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  1. Miners and supermarkets drag down FTSE 100
  2. Construction PMI grows at slowest rate for almost three years
  3. Sainsbury's reports slide in annual profits
  4. Next warns on profits following poor sales
  5. Shell first quarter profits down 83% to $814m

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

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Good night

That's all from Business Live for today - thanks for reading. We're back tomorrow at 06:00 so do join us then. 

Experiment or die?

The last word today comes from media commentator Roy Greenslade on the expected closure of Trinity Mirror's New Day newspaper.

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Fitbit sales soar on new launches

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Fitbit revenues rose 50% to $336.8m  for the three months to 2 April following strong demand for its Blaze smartwatch and Alta wrist band. 

However, profit fell $4.6m to $11m due to higher sales and marketing costs for the two launches.

Tesla losses widen

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Tesla Motors said it was on track to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 electric cars this year and that it would produce 500,000 vehicles in 2018 - two years sooner than expected. 

Net losses widened to $282.3m for the quarter to 31 March from $154.2m a year earlier. Revenue rose to $1.15bn from $939.9m.

Fox profits fall

Twenty-First Century Fox, owner of cable channels including Fox News as well as the Twentieth Century Fox movie studio, reported a 5.7% rise in quarterly revenue as advertising sales and affiliate fees rose. 

Revenue, excluding the sale of Fox's direct broadcast satellite TV businesses, rose to $7.23bn in the three months to 31 March.

However, net profit fell from $975m to $841m (£580m) for the same period last year.  

Wall Street ends lower

US stocks declined for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by tepid data on private sector employment and a retreat in biotechnology shares. 

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.56% to 17,651 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.6% to 2,051 points and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.8% to 4,725 points. 


Excellent use of the word "whimsical" by the Wall Street Journal here, I am sure you will agree. And what a snip at $95,000 too! By the way, 1,200 sq ft is about twice as big as many flats in London.

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Sun sets for the New Day

New Day
Trinity Mirror

Trinity Mirror is expected to announce the closure of the New Day, the print title it set up in February, on Thursday ahead of the company's annual meeting. The Spectator reports that the small number of staff on the paper have been told.

The 25p title has struggled to sell anywhere near the number of copies that chief executive Simon Fox had hoped and a plan to increase the cover price to 50p was never put in place.

Poacher turns gamekeeper...

Uber station
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Uber has signed up a number of top advisers including Neelie Kroes, the former European competition commissioner, for its new public policy advisory board, the Financial Times reports.

The move by the taxi-booking service is an attempt to help it negotiate regulatory and political opposition around the world. Ms Kroes was a vocal advocate of Uber when she was in office. 

“Uber needs to communicate in a very different way," she tells the FT. "They have to take into account that there are still differences in culture. Don't think that everybody is attacking you.”  

Tesla shares fall on departures

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Shares in Tesla have fallen more than 4% after Bloomberg reported that two top manufacturing executives are leaving the electric car maker. 

Greg Reichow, Tesla's vice-president of production, and Josh Ensign, vice-president of manufacturing, will leave.

Tesla will report quarterly results after the market closes in less than 90 minutes.

US economy 'to grow 1.7%'

The US economy is on track to grow by a 1.7% annualised rate in the second quarter, down a touch from its estimate of 1.8% on Monday, Atlanta Federal Reserve's GDPNow forecast model showed on Wednesday. The drag from a decline in non-residential equipment investment grew to minus 1.4% from an earlier minus 0.6%, while the change in private inventory investment fell in the wake of Wednesday's report on factory orders in March, the Atlanta Fed said.   

McDonald's shares sizzle

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Top riser on the Dow today is McDonald's, whose shares have jumped by more than a third in the past 12 months. The fast food chain has been doing rather well of late on the back of initiatives such as all-day breakfast.

The stock earlier touched a record high of just over $130 a share.

McDonald's now has a market cap of $114bn (£78bn). That's a lot of burgers.

New York markets fall

Wall Street is lower as poor corporate results and disappointing jobs figures added to concerns about the health of the global economy. The ADP private sector employment report showed hiring in April fell to its lowest levels in three years.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.6% at 17,646 points, the S&P 500 shed 0.6% to 2,049 points, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.7% at 4,723 points.

BreakingUS confirms wider Takata recall


US regulators have ordered Japan's Takata to recall between 35 million and 40 million airbag inflators installed in American cars. 

The decision comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that the inflators were prone to ruptures that have been tied to 11 deaths worldwide, and adds to nearly 29 million Takata airbags already recalled. 

Cameron steel warning

David Cameron

The UK's steel industry would face severe challenges if Britain was not a member of the European Union, David Cameron has told MPs. "I don't think it would be a good future for steel," the prime minister said. 

