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Summary

  1. Economists say US rate increase in June unlikely
  2. US economy growth slows to 0.2%
  3. Brazilian court orders Uber suspension
  4. Pimco hires former Fed chief Ben Bernanke

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Ben Morris

Business Reporter

That's it from the Business live page today. Tomorrow is looking busy with results from RBS, Shell and British Airways owner, IAG. Join us from 06:00.

US shares close lower

Twitter shares fell another 9%, taking their two-day loss to 27%. Health insurance companies were also big losers. That's after
Humana reported a pick-up in hospital admissions in April and March. Its shares slumped 7% and that hit other insurers including
Unitedhealth Group, which fell 3.4%. Overall the
Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.41%, depressed by weak US growth figures. The broader
S&P 500 fell 0.37% and the
Nasdaq lost 0.63%.

IMF gloomy over Latin America

Rio de Janeiro
AFP

The IMF has released its outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2015 it expects growth in the region to decline for a fifth consecutive year and to dip below 1%. It expects the economies of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela to contract this year. Brazil is experiencing the most serious economic downturn in more than two decades, the IMF says.

Greece port sale?

Port of Thessaloniki on April 2, 2015
AFP

Greece is considering selling 51% stakes in two ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki as part of a deal with its international lenders, Reuters reports, quoting a government official. "This has not been decided but in order to reach a deal we may do it," the official said.

Apple's concern over tax probe

Apple store
Getty Images

Apple has warned investors that it could face "material" financial penalties from the European Commission's investigation into its tax deals with Ireland,

according to the Financial Times. The report says that this is the first time Apple has disclosed the potential consequences of the probe. The FT found the warning in an Apple document filed with regulators on Tuesday.

Brazil orders Uber shutdown

Uber app
Getty Images

Uber has been ordered to cease operations immediately in Brazil. A Sao Paulo state court issued an injunction suspending the taxi service app - saying Uber breaks local transportation laws which regulate the taxi business. Brazil's taxi firms have been fighting Uber, as Uber drivers do not have to pay hefty taxi license fees. In a statement Uber said that Brazilians "have a fundamental right to choose" their transport options.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft sign
Getty Images

Microsoft has named its new internet browser Microsoft Edge. It will replace Internet Explorer in the Windows 10 operating system. It will have extra functions built in. "It's a browser that end users will think about for getting things done," said Joe Belfiore from Microsoft. He was speaking

at the firm's developer conference and not to "end users" like us.

Via Email

'Magic' rate rise

Luke Bartholomew

Investment manager, Aberdeen Asset Management

"Today's statement was predictably rather unexciting. But the removal of the Fed's time dependent forward guidance could be significant. It means that any meeting from now on could be the one when they announce that magic first rate rise. But "could" is the key word here. Today's ugly GDP figures along with very lacklustre inflation mean that a June hike is all but off the table. [Fed chair] Yellen has made it abundantly clear that rates will only rise when the economy is strong enough to absorb it and we're probably not there yet."

US interest rates

US interest rates remain at near zero. There is not much indication in the latest statement about when interest rates may head higher, but economists are saying that the first increase is unlikely to be in June.

US Fed acknowledges slowdown

US Federal Reserve building
Getty Images

The US Federal Reserve has acknowledged that the US economy slowed down in the first quarter. It blames "transitory factors".

You can read its statement here.

Saudi cabinet reshuffle

World Service

What will investors make of the changing of the guard in Saudi Arabia

following the cabinet reshuffle announced earlier today? The market has already "shrugged that off," Jaafar Altaie, managing director of Manaar Energy Group tells World Business Report. The real question, he says, is whether Saudi Arabia continues to let policy on oil production be governed by hard economics as it has been doing of late, or politics, as it did in the 1970. The indications at present appear to be that hard economics will win, he adds.

US producing another jobless recovery

World Service

The jobless recovery from the "Great Recession" in the US has now" become standard" and "we're no longer entitled to be surprised by it," professor Benjamin Friedman from Harvard University tells World Business Report He says jobless recoveries have been a feature of every recession from the 1990s onwards.

Nasdaq statement on Twitter

The Twitter logo is shown on an LCD screen in front of a displayed stock graph
Reuters

The Nasdaq index has released a statement after Twitter's first quarter earnings were released early by accident on Tuesday wiping $8bn (£5.1bn) off the social media website's value.

