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  1. Pound and shares rise on expectations of Conservative-led government
  2. China's exports fall 6.4% year-on-year in April to $176.3bn
  3. Mitsubishi has reported an 8% rise in pre-tax profits

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Get involved


That's all we have time for on Business Live for Friday and this week. Join us again at 0600 on Monday. Thanks for reading.

New York close

Wall Street posted its biggest gain in almost two months on Friday after the Labor Department said that the US added 223,000 jobs in April. The Dow Jones climbed 266 points, or 1.5%, to 18,190 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.3% to 2,116. The Nasdaq added 1.2% to 5,003 points.

Oil prices

Oil prices were mixed on Friday as traders weighed the global oversupply and modest demand with a positive US jobs report helping to lift the US benchmark.

West Texas crude rose 45 cents to finish at $58.93 a barrel in New York, while
Brent crude fell 15 cents to settle at $65.39 a barrel in London.

Visa eyes $20bn takeover


Another day, another mega-deal in the air.

Bloomberg is reporting that Visa is in preliminary talks to buy Visa Europe, its former subsidiary, in a deal worth as much as $20bn. The talks are at an early stage and could fall apart if the two sides cannot agree on a price, Bloomberg said. Both Visa and Visa Europe were not immediately available for comment.
Shares in Visa were up by 4.6% in late trading in New York.

Syngenta shares

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While Syngenta may have rejected Monsanto's $45bn offer for the Swiss company, its

shares closed up almost 20% at 396.90 Swiss francs on Friday. That is still some way behind the offer, which values Syngenta at 449 francs a share. One top-20 investor in Syngenta said: "A full cash offer at 450 francs or a 50/50 stock and cash offer at 500 francs would suit us at first sight." Cedric Lecamp, of Pictet Asset Management - the 17th-biggest investor in the Swiss seeds giant - told Reuters: "We think a deal gets done above 500 [francs]."

Just Eat falls


It seems investors in Just Eat were not too impressed by the online delivery service's decision to enter the Australian and New Zealand market by buying Menulog Group for £445m.

Shares fell almost 12% to 436.7p in London on Friday, valuing the company at £2.5bn. However, the stock is still 50% higher than when it first listed a year ago. Menulog is the market leader Down Under with 5,500 restaurants and 1.4m active users.

European markets

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While the FTSE 100 had a good end to the week, the

CAC 40 in Paris did even better - rising 2.5% to 5,090 points, while the
Dax in Frankfurt was 2.6% higher at 11,709 points. European bourses bounced higher after the Labor Department reported that the US economy created a solid 223,000 net new jobs in April. Saxo Banque analyst Andrea Tueni said: "The figures weren't exceptional and the market thus estimated there is no chance the Fed will raise rates in June, and more likely do so at the end of the year."

US oil rig tally

oil rig
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The number of rigs drilling for oil in the US fell by 11 this week to 668 - the smallest drop since early April, after falling by 24 and 31 rigs in the previous two weeks, oil services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. However, the number of active oil rigs has fallen for a record 22 consecutive weeks to the fewest since September 2010, Baker Hughes said.

Bojangles sizzles

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I can't say I have had the pleasure of eating at US fast food chain Bojangles, but nevertheless its shares have sizzled almost 50% higher as they started trading in New York on Friday. The chicken-and-biscuits chain was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1977 and has more than 600 outlets - mainly in southeastern states. The stock was priced at the high end of the $18 to $19 per share range and soon hit almost $28, valuing the company at almost $1bn.

Via Twitter

BBC Tech Tent tweets: Grab the new podcast now, featuring special guest

@blathnaidhealy of @mashable. Click
here to listen.

Monsoon closures

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Fashion retailer Monsoon plans to close unprofitable stores and operations as part of an attempt to improve its financial performance following weaker trading in both the UK and abroad. It has blamed "unseasonal weather patterns and adverse foreign exchange movements in a number of markets" for a 7.8% slide in turnover to £509.1m and a 18.7% fall in profits to £18.7m.

FTSE 100 close

Few will be surprised to learn that the

London market has had a very good day, ending up almost 160 points, or 2.3%, at 7,046.82. Just two stocks fell on Friday - mining stocks
Rangold Resources and
Glencore. The biggest winner was
Babcock, which soared 9% to £10.79, and
Centrica, up 7.7% to 277.3p.

