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Summary

  1. Goldman Sachs reports surge in quarterly profit
  2. Unilever shares jump after strong quarterly sales
  3. Morrisons cuts 720 posts at head office

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Lipstick economy

Pippa Malmgren
BBC

US economist Pippa Malmgren tells the BBC's Zeinab Badawi that economics should be about more than crunching numbers. Rising sales of lipstick and lipgloss after the crash of 2008 were a signal about the strength of economy, she says. Find out

here why the former adviser to George W. Bush thinks lipstick is as much part of the economy as car parts and steel.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus
PA
The Irish government owns a quarter of Aer Lingus shares

A decision by the Irish government about whether to sell its stake in airline Aer Lingus to the International Airlines Group could be a few weeks away. Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe says "discussions are progressing and as I have indicated previously I do not want this process to be drawn out unnecessarily and I expect that it can be brought to a conclusion in the coming weeks." British Airways-owner IAG has offered £1bn for Aer Lingus.

Hunger strike

Vladimir Putin
AFP

Six Russians have gone on hunger strike in Moscow to draw attention to the plight of dollar-mortgage holders. Tens of thousands of Russians who had taken on lower-interest foreign currency-denominated mortgages are now unable to repay the debt because of the weakened rouble. But in a phone-in on Thursday President Vladimir Putin said holders of foreign-currency mortgages should be helped but not at the expense of those who took out rouble-denominated loans.

FTSE 100 close

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

The

FTSE 100 closed down 36.33 points at 7,060.45, dragged lower
by Greek default worries and corporate news about
Pearson and
Diageo. Pearson, down 3.99%, was the biggest loser after a report that a US contract had hit problems. Diageo fell 3.58% after the drinks group posted a fall in sales. The main gainer was consumer goods firm
Unilever, up 2.62% after recording a sales rise.

CWU union

Billy Hayes
BBC

Billy Hayes, leader of the Communication Workers Union, fails to be re-elected as general secretary after losing to his deputy Dave Ward in a ballot of members, the union has confirmed.

Sellafield

Sellafield nuclear plant
PA

More industrial action news. Workers at the Sellafield nuclear site have voted to take action in a row over health and safety. The Unite union says its 1,200 members at the site in Cumbria overwhelmingly backed a campaign of action. A meeting will be held next week to decide what form the action will take.

Network Rail

rail workers
Network Rail

Network Rail has responded to news that the RMT rail union will ballot members on strike action over a pay offer. "I'm disappointed", says NR's managing director of network operations Phil Hufton. "Our latest offer, which represents a significant improvement on the previous offer, is fair given our financial pressures... Pay awards at Network Rail over the last four years have been well ahead of the rest of the country."

Etsy

The much-anticipated listing on Wall Street of Etsy did not disappoint. Shares in the online retailer of handmade goods and craft supplies have more than doubled to $33.75 each. That values the decade-old company at $3.8bn. If you want to check out what the fuss is about,

here's a feature from BBC New York reporter Kim Gittleson.

Via Twitter

BP annual meeting

John Moylan

Industry correspondent, BBC News

tweets: .@BP_plc AGM over - 25%.. poss more.. of meeting devoted to questions on climate change - shape of things to come for big oil majors???

Greek debt

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has strongly rejected speculation earlier today that Greece might get a delay on its debt payments to the Fund. "It's clearly not a course of action that would actually fit," she told a press conference in Washington. "We have never had an advanced economy ask for payment delays."

Saudi Arabia

Tadawul logo
Tadawul

It's not often we report on Saudi Arabia's stock market, but that could change. The kingdom's financial regulator says foreign investors will be allowed to trade shares directly on the exchange from 15 June. The Tadawul exchange is the largest among the Gulf states, and hosts some big companies, including the giant oil group Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

Google

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

tweets: European publishers are particularly pleased to see Google tackled by the Euro Commission for being too big and powerful in their market.

Network Rail

Network Rail engineers working on re-signalling in Watford
Network Rail

Thousands of Network Rail workers are to be balloted for strike action in a row over pay, the RMT union has announced. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: "Despite intensive talks we have not been able to secure enough significant movement and that puts us into dispute and triggers the start of a national industrial action ballot."

