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Summary

  1. Government may take up to a 25% equity stake in Tata Steel
  2. Government misses chancellor George Osborne's borrowing target
  3. Sky leads FTSE 100 lower at close
  4. Mitsubishi Motors shares suspended as sell orders pile up
  5. Outline of a VW deal with US regulators over emissions scandal

Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson

All times stated are UK

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Good night

That's all from the live page for another day. Back as usual from 6am tomorrow. Please join us then.   

Oil price rally hits the buffers

Oil well
Retuers

The short-lived rally in oil prices has come to an end, as the twin factors of oversupply and a stronger dollar kicked in again.

Prices slipped on Thursday after a mini rebound the day before. 

US crude prices slipped 1.4% to $43.47 a barrel, and Brent crude was down 1.9% at $44.89 a barrel. However prices are still up by about 40% from lows seen in January. 

SunEdison files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Protestors in favour of solar energy
Getty Images

SunEdison, one-time fastest-developing renewable energy firm in the US, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In its bankruptcy filing, the company said it had assets of $20.7bn and liabilities of $16.1bn on 30 September.

The firm has been looking in recent years to tap into growing demand for solar and wind energy.

Wall Street closes lower

The Dow Jones fell 0.63% to 17,982.52 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.52% to 2,091.48. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq  was down 0.05% at 4,945.89.

Pensioners face risks selling annuities, says FCA

Sterling coins and notes
PA

Significant risks face those who decide to sell a retirement income - such as running out of money in old age, the City watchdog has said.

A market for people to sell their annuity will be launched in April 2017, meaning pensioners can exchange their set retirement income for a lump sum.

The government estimates that 300,000 people will cash in their products.

Now the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined the dangers that could result from selling up.

Read more here.

The monarchy appears to pay off royally for UK...

BBC Scotland business editor Douglas Fraser tweets:

FBI paid at least $1.34m to get iPhone unblocked

iPhone
Getty Images

The FBI appears to have paid handsomely to get into the iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino killers. After Apple refused requests to unblock the phone, the FBI went elsewhere.

Asked at a security conference how much the agency paid to get it done, FBI director James Comey said it cost "a lot. More than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure," Reuters reports.

Mr Comey's basic salary is $183,000 a year. That's at least $1.34m over seven years.

Ashley Madison plaintiffs face publicity decision

Ashley Madison website
Reuters

Plaintiffs suing online dating website Ashley Madison over a hacking breach that exposed customers' personal data must publicly identify themselves to proceed with the case, a US judge has ruled.

Forty-two plaintiffs who had information exposed began legal action anonymously against the site's parent company Avid Life Media. 

US and Gulf states to work together on oil

Oil worker
Getty Images

President Barack Obama has said the US and Gulf oil producers will work together to lessen the impact of low oil prices.

Speaking in Riyadh on Thursday he said they "will launch a new high-level economic dialogue with a focus on adjusting to lower oil prices, increasing our economic ties and supporting GCC reforms".

He was speaking after a summit in the Saudi capital with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. 

When Prince's free CD paid off

Mail on Sunday with free Prince albums in 2007
Getty Images

Sad news from the US, with the announcement by his publicist that singer Prince has died at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota at the age of 57.

He was one of the most inventive and innovative forces in US popular music, selling more than than 100 million records during his career, while working in a number of different genres.

However, he was also an innovator on the business side of the industry, in 2007 famously giving British newspaper the Mail on Sunday exclusive rights to distribute his new album Planet Earth as a cover-mounted freebie.

Planet Earth was not sold in record shops in the UK because of the newspaper promotion.  

But although he missed out on album sales revenues in the country, the ploy more than paid off when he subsequent sold out 21 concerts at London's O2 Arena, boosted by the publicity and audience reach created around the giveaway. 

Wall Street still flat

It looks like Wall Street may be coming to the end of a three day winning streak, with low expectations for company first quarter earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 61 points, or 0.34%, to 18,034.80 and the S&P and Nasdaq are also slightly down.

"The market has a singular focus to retake the old highs set back in May last year," said Sam Stovall, US equity strategist at S&P Global Market Intelligence in New York. 