Much UK-made steel was sold within the EU's single market, and could be subject to tariffs if the country was outside that market, Mr Cameron said. 

€500 note to end in late 2018

More from the ECB's statement on the €500 note:

"It has decided to permanently stop producing the €500 banknote and to exclude it from the Europa series, taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities. The issuance of the €500 will be stopped around the end of 2018, when the €100 and €200 banknotes of the Europa series are planned to be introduced. The other denominations – from €5 to €200 – will remain in place."

The €500 note will also continue to be legal tender.

BreakingECB axes €500 note

500 euro note
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The European Central Bank said it will stop producing and issuing the €500 euro note. The move follows claims that the note has been used by criminals to launder large amounts of money.

Why banks need bonuses...

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered chairman John Peace said the bank would risk a staff exodus if it cut bonuses. 

A shareholder asked him at the bank's annual meeting why its bonus pool had only been trimmed by 20% for 2015, while dividend payouts fell 83%. Mr Peace responded: "All I can say is if we were not to pay a bonus pool to junior staff and to managers who are highly marketable, we would not have a company." 

But what if all banks took similar action simultaneously - would that be called collusion? Answers on a postcard please. 

FTSE sinks again

Another bad day for the FTSE 100, with Randgold Resources crashing 11.7% and Sainsbury's closing down almost 6.3%. The blue-chip index fell 1.2% to 6,112 points, with Next the biggest riser, up 5.3%. 

Bye bye multibuys?

BBC Radio 5 Live

Colletta Smith

5 Live business presenter Colletta Smith has been in Sale talking to shoppers about supermarkets reducing the number of special offers in favour of lower prices to compete more effectively with discount stores. 

Figures from Nielsen today show that 29% of money spent in supermarkets last month was on promotions - its lowest level since 2009. Sainsbury's has also announced today it will phase out most of its multi-buy deals by August. 

Dr Amna Khan, specialist in retail & customer behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University, says: "They're changing their behaviour because they find that the discount retailers have a simpler offer. Retailers have offered the multi-buys traditionally, which are quite complex for the consumers to understand and they don't always offer the best value for money."

Spot the VAT payment...

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A group of operators of Spot the Ball competitions have won their battle with the taxman over a £97m VAT repayment. The Court of Appeal allowed a challenge by IFX Investment Company Ltd and others against the Upper Tribunal's decision in favour of HMRC.

The case concerned whether Spot the Ball was a "game of chance", rather than one of skill, for the purposes of VAT exemption. In 2014, the Upper Tribunal ruled that the First-tier Tribunal was wrong to say the competitions were exempt. The Upper Tribunal said that inter-player interaction was required and its own assessment was that Spot the Ball was not a game - so that it did not need to consider whether it was a game "of chance". 

The operators argued that the Upper Tribunal was wrong to require a degree of inter-player participation and therefore there was no error of law entitling it to intervene. 

Lady Justice Arden, sitting with Lord Justice Tomlinson and Mr Justice Morgan, agreed there was no hard and fast rule or presumption about inter-player participation in a "game" for the purposes of the 1968 Gaming Act and the First-tier Tribunal had not erred in finding that Spot the Ball was a game of chance. 

Got that, then?

Bob Diamond's Africa hopes dashed?

The Times' City editor Harry Wilson tweets:

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Labour warns of civil service job cuts

Thousands of workers face losing their jobs under planned cuts at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Labour has claimed. About 14,000 staff work in organisations being targeted for cuts, with 80% in the regions, all linked to BIS. 

Labour published details from a leaked document, coupled with answers to parliamentary questions, and warned that two thirds of the 14,000 staff could lose their jobs.  

Organisations facing cuts include research councils, Student Loans Company, Insolvency Service, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Acas, the Green Investment Bank and the UK Space Agency, Labour said.

Shadow civil service minister Louise Haigh said: "The Insolvency Service is working flat out on BHS, while Business Department civil servants are in full crisis mode trying to save our steel industry."

Wood Group cuts 300 jobs

Oil services company Wood Group is looking to cut about 300 jobs and is starting a consultation process with 1,000 of its UK onshore employees. The move is in response to "continuing cost and efficiency challenges affecting the oil and gas sector".

David Kemp, chief financial officer, said: "We are streamlining our structure and our processes to reduce costs."

The London-listed company is worth about £2.3bn.

Ex-EDF finance boss speaks

Thomas Piquemal
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The former finance chief of EDF, who quit in March after failing to get a decision on investing in the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant project in the UK postponed for at least three years, has spoken for the first time about his decision.

Thomas Piquemal told French MPs that not speaking out about the risk involved with the £18bn project would have been "a professional mistake": "Who would bet 60 to 70% of his equity on a technology that has not yet proven that it can work and which takes 10 years to build?" he said. 