It says: "Yesterday at 3:07pm EDT, Shareholder.com inadvertently posted the Twitter earnings release prematurely on their investor relations website. The posting was caused by an operational issue that exposed the release on Twitter's IR website for approximately 45 seconds. During those seconds the site was "scraped" by a third party that publically disseminated the earnings information. We regret the incident and remain fully committed to providing the highest quality Investor Relations communication product and services to our clients."

Fed surprises

Janet Yellen
Getty Images

Not many people are expecting much in the way of surprises from the US Fed on monetary policy today. That is except for George Goncalves, head of US rates strategy at investment bank Nomura.

He tells CNBC that even though the first quarter US economic growth figures were lower than forecast, the US central bank could suggest the worst is over . "If it were to attribute the weakness in the economy as being backward looking, watch out," he says. Most economists still see a rate rise as unlikely before September.

Barclays results

BBC News Channel

CMC Markets
BBC

Barclays has seen "an improvement of trading revenues," but "the retail banking division of Barclays has also posted some improved profits," Michael Hewson of CMC Markets tells the BBC News Channel. "Actually, if you look at the underlying businesses across the board, there has been a significant improvement, largely down to the fact of the cost cutting measures [chief executive] Mr Jenkins has been putting in place, " he says.

Morrisons express move

Morrisons trolley
PA

Morrisons is bringing back staff at express checkouts from this week. Two express lanes, with staff, will be introduced at Morrisons' 504 supermarkets,

according to a press release. "If customers from time to time do smaller shops, they want to get in and out of our stores quickly," said chief executive, David Potts. Well said Mr Potts.

US economy slows

BBC World News

Linda Yueh (right)
BBC

Why did economists not forecast

the sharp slowdown in the US economy in the first quarter? It's the strong dollar says chief business correspondent Linda Yueh on World Business Report. "Probably the surprise is how quickly it fed through," she says. The dollar is at its highest level since 2003 which prompted a 7% fall in exports in the first quarter Linda points out.

Via Blog

Nick Robinson

Political editor

"History is littered with politicians promising - or appearing to promise - that they can re-write the rules of economics and then being forced to gag on their own words."

Read more from Nick's blog here.

Wynn Resorts shares slump

Wynn resorts website
Wynn resorts

Shares in

Wynn Resorts have slumped 16%. Wynn operates a big Las Vegas hotel and casino and owns a resort in Macau. The market did not like its first quarter results. Revenue fell to $1.1bn, down from $1.5bn in the same quarter of last year. Sales at its Macau resort plunged almost 38%.

Market update

The

FTSE 100 went into reverse in the afternoon and finished the trading session 1.1% lower. Weak US growth figures were an excuse for investors to take profits, according to one analyst. There was also some caution ahead of an interest rate policy meeting at the US Federal Reserve, the result of which comes in two hours. Ireland's biggest company, property firm
CRH was the biggest loser, falling 3.8%.

Lumber firm hammered

Lumber Liquidators describes itself as the biggest specialist retailer of hardwood flooring in North America. Its shares have plunged 20%

after it revealed that the US Justice Department is considering criminal charges against the firm. It follows searches of the company's offices in 2013. Federal authorities were looking for information about "the importation of certain of our wood flooring products" the company said.

Pimco hires Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Getty Images

Pimco, the giant US fund management firm, has hired the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke. Mr Bernanke assures us he will not be lobbying the government, Congress or the Fed on behalf of Pimco. Pimco also employs Andrew Balls, the brother of Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls.

Spending on MasterCard rises

Credit card signs
Reuters

MasterCard said the amount spent by customers using its cards rose 12% to $783bn in the first quarter. Falling oil prices are not good for MasterCard as it means consumers have been spending less on fuel.

Nevertheless the firm reported a $1bn profit, up from $870m a year earlier.
MasterCard shares are up 2%.

Starwood: No option 'off the table'

St. Regis island resort
Starwood

Shares in

Starwood Hotels and Resorts have jumped 8% after the company said it will explore "a full range of strategic and financial alternatives" to increase shareholder value. "No option is off the table,"
said chairman Bruce Duncan in a statement. Starwood is one of the world's biggest hotel firms and its brands include Sheraton, Westin and W.