Students at UC Davis are sprayed with pepper spray

Kevin Rawlinson

BBC News

US university UC Davis apologises for hiring a PR firm to try to bury online references to an incident in which students were pepper-sprayed.

Read more

Peugeot offices raided in emissions probe

Peugeot car
AFP

French car giant PSA Group, which owns Peugeot and Citroen cars, says its premises have been raided by France's anti-fraud squad as part of a probe into emissions. 

"As part of ongoing investigations on pollutants in the automobile sector, today PSA Group has been the subject of a visit and a seizure by France's General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF)," it said in a statement. 

It said it was co-operating with the authorities and "confirms compliance of its vehicles in pollutant emissions in all countries where it operates". 

German TV football rights issue puts boot into Sky

Schalke v Bayern Munich
Getty Images

After a furore yesterday over Italian football TV rights, today it is German Bundesliga rights that are in the spotlight.

As mentioned earlier Sky shares fell today, by 4%, on questions over the sale of future rights for airing German top flight matches from 2017-18 to 2020-21.

Germany's Federal Cartel Office this month approved plans to keep any single buyer from winning all live TV rights to Bundesliga matches.

The decision may raise costs for Sky, which netted all current live rights in 2012, as competition increases. "We think sell-side analysts expect the cost of Bundesliga rights to increase by between 25 percent and 60 percent," Numis analysts said in a note. 

Sky leads FTSE lower at close

FSE
BBC

The London market ended the day in negative territory, with shares in Sky down by more than 4% after its latest trading update.

Sky shares fell despite it reporting a 12% rise in operating profit to £1.1bn in the nine months to March.

Analysts cited worries about a possible rise in the cost of TV rights to Germany's Bundesliga as the reason for the fall.

At close, the FTSE 100 index was down 28.82 points, or 0.45%, at 6,381.44.

It came after the ECB decided once again to leave interest rates unchanged as expected.

Is Obama’s pro-EU stance “economically literate”?

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

For a country with a current account deficit approaching 7% of gross domestic product - Britain - America is good news.

The UK exports £47bn worth of goods and services a year to America, Britain’s most important single trading partner.

It imports £41bn, creating a healthy trade surplus. In the European Union, only Germany exports more.

The question ahead of President Barack Obama’s arrival tonight, is whether the UK’s membership of the European Union is a help or a hindrance to that trade relationship.

Read more from from Kamal here.

VW emissions deal

More on the Volkswagen agreement in the US.

District Judge Charles Breyer says the agreement will give those who bought nearly 600,000 Volkswagen cars, which cheated on emissions tests, the opportunity of having the carmaker buy back the vehicles or fix them. 

The government and VW will have until late June to complete a final "consent decree" that will face public scrutiny before it comes into effect. 

VW to provide 'substantial compensation' in US

VW logo
Getty Images

Scandal-hit German carmaker Volkswagen is to offer "substantial payouts" to car owners and buy back some of its vehicles in a US deal over the the emissions cheating scandal.

Senior US District Judge Charles Breyer has said that as well as compensation to the diesel car owners, a deal with VW will also see the establishment of an environmental compensation fund.

The agreement follows the discovery of "cheat" devices in 600,000 VW diesel cars last year.  

Tesla orders keep rising

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Telsa logo
Getty Images

Tesla now has almost 400,000 orders for its latest car, the model 3, chief executive Elon Musk said on Thursday. The electric car manufacturer said earlier this month that it had 276,000 orders

Potential car owners need to put down deposits of $1,000 to reserve a vehicles. The first deliveries are not due until late next year, however. 

Mr Musk said the level of interest in the five-seater car had "surprised even us". 

A scene from Last Odyssey Xbox 360

Duncan Middleton

Newsbeat reporter

As Microsoft ends production of the Xbox 360, Newsbeat pays tribute to the legendary console.

Read more

US stocks flat as investors digest results

Vintage Barbie doll
Getty Images

US stock markets opened little changed as investors digested a raft of earnings reports from companies. 

The Dow Jones fell 37.77 points to 18,058.50, and the S&P 500 dipped 4.32 points to 2,098.08. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index edged up 0.11 to 4,948.24. 

