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Summary

  1. Avon shares see-saw amid bid hoax
  2. OECD warns tech firms over tax avoidance
  3. Honda recalls 4.8 million cars over air bag defect
  4. TalkTalk concerned over UK phone market

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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S&P closes at record high

NYSE traders
Getty Images

Wall Street ended the day up sharply, with the

S&P 500 closing at a record high of 2,121 points, a 1.08% rise. The
Dow Jones rose 1.06% to 18,252.2 points, while the
Nasdaq gained 1.39% to 5,050.80. Solid employment data, plus hopes that a weaker dollar will boost sales for US multinationals, helped drive up stocks.

Symantec suffers from strong dollar

laptop
PA

Antivirus and security software maker Symantec Corp reported a 6.6% fall in quarterly revenues, hurt by a strong dollar and lower demand for its consumer security products. Net income fell to $176m (£111.5m) in the fourth quarter, from $217m a year ago. Revenues fell to $1.52bn from $1.63bn.

Obama clears major trade hurdle

Barack Obama
AFP

After days of obstruction from lawmakers in President Barack Obama's own Democratic party, the Senate has passed a bill allowing him to finalise a landmark Pacific trade pact. The 65-to-33 vote marked a victory for the White House and free-trade Republicans who had united in an effort to press ahead with Obama's biggest domestic legislative priority in the remaining 20 months of his presidency.

Shake Shack share surge

Shake Shack shares rose more than 3% to $70.42 after the fast-growing hamburger chain reported a surprise adjusted quarterly profit. The company's shares debuted on the stock market in January at a listing price of $21.

Avon bid hoax

SEC logo
Reuters

This was no ordinary share ramping stunt, says Jordan Thomas, a former lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulator where information about bids and other financial information must be disclosed. "It's not some bogus blog post that's gone through 15 different countries and servers. Any time you put out false information in the marketplace, you leave a trail that can be followed by law enforcement. This trail goes right through the SEC."

Wall Street update

Wall Street's rise at the start of trading is gathering momentum after data showed that weekly US jobless claims fell to a 15-year low. The

Dow Jones index is up more than 1% at 18,248.47 points, while the
S&P 500 is also up 1% at 2,119.42 points. The tech-heavy
Nasdaq added 1.25% to 5,044.16 points.

Avon bid likely to be a fake

avon share graph
BBC

The purported $8bn bid for US cosmetics firm Avon is losing credibility by the minute. The regulatory filing by an outfit calling itself PTG Capital (not the more-famous TPG Capital) contains a string of typo errors. And not only are US news agencies reporting that PTG seems not to exist, Forbes says the law firm listed on the documents is bogus. Avon shares surged on the initial reports of an offer, before drifting back to earth. Has someone just made a lot of money?

Avon's $8bn bid mystery

Avon Products says it is currently still operating in France
Reuters

The mystery over a rumoured $8bn bid for cosmetics company Avon deepens. News agencies in the US are reporting trouble identifying the predator, named in a regulatory filing as PTG Capital. There is a well known private equity firm called TPG Capital, and the filing lifted information from its website. Spelling error, or hoax?

Avon cosmetics in bid speculation

Shares in US cosmetics firm Avon soared as much as 20% on reports that a firm called PTG Capital Partners was preparing a takeover bid. However, Avon reportedly said it knew nothing of a bid, and the shares slid back.

Pensioner bonds

Pensioner bond applications topped £10bn from 825,000 over 65s in March - how high will they go before deadline tomorrow night?

Bombardier makes more job cuts

Bombardier CS100 passenger jet
Bombardier

Canadian planemaker Bombardier, the firm behind Learjet and the C-Series aircraft, has announced a fourth wave of job cuts in 18 months. It is shedding 1,750 jobs as it reduces its production rate of two types of business jets, its Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircrafts. "Current economic conditions and geopolitical issues in some market regions, such as Latin America, China and Russia, have impacted order intake levels industry-wide," Bombardier said.

