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- Brexit may spark recession, Carney warns
- Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold
- Bank of England lowers 2016 growth forecast to 2%
- Nissan takes 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors
- TalkTalk profits halve on cyber-attack costs
- UK government holds anti-corruption summit
Apple shares lost another 2.4%, hitting a near two-year low on continuing iPhone sales concerns. The fall meant the tech giant lost its spot as the world's most valuable company to Google's parent Alphabet.
The S&P 500 ended broadly flat at 2,064.1 points, a 0.02% fall, despite gains in heavyweights Microsoft, Monsanto and Exxon. Agribusiness Monsanto jumped 9% on reports that German rival Bayer was considering a bid.
The Dow Jones rose 0.05% to 17,720.5 points, and the Nasdaq fell 0.49% to 4,737.3 points.
The announcement that the beneficial owners of companies registered in six jurisdictions will be publicly disclosed is welcome news for the private sector. Businesses desperately want to check who really owns their suppliers, agents and partners so they can avoid being sucked into corrupt or fraudulent schemes. However, the major offshore jurisdictions still won’t make available information about the beneficial ownership of local companies. Offshore companies can be perfectly legitimate, but that lack of transparency means they are still prone to abuse by fraudsters and corrupt government officials."
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes recovered from losses earlier in the session, with gains in telecommunications and consumers shares outweighing a tumble in Apple to a two-year low.
Microsoft is up 1.09%. Apple, though, fell as much as 3.3% to its lowest since June 2014, as worries continue over slowing demand for iPhones.
In mid-afternoon trading the Dow was up 0.19% at 17,745.53 points and the S&P 500 was 0.1% higher at 2,066.52. The Nasdaq was 0.36% lower at 4,743.47 points.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has survived a no-confidence vote prompted by divisive employment reforms. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in the country's major cities to protest against the changes.
Amid daily protests and legislative gridlock, the government decided to use a special measure to push the bill through without a vote in the lower house of parliament, prompting the no-confidence vote demanded by political opponents.
The contested labour changes include longer workdays, relaxing redundancy laws, and weakening union power.
Danish wind farm developer Dong Energy, which analysts value as high as $13bn (£9bn), says it plans to list its shares on the Copenhagen stock exchange this summer. Having built more than a quarter of the world's offshore wind farms, the company is a major player in the UK and Germany and has recently opened offices in the US and Taiwan to cater for new growth markets. Dong is building one of the world's largest offshore wind farms off the Cumbria cost.
Let's get the latest from Wall Street now - and it's pretty quiet out there.
A short while ago the Dow Jones was little changed at 17,606.
The S&P 500 was down slightly (-0.10%) at 2,063.
And the Nasdaq was down 0.76% at 4,724.
Shares in tech giant Apple - which trade on the Nasdaq - fell to below $90 for the first time since 2014 because investors are worried about slow demand when the anticipated new iPhone launches later this year.
At one point Apple fell to $89.47 but subsequently recovered and a short while ago the shares were trading at $90.20 a fall of 2.5%.
Volkswagen hopes to reach a final settlement with the US authorities over the diesel emissions scandal next month so that it can get moving on a recovery plan which will see the launch of several new crossover and electric vehicles, its sales chief has told Reuters.
VW aims to expand its electric-vehicle offerings in the US to meet a growing demand for green cars and help restore its image, VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said in the interview.
"A final agreement with U.S. authorities would certainly provide relief and, at the same time, give the go-ahead to look and plan ahead," he added.
BBC World Service
British prime minister, David Cameron, has announced the creation of a global forum to step up international efforts to recover stolen assets, World Service reports.
The announcement was made at a global anti-corruption summit in London.
Mr Cameron said the forum would bring together governments and law enforcement agencies from countries that have had assets stolen, together with those from countries where assets are hidden.
They will initially focus on returning stolen funds to Nigeria, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.
Mr Cameron said Britain had also secured commitments from twenty other countries -including Switzerland, Nigeria, France and Afghanistan - to strengthen legislation to make asset recovery easier.
Claim: The European Union is so corrupt that the European Court of Auditors has not signed off its accounts for 20 years.
Reality Check verdict: The Court of Auditors has signed the EU accounts every year since 2007, while pointing out that EU countries, once they receive the EU funds, misuse about 4.4% of the total budget.
Amid the row over Bank of England governor Mark Carney's comments on the risks of Brexit, his spokesman has fired back at the critics with this statement.
