher following mixed corporate profits news and weak Chinese economic data fuelled talk of more monetary stimulus in the world's second-biggest economy. A few minutes into trading, theDow Jones was up 72.6 points, or 0.40%, at 18,109.3, while the broader S&P 500 rose 8.08 points, or 0.39%, to 2,103.92. The Nasdaq gained 15.4 points, or 0.31%, to 4,992.69.
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says "there is clear evidence that the monetary policy measures we have put in place are effective". He told a press conference that the eurozone economy is recovering thanks to the ECB's €1.1 trillion bond buying plan. He was speaking after the bank announced it would keep its key interest rate at an all time low.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says there are no signs that financial markets are worried about a possible Greek default or exit from the eurozone. "You can't see any contagion," he said in a speech in New York. "Most participants of financial markets are telling us that markets have already priced in whatever will happen."
The risks to global financial stability have risen, the International Monetary Fund says. In a report just published, the IMF says that countries which export oil and other commodities have been severely affected by falling prices, and that some emerging economies have been hurt by sharp moves in the global currency markets.
The protester is a woman who was quickly subdued and Mr Draghi reappeared minutes later to carry on the press conference. Mr Draghi went on to play down recent market speculation that recent signs of recovery in the eurozone economy could see the central bank scale back its buying programme at some point.
High drama at the European Central Bank press conference. Someone has leapt at Mario Draghi, shouting "End ECB dictatorship".
World oil prices have risen after forecasts that US shale production would probably drop and help ease a supply glut. US benchmarkWest Texas Intermediate rallied to a two-month high at $54.25 per barrel, before easing to $53.89, up 60 cents from Tuesday. "Speculative financial investors are clearly taking the latest news of a declining US oil supply as reason enough to further step up their investments in the oil market," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
Russia may review its membership of international financial organisations because the country is paying too much in fees, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. "We need to review our participation in international funds and organisations," he said in the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament ,according to Reuters. He didn't say which ones, however.
European Economist, Capital Economics
After leaving interest rates on hold today, the ECB is likely to dampen speculation that its quantitative easing programme may not be implemented in full. At the forthcoming press conference (13.30 BST), President Mario Draghi is likely to express satisfaction that the ECB met its target of €60bn of asset purchases in March. And he will almost certainly point to the positive impact on the economy
The European Central Bank has left its main interest rates unchanged. It said the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.05%, 0.30% and -0.20% respectively.
Chief correspondent, BBC Newsnight
Key in UKIP numbers, audited by CEBR who are independent - numbers seem 'sound' but add up IF we leave EU and get money back, big IF ... Interesting and smart tactic from UKIP to publish independent analysis on their numbers alongside manifesto
Nigel Farage is launching UKIP's manifesto in Thurrock, Essex. "The rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer" and "giant corporate interests" have been been working at the disadvantage of small business, Mr Farage said. He promised an £18bn tax giveaway, paid for by reviewing the Barnett formula (which allocates public funds to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and scrapping big projects - among other things.
"I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Google now has the opportunity to convince the Commission to the contrary. However, if the investigation confirmed our concerns, Google would have to face the legal consequences and change the way it does business in Europe," EU Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said.
Editor in chief of money.co.uk
"It's clear the UK is facing a housing crisis and the government does need to do more to ensure that supply meets demand. Building more properties will not only make it possible for more wannabe homeowners to get on the ladder, but also help support our construction industry, and alleviate some of the upward pressure on house prices. However, with any such plans it's vital that measures are put in place to ensure that it's consumers, and not landlord investors that get to put their name on the deeds."
Nick Clegg is presenting his party's manifesto in Battersea. He says his party can moderate the cutting or spending of a Conservative or Labour government. He says he wants to balance the budget fairly through a mixture of cuts and taxes on higher earners and increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500.
BBC Business editor
At a press conference at 1100 BST today, it is expected that the European Union's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, will outline the case against Google's dominant position in the search market. Google claims that is because it offers the best service which is most relevant for us, the consumers, who carry out three billion searches every day. Detractors say it has used its position to skew the market in its favour.Read more on Kamal's blog.
BBC Business reporter
UK oil & Gas Investments have told the BBC why they issued today's clarification about the amount of oil under the South East of England. They were told to by AIM - that's the market their shares are listed on. A spokesman said: "AIM wanted us to clarify and reinforce the numbers."
You might think this paint job is rather cheerful, but neighbours in the London street, which is in the extremely upmarket district of Kensington, are not at all happy. The Mirror speaks to one who lives opposite: "We all hate it" she says. "It's a cross between a beach hut and a circus". Reports say the owner of the house painted it after neighbours objected to plans to redevelop the house with a two-storey basement.
The most-read business story at the moment: A haulage firm with offices at ports and cities across England has gone into administration. Deben Transport was formed in 1987 in Felixstowe. Administrators Ensors said staff were told on Monday and most were sent home.A former employee for the company told BBC Radio Suffolk there had been a decline in business in recent months.
Global oil supply rose by 1 million barrels per day in March to 95.2 million barrels per day,according to estimates by the International Energy Agency (IEA). OPEC nations recorded their highest monthly increase in almost four years, it says. It thinks production might rise further in April. North Sea Brent Crude is up 1.2% so far today.
German union Verdi said it will call for further strikes at Deutsche Post because of plans by the company to expand its parcel delivery service using workers on lower pay. Verdi held a two-day strike earlier this month. Deutsche Post said in January it will create 10,000 new jobs at its parcel business by 2020, but said new workers would have to accept lower wages than other staff.
More from the newspapers.Guardian economics correspondent Phillip Inman warns: "Time to realise the world is on borrowed time". He says that yesterday's assessment by the IMF of the world economy "skates over" deeper worries about the world economy. HSBC is preparing to refresh its board of directors reports the Financial Times. It notes that the company has had a "bruising" few months with senior board members criticised over the Swiss tax evasion scandal.
Burberry's trading update has been a hit with investors.Its shares are up 2% making them the biggest winners on the FTSE 100 so far. The FTSE 100 is up 9 points in early trading. JD Sports shares lead the FTSE 250, up 4%, following its final results. Tyre makers are doing well in Europe today. Continental is leading Frankfurt's Dax higher, up 1.2% and Michelin is the biggest winner on the the Cac-40 in Paris, up 2%.