Wall Street update

US shares fell at the open and then recovered a bit. The market was depressed by

weak US economic growth figures and some disappointing earnings. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.37%. The broader
S&P 500 was down 0.2% The
Nasdaq fell 0.1%.
Twitter shares fell another 4%, after a steep fall late on Tuesday. Shares in
Garmin, which makes GPS kit, fell 4% after it reported weaker than expected quarterly sales.

Time Warner results

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Reuters

Time Warner reported a first quarter net income of $970m down from $1.3bn in the same quarter of last year. However sales rose 5% to $7.1bn, helped by the movie American Sniper which took more than $500m. The firm's HBO channel was boosted by the return of the TV show Game of Thrones, which had record viewing figures.

US economy: 'Temporary slowdown'

Paul Ashworth

Chief US Economist, Capital Economics

Burgers with US flag
Getty Images

"Most Fed officials appear to share our view that

this is a temporary slowdown, albeit a more severe deceleration than we previously anticipated. Accordingly, while it might delay the timing of the first rate hike, we still anticipate a lift-off later this year."

Ben Morris

Business Reporter

Thanks to Russell and Tom for fine work this morning. I'll be serving you all the way to last orders on the Business live page.

US GDP

oilfield in Texas
Getty Images

More on those surprising US GDP figures. The 0.2% growth in the January-to-March period was the slowest in a year. Plummeting exports pulled growth down by nearly a full percentage point. Investments in oil and gas exploration drilling plunged 48.7%, while consumer spending slowed sharply as a severe winter kept shoppers home.

US GDP

US economic growth slowed more sharply than expected in the first quarter as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices cut spending. Gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of just 0.2%. the Commerce Department. That was down from the fourth quarter's 2.2%.

FTSE 100 update

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

Another strong trading update from retailer Next helped keep the

FTSE 100 in positive territory. The index was up 0.36% at 7,005.1 points.
Next shares jumped 2.79% on news of stronger-than-expected sales. That helped lift shares in other high street retailers. The biggest gainer was InterContinental Hotels, up more than 5%.
Royal Bank of Scotland, down 2.2%, was among the main losers.

Barclays results

BBC News Channel

Barclays may have set more money aside for possible foreign exchange legal costs and penalties, but CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson fears such provisions may not be the last. "Unfortunately these legacy issues are going to be an anchor around Barclays profits for quite some time to come," he says. "They really do need to settle this FX probe. They were one of the few banks that didn't... in November."

Weir cost-cuts

Weir Group staff in Texas
Weir Group

Engineering giant Weir Group is to implement further cost-cutting measures, including job losses, after a sharp fall in orders for its oil and gas business. The Glasgow-based company, which makes valves and pumps for the energy and mining industries,

said oil and gas orders fell 23% in the first quarter.

House prices

House price graph
BBC

Following Nationwide's news that

house prices across the UK are on the up, here's a graph comparing the mortgage lender's forecasts with those from rival Halifax.

Banking 'shame'

Former Allied Irish Banks chief executive Eugene Sheehy has spoken of his failure and shame about the firm's meltdown during the financial crisis. He told a public hearing into the collapse and state-rescue of the bank: "I would like to express my deep personal regret for my role in what occurred. I am keenly aware of the damage caused and this fact occupies my thoughts on a daily basis. We took too much risk in a sector that turned out to be toxic."

Via Email

Barclays results

Barclays bank
PA

Numis Securities analyst Mike Trippitt says

Barclays' profit figures were "just ahead" of what he'd forecast, but he is worried by the further £800m provision for foreign exchange litigation. "The increased FX provision, unaccompanied by further news-flow is rather troubling," he writes.

Air pollution

Air pollution London
AP

The Supreme Court has unanimously ordered the UK government to

submit new air quality plans to limit nitrogen dioxide levels. The plans must be presented to the European Commission by the end of the year. The gas is produced by traffic and by domestic heating systems.

Via Twitter

Rebecca Wearn

BBC Breakfast

Stephometer
BBC

tweets: WATCH: Our #Stephometer film on housing shortages & affordability

Flash crash

General view of reporters waiting for a bail hearing of Navinder Singh Sarao
EPA

Navinder Singh Sarao, the 36 year old UK trader

fighting extradition to the US for allegedly contributing to the 2010 Wall Street "flash crash", will be kept in custody after failing to meet his bail conditions. Last week he was granted £5m bail and given other conditions. "Those conditions have not been met and the defendant invites no further order from the court in that regard," his lawyer Joel Smith told Westminster Magistrates' Court. His next hearing is on 6 May.