Tesco Mobile sale?

Tesco Mobile


Financial Times is reporting that Tesco is set to sell Tesco Mobile as part of chief executive Dave Lewis's divestment plans. The business is thought to generate profits of some £100m a year for the supermarket chain, which could make the venture worth hundreds of millions. The FT cites people familiar with the situation, who say that Tesco has been talking to bankers in recent days about a sale. As well as having 4% of the mobile market, making it the biggest "virtual mobile operator", Tesco Mobile also sells about 2m handsets a year through its 250 phone shops.

Via Twitter

Centrica statement

John Moylan, BBC industry and employment correspondent, tweets: British Gas owner

@centricaplc says welcomes "certainty & continuity provided by the clear result of the election...."@centricaplc says "immediate plan is to engage with the new Government on the functioning of the energy market".

Shop vacancies

empty shops
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Britain's shop vacancy rate remained steady at 13% in April compared with March, the Local Data Company said on Friday. The overall retail and leisure vacancy rate has also remained unchanged at 11.6%.

Spotify results

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Spotify, the music streaming service, said its losses had tripled in 2014 to €162.3m (£118.2m) following heavy investment in product development and international expansion. Sales came in at €1.08bn, but growth slowed to 45% compared with 74% for 2013. The Swedish company said it had 60m users in 2014, compared to 36m at the end of 2013. A quarter pay for Spotify, but that means three-quarters still opt for the advertising-peppered free service.

Wall Street opens

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The strong jobs figures released earlier have boosted Wall Street, with the

Dow Jones up 219 points, or 1.2%, at 18,143, the
S&P 500 1% higher at 2,109 and the
Nasdaq making similar gains to 4,995 points. "I think this [jobs figure] is exactly what the market was looking for. It's a Goldilocks number - not too strong, not too weak," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital.

More McDonald's

Steve Easterbrook
Getty Images

The sales slide at McDonald's makes the

restructuring announced on Monday by chief executive Steve Easterbrook even more important. And gives me an excuse to use this rather amusing picture of Mr Easterbrook taken in late March at Frankfurt airport.
Shares in McDonald's are up 1.7% at $98.56 in New York.

McDonald's sales

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Global like-for-like sales at McDonald's fell 0.6% in April - and were down 2.3% in the US due to ongoing competition and fewer customers. However, that fall was eclipsed by a 3.8% slide in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. At least Europeans continued to patronise the golden arches, with sales up 1% in the Europe region. The fast food chain said that solid performances in the UK and Germany helped offset weakness in Russia and France.

Via Twitter

Alex Ralph, markets reporter at The Times, tweets: Quiet couple of days to offload shares ... Tidjane Thiam, outgoing boss of the Pru, sells £5.7m worth


Fridman hires Davies

Lord Davies

Russian Billionaire Mikhail Fridman's LetterOne fund has hired former British trade minister Lord Mervyn Davies as non-executive deputy chairman. "He is in an ideal position to ensure L1 has the highest standards of governance and business practice. This will be a priority area for him," a spokesman said. Lord Davies, a Labour Party member of the House of Lords, was previously chief executive and chairman of Standard Chartered bank.

Good afternoon

Thanks to Tom and Howard for this morning's coverage. Chris Johnston here with you until 2130 with the rest of today's business news and views.

Via Email

Pound reaction

Peter Urwin

professor of applied economics, Westminster Business School

"The markets celebrated a Conservative victory with a surge in the value of sterling. However, we must remember that this is because austerity and continuity play well with this audience. This is not a ringing endorsement of Conservative strategies for growth - none of the parties has tackled the question of how we increase productivity in the UK economy. If we can produce and earn more as a nation, then we can pay off any debts with less pain."

Non-farm payroll data


Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was "essentially unchanged" at 5.4%, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics reported. Job gains were in business services, health care, and construction. Mining employment continued to decline, it said.

Oil prices

Oil declined ahead of US employment data, at the end of a volatile week which saw the market hit five-month peaks. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell one cent to $58.93 a barrel. "Oil prices are failing to profit from the robust Chinese import data," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch. "Some US oil producers have announced their intention to scale up their drilling activities again at higher oil price.