The Bank of England has not made, and will not make, any overall assessment of the economics of UK’s membership of the European Union. At the same time, the Bank must assess the implications of the UK’s EU membership for our ability to achieve our core objectives and we have a duty to report our evidence-based judgments to Parliament and to the public. That is the fundamental standard of an open and transparent central bank. Assessing and reporting major risks does not mean becoming involved in politics; rather it would be political to suppress important judgments which relate directly to the Bank’s remits and which influence our policy actions.”
The FTSE 100 ended 0.95% down at 6,104 points, reversing earlier gains. The fall came after Bank of England boss Mark Carney warned that a vote to leave the EU could hit UK growth and jobs.
The pound lifted a cent against the euro at €1.27, even though German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the UK will not get an improved membership deal with the European Union if it votes to leave the 28-nation bloc.
Sterling was also slightly ahead against the dollar at just under $1.45.
Meanwhile, Germany's Dax index was 1% lower, while the Cac 40 in France was down by 0.5%.
Google's parent Alphabet is once again the world's most valuable company - for the moment, at least. On Wall Street, Apple shares have fallen to an almost two-year low this afternoon. The stock was down as much as 3.2% to $89.56, its lowest since May 2014, as investors continue to fret over the tech giant's trading environment.
Apple's market cap is now around $493bn, against Alphabet's $498bn.
The Bank of England's warning that an EU exit could spark a "technical recession" in the UK should be taken with a "pinch of salt", former Conservative cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith has said. Responding to governor Mark Carney's warning about the impact on the UK economy of a possible vote to leave the EU on 23 June, Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC "all forecasts in the end are wrong". "If anybody can tell me they know what the global economy is going to be doing over the next year let alone next 10 years I have to say they're either soothsayers or they've got some link with God," he said
Business correspondent, BBC News
The new boss of Marks and Spencer has restructured his top team, a move that has also resulted in the departure of five executives. Among those leaving are the head of Kidswear and Home Director, Stephanie Chen; Store Environment and Product Presentation Director, Florence De Boosere; and M&S's Digital Director, David Walmsley.
Their roles are being re-jigged in a wider reshuffle which will also see the establishment of a new Operating Committee. This team will be accountable for the day-to-day running of the business as well as for the development and execution of strategy.
The company has also reduced the number of executive director roles from six to four in a shake up of board responsibilities.
Ms Chen was hired by former boss Marc Bolland three years ago from House of Fraser as part of a reshuffle to help revive its flagging general merchandise division.
David Walmsley, joined the business in 2011 after jumping ship from Dixons and had a key role in developing Marks and Spencer's new website.
Steve Rowe, an M&S veteran, succeeded Marc Bolland as CEO last month and is clearly wasting no time in reshaping his senior team.
Later this month he will outline his new strategy for Marks and Spencer when he presents the company's full year results.
Brexit campaigners have strongly criticised Mark Carney - with one describing him as "hysterical" and calling for him to quit as governor of the Bank of England. Treasury Select Committee member Jacob Rees Mogg (above) said Mr Carney's position was now untenable. "He has become an active participant in this debate. He's made hysterical claims," Mr Rees Mogg said. "I think it is unprecedented for the governor of a central bank to suggest that people should short his own currency... Suggesting sterling will fall sharply is simply not what responsible central bankers do."
Earlier, former chancellor Lord Lamont said Mr Carney "ought to be quite careful what he says... This is the third time we've had dire warnings from him. Frankly, I think he's going over the top and I think it should not be repeated."
Lord Lamont said the governor was in danger of stoking a "self-fulfilling crisis".
Oil billionaire T Boone Pickens tells the BBC's Manuela Saragosa why he thinks Donald Trump would turn the US economy around. But he insists the oil industry doesn't actually need the help of a president.
A former senior investment banker and an accountant have been jailed for their part in the UK's "largest and most complex insider dealing investigation".
Former Deutsche Bank managing director Martyn Dodgson was sentenced to four-and- a-half years in prison, the longest term for the crime in the UK.
Businessman Andrew Hind received three-and-a-half years.
They were convicted on Monday of conspiring to "insider deal".
The sentences at Southwark Crown Court bring to a close the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) "Operation Tabernula" investigation which began in 2007.
The FCA described it as its largest and most complex insider dealing investigation. It said the offending was "highly sophisticated" and that the investigation was "demanding and time-consuming".
Sad news. Economist Danny Gabay has died at the age of 47, his family has announced. The director of Fathom Consulting, who had also worked at the Bank of England and JP Morgan, had suffered a return of cancer that was first diagnosed more than five years ago.
His co-director at Fathom, Erik Britton, said: "His passing is a great loss not only to his family, friends and colleagues, but also to the wider economics community."