FTSE 100 closes higher

FTSE 100 graph
BBC

After a steep fall in early trading, the

FTSE 100 ended the day 0.34% higher at 6,973 points.
3i Group was the biggest riser, up 3% after posting strong earnings growth.
ITV fell 1% after it forecast a sharper than expected drop in ad revenue. Outside the top flight,
Merlin Entertainments rose 1.17% after the owner of tourist attractions like Madame Tussauds and the London Eye reported a rise in first-quarter revenue.

OECD tax evasion proposals

Bronwyn curtis
BBb

Economist Bronwyn Curtis is on the BBC talking about the Organisation for Economic Co-operation's proposal to get tough on global tax evasion. It wont be easy to get international agreement, she says, but there's no doubt the rules need updating. "The problem is that most of today's rules are double-taxation treaties set up in the 1920s," she says.

Draghi: whatever it takes

Mario Draghi
Reuters

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says the ECB will continue its economic stimulus program until inflation picks up and companies and consumers gain confidence. He says the programme, involving €1.1 trillion in bond purchases, "will stay in place as long as needed for its objective to be fully achieved". He was speaking at the International Monetary Fund. Earlier this week, the 19 countries that use the euro currency reported the fastest economic growth in nearly two years.

Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse'

IMF chief economist retires

Reuters reports that the International Monetary Fund's chief economist Olivier Blanchard is retiring. Mr Blanchard has helped steer the Fund since 2008 and guided it through the global economic recession. He was behind many of the IMF's policy shifts in recent years in response to lessons from the crisis.

Jim O'Neill joins UK government

Jim O'Neill
BBC

Chancellor George Osborne has recruited former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill to help drive his plan to devolve more power to UK cities. Mr O'Neill, famous for coining the phrase BRICS to describe the world's leading emerging nations, is becoming a junior minister in the government.

Lloyds' full sell-off this year?

Lloyds Bank logo
PA

Lloyds Banking Group could be returned to full private ownership in the next 12 months, chairman Norman Blackwell has said at the firm's annual meeting. The government, which rescued Lloyds during the financial crisis, has already cut its stake to under 20%. Asked if the government could complete its exit in the next year, Blackwell said "it's possible and would be very desirable". But it would depend on market conditions, he added.

US producer prices fall further

US producer prices resumed their downward trend in April as the cost of energy fell and a strong dollar kept underlying inflation pressures benign. The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand fell 0.4% last month, falling for the third time this year. The PPI increased 0.2% in March. The news is likely to support economists' views that the Federal Reserve will only raise interest rates later in the year at the earliest.

Wall Street open's higher

Wall Street opened higher after weekly US jobless claims fell to a 15-year low, indicating a strengthening labour market. The

Dow Jones index rose 82.32 points, or 0.46% to 18,142.81, while the
S&P 500 gained 10.71 points, or 0.51%, to 2,109.19. The tech-heavy
Nasdaq added 35.25 points, or 0.71%, to 5,016.94.

Via Blog

Robert Peston

Economics editor

There seems to be a bit of confusion about what the Bank of England and its governor said about the economic impact of migration. Robert's

latest blog provides some clarity.

Football strike kicked into touch

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Getty Images

A potential strike by top Spanish footballers has been suspended after a petition filed by the league authorities against the players' union was upheld by the High Court. The strike, which now cannot take place this season, would have cost an estimated €50m per match in lost revenues. The dispute is over TV rights and revenues allocated to smaller clubs. The suspension means key title-deciding games can take place over the next couple of weeks.

Merlin results 'reassuring'

All in all,

Merlin Entertainments' results "provide broad reassurance", says Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. "The Lego movie continued to aid its US Legoland Parks, whilst favourable European weather and the ongoing rollout of new attractions such as its 'Oblivion' drop-coaster in Gardaland, Italy, have also played their part," he says.