Via Twitter

John Moylan

Industry correspondent, BBC News

tweets: Andrew Austin, boss of Britain's largest shale gas developer @IGasEnergy steps down as firm cuts headcount by 25%

EU referendum and UK ratings

Ratings agency Moody's said the election victory of the Conservatives might have implications for the UK's sovereign debt rating if it leads to the country leaving the European Union. "While the election result will have no impact on the UK's rating, if the Conservative Party's plan to hold a referendum on European Union membership results in the UK's exit this could have consequences for the whole economy, including potentially for the sovereign rating, if the UK was unable to broadly replicate the benefits of membership," Moody's said.

Via Twitter

Robert Peston

Economics editor

tweets: Just put four manifestos in recycling and kept one. So many trees died for so little purpose.

Agribusiness offer

Syngenta shares

Agricultural chemicals maker Syngenta, based in Switzerland, says it rejected a takeover offer from rival Monsanto. The $45bn offer was too cheap, Syngenta says. Its shares rose more than 18% in the morning.

Via Email

Rates hike prospects?

UBS Economics

"A strong minority Conservative government - or even possibly one with a small majority - is likely to be greeted positively by the rates market. In our view, the result will be viewed as enhancing the prospects for ongoing recovery and bring the expected timing of the first rate hike a little earlier."

Via Email

Rates hike prospects?

Vicky Redwood, Capital Economics

Chief UK economist

"The gilt market will clearly be reassured by the Conservatives' plans to eliminate the rest of the budget deficit. Admittedly, a Tory victory means that the economy will have to endure a fairly aggressive renewal of the fiscal squeeze... The tight Tory fiscal plans make it more likely that interest rates will stay lower for longer. Overall, then, we remain pretty optimistic about the economic outlook."

Juncker: Congrats to Cameron

Jean-Claude Juncker

A spokeswoman for European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has issued the following statement: "President Juncker congratulates David Cameron for the results of the elections in the United Kingdom. The European Commission stands ready to work constructively with the new government. President Juncker has repeatedly said that he wants a 'fair deal with Britain' and that the Commission will 'examine in a very polite, friendly and objective way' any 'proposals, ideas or requests' that the UK may put forward.

Greek debt deal

Alexis Tsipras
Getty Images

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is optimistic that Athens can soon reach a deal with its EU and IMF creditors. "I am confident that we will soon have a happy ending and that despite the difficulties... we will carry out the agreement which will be concluded soon in Europe," Tsipras told parliament. "The Greek government is doing whatever it should in order to reach... an honest and mutually beneficial agreement with our partners," he said.

Via Twitter

Simon Gompertz

Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

tweets: What's coming? £12bn benefit savings, no change to income tax or NI rates, triple lock promise to uprate pensions maintained

Via Twitter

Simon Gompertz

Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

tweets: What's coming? £12,500 personal allowance, £50,000 higher rate threshold, £1m inheritance tax allowance for couple

Via Email

Property sector

Miles Gibson

Head of UK Research at CBRE

"With such a slim majority it almost feels like we're 'back to the 90s' but the overall economic outlook remains favourable. Strong employment, low inflation, low interest rates and high levels of inward investment all bode well for the property sector."

Estate agent shares

Shares in estate agents are doing well this morning.

Foxtons shares are up over 8%,
Countrywide has seen a 9% boost, and
Savills shares have risen more than 6%.

Ericsson sues Apple

Ericsson's factory in Katrineholm, Sweden
Getty Images

Ericsson is suing Apple in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands, alleging patent infringement. "Apple does not currently have any license for Ericsson's technology, but continues to sell products, for which its licenses have expired, on a global scale,"

Ericsson said. Apple declined to comment on pending litigation.

UK trade deficit

The UK trade deficit narrowed to an estimated £2.8bn in March, compared with £3.3bn in February,

the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said earlier. The figure reflects exports minus imports.

Have your say

Tom Espiner

Business reporter

ballot box

The UK is on course for a Conservative-led government, and we were curious as to what you, dear reader, think this means for the economy? Get in touch at