Shares of agricultural giant Monsanto surged at the start of trading on reports that it is a takeover target for Bayer or BASF. The shares jumped 11% after Bloomberg reported that Bayer is considering a bid for the US company. A separate report by StreetInsider.com said that German chemicals firm BASF might also make a bid.
The broader market was back on a positive track after losses on Wednesday. About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones index was up 0.4% at 17,784.84 points. The broader S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 2,072.97, while the Nasdaq was also up 0.4% to 4,777.97.
The FTSE 100 seems unfazed by talk of 'technical recession' and Brexit's dire consequences. The index is up 0.24% at 6,177.14 points, having been in the red for much of the morning.
The reaction in the foreign exchange market to today’s raft of announcements by the Bank of England has been muted, with little of significance in the revised forecasts to merit a shift in sentiment. Having briefly spiked higher on the announcement at midday, the pound has since settled back and is trading slightly lower against both the US dollar and euro, at $1.4460 and €1.2698, respectively. Similarly, UK government bond yields are largely unmoved. The fact that today’s decision to keep policy unchanged was unanimous put paid to earlier speculation that one or two members of the MPC may have been thinking about voting for a rate cut following recent weak data."
What other work is the Bank doing in the event of a Brexit? Mr Carney says the Bank has been talking to businesses, and banks in particular, about the steps they are taking to mitigate against this risks they potentially see.
Mr Carney defends himself against accusations that he is straying into political territory again. He says it is the "independent" and "dispassionate" assessment of the MPC - not just him - that the European Union presents the greatest risk to the economy adding that it is better to address that risk in "real time".
Mr Carney says that at every meeting he and his colleagues have, whether with central bank colleagues, finance ministers, the heads of large corporate entities and small businesses, he is asked about the European referendum. Put simply, it's the number one issue he is asked about, he says.
The direction of monetary policy will depend entirely on what happens after 23 June, Mr Carney says. "Obviously, if we needed to tighten policy it's a conventional monetary instrument. If we needed to loosen monetary policy the judgement of the MPC is that we have room to further lower the Bank rate."
The Bank governor is pushed on the whether he will use the R word - recession. There are a range of possible scenarios around the Bank's forecasts, which could even include the possibility of a technical recession, Mr Carney admits.
He says the Bank isn't making a comment or forecast about the longer term consequences of leaving the European Union. Instead, it's trying to help the British people better understand the path of monetary policy based on certain events, he says.
The pound spiked up after the announcements from the Bank of England. It rose as high as $1.4492, but then slipped back and was recently trading at $1.4458, more or less where it started the session.
The BBC's Kamal Ahmed tweets:
"The EU referendum makes describing the outlook for inflation more difficult than usual," Bank governor Mark Carney says as he gives his statement at the start of the Inflation Report press conference.
The Bank also warns that if Britain were to leave the EU the likely impact on the economy would leave it with a difficult choice.
The MPC would face a trade-off between stabilising inflation on the one hand and output and employment on the other. The implications for the direction of monetary policy will depend on the relative magnitudes of the demand, supply and exchange rate effects. Whatever the outcome of the referendum and its consequences, the MPC will take whatever action is needed to ensure that inflation expectations remain well anchored and inflation returns to the target over the appropriate horizon.
In reaction to today's statements from the Bank of England, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
"This is a very big moment in the debate about the economic costs of leaving the EU.
“Today we have a clear and unequivocal warning, not just from the Governor of the Bank of England but also in the collective judgement of the Monetary Policy Committee, that a vote to leave would mean both materially lower growth and notably higher inflation.
“The Bank is saying that it would face a trade-off between stabilising inflation on one hand and stabilising output and employment on the other.
“So either families would face lower incomes because inflation would be higher, or the economy would be weaker with a hit to jobs and livelihoods.
“This is a lose-lose situation for Britain. Either way, we’d be poorer.”
The Bank says the reason for the downward revision in its growth forecast is that "a period of uncertainty ahead of the referendum will be associated with a period of weaker growth — already apparent in some indicators — this year"
Given the conditioning assumption that the United Kingdom remains in the European Union, this weakness is projected to unwind over subsequent quarters. There are risks around this path: if uncertainty effects are weighing more on the data than assumed then underlying momentum may be greater; conversely if uncertainty effects are weighing less then underlying momentum may have slowed more than assumed."
The Bank of England has lowered its economic growth forecast for this year from the 2.2% forecast in February's Inflation Report to 2%.
It has also lowered its growth forecasts for the following two years to 2.3% from 2.4% in 2017, and to 2.3% from 2.5% in 2018.