Chapter 11 for Aeropostale

Aeropostale store
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US fashion retailer Aeropostale has filed for bankruptcy protection in a move that will result in the closure of 113 of its 739 US stores and all 41 Canadian outlets. 

The company expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection within six months as a smaller company after renegotiating contracts and resolving an ongoing dispute with major shareholder Sycamore Partners. 

It's a sorry state of affairs for a company whose shares were worth $30 six years ago, when annual sales exceeded $2bn. Aeropostale was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange two weeks ago, with shares below the $1 mark since last year.  

'Intensive' talks with Tata

Port Talbot
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The Government is "talking intensively" with Tata Steel to ensure the sale of its UK assets is a "serious sales process", David Cameron said as he admitted the timetable was "very short". 

His comments came as Labour MP Stephen Kinnock raised concerns over the timeframe set for the sale and asked what the Government was doing to ensure Tata Steel kept its promise to be a "responsible seller". 

The Prime Minister told MPs: "The positive news is that the deadline yesterday was met by a number of serious enquiries of interest into buying all of Tata, and that is good news. Obviously now we need to work intensively with Tata and with those buyers to get that list down to those who are really seriously intending to bid for the business. But [Mr Kinnock] is right - it's a very short timetable."

I need a dollar...

Well, $217,000 to be precise, as Business Insider finance editor Lianna Brinded tweets:

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BreakingWall Street opens lower

No great surprise that New York has followed Europe lower as trading gets underway across the pond, with weak private jobs data adding to concerns about a slowdown in the global economy. 

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3% to 17,691 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.4% to 2,054 points, and the Nasdaq shed 0.6% to 4,735 points. 

Play it again, Roli

Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweets:

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Good afternoon

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Thanks to Tom and Katie for this morning's coverage. Chris Johnston here with you for the rest of the day's business news and views - thanks for joining me. I'm also on Twitter at @cajuk if you'd like to get in touch. 

Time Warner beats forecasts

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Media giant Time Warner a better-than-expected rise in first quarter revenue. 

The owner of the Warner Bros. film studio and HBO, CNN and TNT cable channels credited a growth in subscribers at Turner and HBO for its 2.5% rise in revenues to $7.3bn. 

Subscription revenue at Turner rose 11%, while revenue at HBO, home to dramas such as Game of Thrones, rose 7.7% in the quarter.

Net profit rose $230m to $1.2bn.

LSE shares drop after ICE rules out bid

LSE shares

Shares in the London Stock Exchange (LSE) have taken a tumble.

They were down more than 6.5% after New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange said it would not make an offer for LSE.

Bitcoin expert regrets blog backing Craig Wright

BBC technology correspondent tweets...

How will fisheries be affected by the EU vote?

EU referendum road trip: Fisheries

The European Union makes the rules for almost 12,000 fishermen working in the UK, so when it comes to the EU referendum, it's an industry where you'll find very strong views. 

In part three of her EU referendum road trip BBC Breakfast's Steph McGovern has been taking a look at the arguments on both sides of the referendum debate in the UK's fishing industry.

NYSE owner rules out bid for London Stock Exchange

London Stock Exchange building
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The owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange, has announced it will not make an offer for London Stock Exchange Group, which has agreed to merge with German peer Deutsche Boerse.

"Following due diligence on the information made available, ICE determined that there was insufficient engagement to confirm the potential market and shareholder benefits of a strategic combination," ICE said in a statement. 

ICE said in March that it was considering a bid.

London-based Roli raises $27m

Tech correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweets

Wonga 'faces a long haul'

BBC personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz writes...

Once Wonga stopped selling high cost payday loans to people who couldn't afford them, its original market was always going to shrink.

Add in the lower returns after the price cap, the hit from compensation bills, plus the cost of complying with strict new regulation and you can see how profits disappeared as well.

Now the short term lender has gone slightly less short term. It is selling three month loans with more flexible repayment rules.

It believes there is still a market for its wares among young borrowers on around £18,000 a year who don't have credit cards.

In a way, it is remarkable that Wonga has survived after the mauling it received. It has even persisted with the tainted Wonga brand.

But it still faces a long haul: more losses this year, more backing needed to support the new-style loans, and more work to convince the public that it has cleaned up its act.

Tom Hayes hires new lawyer

BBC economics producer Mark Broad tweets

FTSE 100 falls to three-week low

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The FTSE 100's fall has deepened. It is now down 1.18% or 73.14 points at 6,112.45 marking its lowest level for three weeks and the third day in a row that it's been in the red. 

Mining shares are the biggest fallers with Rangold Resources down over 6% and BHP Billiton 6.9% lower.

Somewhat surprisingly High Street chain Next, which earlier warned both profit and sales would be lower-than-expected, is the top riser. Its shares are currently up 4.4%.