American Express rose 2.4% after it reported a 1.7% rise in total revenue to $8.09bn in the three months to March, its first rise in quarterly revenue for five quarters. 

But shares in toymaker Mattel fell nearly 7% after it said net losses had widened to $73m in the first quarter of the year, compared with a loss of $58.2m a year earlier. 

Sales of Mattel's famous Barbie dolls were down 3.4%. A number of big companies are scheduled to report their results after the close of trade on Thursday, including Google-owner Alphabet, Starbucks and Microsoft.

Mario Draghi on Brexit issue

EU and union flag
Reuters

The President of the ECB has said debate about the UK referendum on EU membership has had "consequences" in financial markets, and that volatility would "probably" continue after the vote. 

Asked about the impact of Brexit at a press conference in Frankfurt, Mario Draghi said: "I should state that we view the participation of the UK in the EU as mutually beneficial, and I will continue to say so in coming weeks.

"Certainly the discussion about this has already produced some consequences on the markets, for example the depreciation of sterling. It's quite significant.

"We do expect continuation of market volatility, certainly until the referendum. I don't want to speculate about the outcome of the referendum. Probably even after the referendum. Is it enough to endanger the economic recovery in the euro area? The assessment of our staff is that the risk of this happening is limited." 

UK Steel says more needs to be done

Port Talbot steelworks
Getty Images

Trade body UK steel says that the government's "financial commitment and backing" to the industry should only be seen as a start rather than a stand-alone action. 

“We are not yet out of the woods however. Further action is still needed on energy costs and business rates whilst at EU level, we still need to see tougher action on the dumping of cheap imports. This will then provide the level playing field which will give UK companies a fighting chance to compete.”

EEF backs steel announcement

Corby tube works
Getty Images

Manufacturers’ organisation the EEF has welcomed the government's announcement on steel.

"This is a welcome and extremely positive statement of intent," said chief executive Terry Scuoler.

"The government has said that it is committed to the importance of the steel sector in the UK as a strategic national asset and this announcement shows that it is prepared to put money and action in place to back its words.

“This should put in place the building blocks which should encourage potential investors to come forward to co-invest with Government to ensure a viable future for the steel sector in South Wales and, in the wider UK.”

GM profits more than double

GM logo
Getty Images

General Motors has reported better-than-expected quarterly results, thanks it says to strong results in North America, a robust performance in China, and an improved performance in Europe. 

First-quarter net income more than doubled to $2bn, and revenue was $37.3bn, up 4.4%, beating estimates of $34.9bn.

GM continued to do well in its home market thanks to strong truck and SUV sales. 

Draghi tells eurozone members to do more to boost economy

Mario Draghi
Getty Images

Mr Draghi says that "if warranted" in order to achieve the ECB's objective, the central bank "will act by using all the instruments available within its mandate".

But at the same time he suggests national government's need to do more themselves to help stimulate economic growth.

He says other policy areas must contribute much more decisively both at the national and at the European levels. 

"Structural policies are essential, given continued high structural unemployment and low potential output growth in the euro area," he adds.

That sounds a lot like central banker speak for national policy makers need to do more and that the ECB can't do it all on its own.

Asked about disagreements with the Germany government Mr Draghi says European law protects the independence of the bank.

The ECB has a mandate to maintain price stability in the eurozone not price stability in one country, he says, while shooting a warning shot at the German government that the ECB is independent and will remain so.

Draghi: Eurozone inflation will turn negative again this year

Inflation rates could turn negative again later this year before recovering towards the end of the year, ECB president Mario Draghi says. He says the additional bond purchases announced by the ECB last month will help stimulate economic growth so that afterward inflation should recover further in 2017.

Interest rates to stay at zero for extended period

Mario Draghi
Getty Images

European interest rates to stay at zero for an extended period of time and "ell past the horizon of our net asset purchases," says Mario Draghi at the ECB's monthly press conference.

That's central banker speak for interest rates"aren't moving for at least another year". He says the ECB will start buying corporate bonds in June. 

Tata Steel stake 'not nationalisation'

In total Tata Steel UK employs around 15,000 people in Britain. The package announced by the government today has been agreed with the Welsh government.