US markets open

Wall Street markets were slightly lower at the open with the

Dow Jones and
S&P 500 losing 0.1% about 15 minutes into trading. The
Nasdaq fell one point.
Netflix soared 13% after reporting a big gain in subscribers.
Citigroup rose 1% after reporting earnings that easily beat analysts' forecasts as its legal costs fell.

Facebook

European data protection authorities have joined forces to probe Facebook's privacy controls. "There is concerted collective action between five European authorities, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain," Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, head of France's CNIL privacy watchdog, said on Thursday. She said the Netherlands was coordinating the project.

Russia phone-in

Putin
AP

President Putin has played down the difficulties facing the Russian economy during his annual marathon televised phone-in. He said the problem of capital flight from the country was nothing catastrophic, and insisted that the Russian banking system was stable. Although the event is highly choreographed, it does give an insight into Russian concerns, according to Moscow analysts.

Via Twitter

BP annual meeting

John Moylan

Industry correspondent, BBC News

protest
BBC

tweets: Small protests outside AGM groups raising concerns over Gulf spill, Columbia, climate change..Art not Oil.. @BP_PLC

Indesit job cuts

washer
AP

The Italian government said it opposed plans by Whirlpool to cut jobs as part of its purchase of Indesit. As well as new investment, the plan includes the closure of some sites with around 400 redundancies. A statement from the industry ministry said the government noted the positive aspects of the plan "but at the same time expressed strong opposition over the aspects connected to employment and the impact on jobs in various sites."

Philip Morris numbers

Cigarette-pedlar Philip Morris International's first-quarter profit fell to $1.8bn, as a strong dollar cut the effect of international earnings. The firm raised its full-year earnings forecast and the stock rose more than 2% in US premarket trading. Cigarette shipments rose 1.4%.

Citigroup results

citi
Reuters

Citigroup is the next US bank to unveil results today. A drop in legal and restructuring costs helped it post a 16% rise in profit to $4.8bn (£3.2bn) for the three months to the end of March. The figures beat Wall Street estimates.

Takeover chief

Rothschild banker Crispin Wright was named head of the UK's Takeover panel, which monitors merger and acquisitions activity in Britain. Mr Wright will take up the job as director general in July on a two-year secondment from Rothschild where he is currently a managing director in the advisory business. He replaces Citigroup's Philip Robert-Tissot.

Goldman results

Goldman
AP

Goldman Sachs has

reported strong first quarter results. Net earnings rose to $2.75bn from $1.95bn. Revenue hit $10.62bn in the first three months of the year, up from $9.33bn last year and the highest quarterly result in four years. "Given more normalized markets and higher levels of client activity, we remain encouraged about the prospects for continued growth," said chief executive Lloyd Blankfein.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

There have been modest losses for the

FTSE 100 so far on Thursday. It is rare to see
Unilever top the winners or losers, but a 4% gain puts it ahead of the pack today. Investors were keen on its trading update. In Paris,
Renault leads the
Cac-40 index, up almost 4%, helped by a positive report from analysts at Goldman Sachs.

Via Twitter

BP annual meeting

John Moylan

Industry correspondent, BBC News

tweets: #BP chair Carl-Henric Svanberg tells AGM that it's "not assuming any quick price recovery" in oil - that it's back to "normal volatility"..

Morrisons job cuts

Morrisons store
Reuters

Morrisons plans to cut 720 roles at its head office. The cuts appear to be in addition to 2,600 management job cuts

announced last June. In an effort to improve customer service the retailer is hiring 5,000 shop floor staff.

Eurostar: French 'upturn'

Eurostar Nicholas Petrovic
BBC

"There's really been an upturn of the French market in Q1 [first quarter]," the chief executive of Eurostar Nicholas Petrovic tells BBC News Channel. The business market is really picking-up as well he said. Eurostar carried 2.3 million customers in the first quarter, similar to the same period of 2014. Business travellers were up 7%.