Delta Air Lines 'choppiness'

Delta Airlines planes sit at Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy Airport, 2014
Getty Images

Delta Air Lines expects to see some "choppiness" in its monthly revenue per available seat mile, the firm's chief financial officer Paul Jacobson has said. The Atlanta-based airline expects unit revenue to be "a little worse" in May than in April, when it dropped 3.5 percent from the year before, Jacobson said. However, June should be "substantially better", as the carrier sees stronger US domestic demand in the summer, he added.

House prices

Houses
PA

House prices rose in April at the fastest rate since August last year, the the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has said. Its data suggested the third consecutive monthly fall in supply, with new instructions dropping at their fastest rate since May 2009. For the first time since August 2014, respondents' reported an increase in prices in every area of the UK, RICS added.

Market update

FTSE 100
BBC

After a steep fall in early trading the

FTSE 100 is now back to break even.
ITV is one of the biggest losers on the index, after it forecast a sharper than expected drop in ad revenue.

Manchester United results

Wayne Rooney (left) and Radamel Falcao
PA

So what was behind Manchester United's loss? Well there were charges related to getting rid of players. There was also a hefty amortisation charge of £25m, which Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, said was likely to do with the reduced value of players. The quarter was also weaker because there were fewer Premier League games, compared to the previous year. He said there were "no great shocks" in the results, but at present it was difficult to say how the market would react to the news.

Manchester United results

Football club Manchester United

has made a net income loss of £2.9m for the third quarter, down from an £11m profit the year before.

Euro pushes higher

Euro versus dollar
BBC

The euro is back above $1.14 against the dollar, for the first time since February which was around the time the European Central Bank

launched its QE stimulus programme. That prompted a fall which saw the euro head towards parity against the dollar. Traders say that today the market is still reacting to Wednesday's poor retail sales figures from the US.

Britain and the EU

EU flags
Getty Images

What does business think about the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union?

Matthew Wall has canvassed opinions from a range of business leaders. It's thought-provoking stuff.

Lloyds Banking Group

The carve-out and disposal of TSB has cost Lloyds Banking Group £2.4 billion pounds - Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Spanish football strike?

BBC World News

Real Madrid's defender Sergio Ramos
Getty Images

Spanish footballers will find out today whether they can legally go on strike as part of a dispute over TV rights. If the strike goes ahead, it's estimated it will cost €500m per match day in lost revenues. The players' union is unhappy with a new law which forces collective bargaining for TV rights. Previously clubs have negotiated their own rights which, according to football finance expert John Glen, raised €140m last season for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Athletico Madrid, who won the league, got paid just €32m.

Merlin Entertainments results

Legoland
PA

Theme park firm Merlin Entertainments, which owns Legoland and Madame Tussauds, says it has made a "satisfactory" start to the year. For the 18 weeks to 2 May 2015, constant currency revenue growth was 6.5%,

the firm said.

Repossessions fall

Repossessions
CML

The number of UK properties being repossessed fell in the first quarter, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). "The proportion of mortgages resulting in repossession in the first quarter was 0.03%, down from 0.04% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and 0.06% in the first quarter of last year," it said.

Sharp bailout

Sharp display
Getty Images

Japanese technology firm

Sharp says it has secured a $1.7bn (£1.08bn) bailout from banks, its second major rescue in three years, after its smartphone display business came under intense pricing pressure from Asian rivals. Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ will inject a combined 200 billion yen in a debt-for-equity swap.

Paddy Power chair to step down

The chairman of bookmaker Paddy Power, Nigel Northridge, is to step down on 30 June,

the company says. He will be succeeded by Gary McGann.

Marston's results

Marston"s Park Brewery in Wolverhampton
PA

Pub operator and brewer Marston's

has reported half-year losses of £27.5m, compared with losses of £59.2m the year before. Ralph Findlay, the firm's chief executive", said: "Two years ago, we set out our plan to reposition our pub estate, focusing on high-quality pubs with opportunity for further growth. As we approach the end of the transition period, these results demonstrate our plan is working."