The commitment to a 25% equity stake is a turnaround from the government's initial reluctance to take any stake in Tata Steel with the Prime Minister saying only last month that while all options remained on the table nationalisation was "not the answer" .

The government insists the 25% stake is a minority stake and says it will not "acquire a material element of control over the business".

BreakingGovernment to take 25% stake in Tata Steel

The government could take up to a 25% stake in Tata Steel's UK operations it has said.

The equity stake is part of a package of measures to help support a buyout of steelworks including Port Talbot in south Wales where up to 4,000 jobs are at risk.

The deal is part of a package of measures which the government says is worth "hundreds of millions of pounds".

General Motors profits more than double

General Motors has reported first quarter profits have more than doubled, boosted by strong sales in the US and China. The car maker said net income for the first three months of the year was $2bn, compared to $0.9bn for the same period a year ago.

“We’re growing where it counts, gaining retail share in the US, outpacing the industry in Europe and capitalising on robust growth in SUV and luxury segments in China,” said Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. 

Portree Hotel on Skye

Pub and hotel operator Punch announces plans to invest more than £3m in its Scottish estate over the next year.

Read more

BreakingECB holds rates

The European Central Bank has as expected held interest rates at 0% and has not made any change to its bond buying programme which was increased to €80bn a month in March.

All eyes on the European Central Bank

European shares are down slightly ahead of the ECB's interest rate announcement due at 12:45, which is expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

Despite the lack of action, ECB president Mario Draghi is expected to reiterate his support for the central bank's current bond buying programme. 

The ECB sent markets down sharply last month when it cut its main interest rate from 0.05% to 0% and cut its bank deposit rate, from minus 0.3% to minus 0.4%, as well as upped its quantitative easing programme.

Pushing up the daisies

Buzzfeed political editor tweets

There are financial industry awards almost every week, there are journalism awards, there are, of course, the Oscars and Baftas. In fact there are awards recognising talent in almost every industry out there. Including, as we have just discovered, in the funeral care industry. 

Yes, the Good Funeral Awards really are a thing. They are, they say themselves, in fact the "Oscars of the funeral trade". 

Good to know there's an award all of us have at least an outside chance of winning. 

View more on twitter

Port Talbot consortium meets

Port Talbot
Getty Images

BBC Wales has confirmed that Welsh businessman Simon Gibson, who works with Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, has pulled together a group of leading players in the public and private sector to bid for the Port Talbot steelworks.

They represent workers, managers, customers and government representatives along with Mr Gibson and Sir Terry. The first meeting was held on Monday and they are meeting again on Thursday.

They have taken on Roger Maggs, who has 27 years of experience in the metals industry. He worked for Alcan Aluminium globally and is the founder, along with Sir Terry, of investment firm Celtic House Venture. This group also includes Stuart Wilkie of Tata, Neath Port Talbot Council and the trades unions.

Read more here.

A footballer's secret biotech company

Lloyds cuts 430 jobs as part of 9,000 job cull

Lloyds
BBC

Lloyds Banking Group has today announced 430 job cuts - part of the 9,000 job cull it announced in October 2014. The bank also said it would be closing 21 branches in July as part of its three-year plan aimed at addressing the shift to mobile banking.

"The group's policy is always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the Group. "Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy. Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort," the bank said in a statement.

Union Unite however has warned the cuts are taking a heavy toll on remaining staff. 

"The bank forgets that these relentless cuts have a human cost. Unpaid overtime and work-related stress are already at endemic levels across the bank and this will reach a crisis point if Lloyds continue to swing the axe," said Unite regional officer John Morgan-Evans.

Has the UK given up its veto on tax and banking?

By Tamara Kovacevic

Reality Check

Michael Gove quote saying EU wants more power over tax and banks
BBC

The claim: Speaking on the Today Programme, Michael Gove said: “The EU is clear: it wants more power over our taxes and our banks. Sadly, we’ve surrendered our veto on these moves.”

Reality Check verdict: Britain still has a veto over tax measures, but can be out-voted by other EU members on some issues that affect UK banks and financial institutions.

Read the full Reality Check here.