US bank results

Citibank cash machines
Getty Images

Here's a reminder that Goldman Sachs reports first quarter results at 12:30 BST and Citigroup does the same at 13:00 BST. Investors will be keen to see if Goldman has seen

any improvement at its bond trading division. Meanwhile, we'll see if Citigroup has recovered
after setting aside $2.7bn in the fourth quarter to cover legal costs.

Norway to flick the digital switch

Norwegian fjord
BBC

Norway will switch off FM radio in 2017 making it the first country in the world to shut off analogue broadcasts for all major radio stations. That's

according to getdigitalradio.com. Starting in January 2017 in northern Norway, the big switch off will take place over 12 months, it says.

Via Blog

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

Mis-selling payment protection insurance? Which bank wasn't at it? But falsifying records to avoid having to pay refunds? That's seriously dodgy behaviour. And so it is that the once venerable Glasgow institution of the Clydesdale Bank is in the dock for a misdemeanour.

BlackRock results

stock exchnage
Reuters

US-based BlackRock, the world's largest money manager, reported an 8.7% rise in first-quarter profit, boosted by positive flows into its exchange-traded funds - mutual funds which are listed on a stock exchange like a company. The company's profit rose to $822m (£553m) from $756m a year earlier.

Russia phone-in

Putin
Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the worst was over for Russia's economy, pointing to a recent rally for the rouble despite Western sanctions over Ukraine. "The rouble has stabilised and strengthened," Mr Putin said during his annual phone-in with Russians. "Experts believe that we have passed the peak of the problems."

Italy bonds

Italy sold a total €9.4bn (£6.74bn) of a new inflation-linked bond. Investors demanded more than was on offer from the government, according to Reuters. The new bond drew stronger demand than at a similar sale held last October before the European Central Bank launched its "big bazooka" bond-buying programme. The bond pays 0.5% plus inflation.

German economy

Germany's Ilfo institute is among forecasters predicting the country's economy will expand 2.1% this year, thanks to cheaper oil, a weaker euro and strong consumer spending. That's higher than the 1.2% growth for 2015 they had predicted last autumn. "The low oil price leaves the Germans more money for consumption, and the low euro is pushing exports," said Timo Wollmershaeuser, chief economist at the Ifo Institute.

Mothercare shares jump

Mothercare shares
BBC

Mothercare shares have jumped 6% so far this morning. Investors liked
the company's trading statement which showed a 5.1% growth in like-for-like sales in the UK. Last September the company raised £100m to fund a reorganisation.

Market report

chart
BBC

Hong Kong's

Hang Seng Index was up by 0.44% at the close of trading, tracking a rally in Shanghai. Investors are speculating that Chinese authorities will boost the economy following data showing the slowest quarterly growth in six years.
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.1%.

Bumpy times for whisky

Glass of whisky
PA

Flavoured whiskies - presumably for those who don't like the taste of whisky - are a big growth area in the scotch industry.

That's according to this fascinating blog from our Scottish business editor, Douglas Fraser. The industry is having a "bumpy and tricky" time he says.

Newspaper review more

More from the newspapers.

The Guardian's business section leads with the formal charges against Google from the European Union over abuse of its market power.
In his business commentary in the Times, Alistair Osborne notes that UK Oil and Gas Investments was forced to "clarify" its announcement over its oil find in the South of England. He is particularly disparaging of the BBC's coverage. Ouch.

Newspaper review

Newspapers
BBC

Well, it's job done for Josephine Witt whose protest has got her onto the front page of the Financial Times and the business sections of most of the other newspapers. She jumped on the desk in front of ECB chief Mario Draghi demanding an end to his organisation. Elsewhere

the Daily Telegraph reports that Sainsbury's has earmarked space equivalent to 40 superstores for conversion. It is planning to sub-let space to other retailers including Argos and Jessops and devote much more space to non-food items, the report says.

Etsy IPO

etsy
Etsy

"

We have a history of operating losses and we may not achieve or maintain profitability in the future." That's the first line in the section entitled "risks associated with our business" in the offer document for shares in
Etsy, the online shop selling handmade and vintage goods. They plan to raise about $250m or so. Form an orderly queue.