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Summary

  1. US consumer prices jump 0.4% in April
  2. Wall Street falls as rate rise expectations increase
  3. UK inflation rate falls to 0.3% in April
  4. Vodafone reports rising revenues in Europe
  5. Oil prices surge over supply disruption
  6. UK regulator to 'revolutionise' information on bank accounts

Live Reporting

By Katie Hope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

That's it for tonight. But join us again from first thing tomorrow. We'll be here bright and early at 6am with the UK unemployment data as well as results from Burberry and SABMiller.

Home Depot loses 2.5%

US DIY chain Home Depot was one of the biggest losers on the New York stock exchange, closing down 2.5%. It may seem illogical considering the firm today reported a stronger-than-expected first quarter and increased its forecast for full year profit.

But the firm's shares had risen almost 20% over the past year, and analysts said the strong performance was already priced in leading investors to take profits.

Home Depot
Getty Images

With shares trading at a premium to historical averages and expectations for slower profit margin improvement going forward as the company is at peak profit margins, we believe shares fully reflect the company's high growth expectations.

Robin DiedrichEdward Jones analyst

Wall St closes down

Dow Jones
BBC

Wall Street has ended the day firmly down, eliminating all of Monday's gains. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 182.1 points, or 1.03%, to 17,528.61, the S&P 500 lost 19.55 points, or 0.95%, to 2,047.11 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 59.73 points, or 1.25%, to 4,715.73.

"Investors are taking good economic news as bad investment news, because it will prompt the Federal Reserve to come and raise rates more aggressively.

Jack AblinBMO Private Bank chief investment officer

Dell ups bond sale to $20bn due to huge demand

Dell has increased the size of its bond sale to $20bn after massive investor demand saw some $87bn worth of orders for the computer group's offering, according to bankers close to the deal. The sale was necessary to finance its takeover of data storage firm EMC.

What's scaring markets?

Here's a very visual display of the sharp turnaround in US consumer inflation. It's that upwards line at the end that makes US investors think a rate rise may be on the cards sooner rather than later. 

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Mind the pay gap

fat cat
Getty Images

The gap between chief executive and the average worker pay has been well documented on both sides of the Atlantic. 

The latest survey in the US calculates chief executives of the S&P 500 companies on average made 335 times more money than the average worker last year. 

On average US bosses made $12.4m last year,  compared to the $36,900 earned by the average worker, according to the annual survey by the AFL-CIO, the largest US union.

It seems unfair, but what's the best way to calculate pay? Read more here.

US shares fall almost 1%

The Dow Jones index in the US is still almost 1% lower after earleir consumer price data suggested inflation was ticking up. That raises the likelihood of an interest rate rise. The Dow Jones is down 161 points at 17,549.02.

Greek islands for sale

Lihnari Peninsula
Private Islands Online

Well this passed me by. There's a website devoted to selling private islands.

You can search by country, by price or browse the recommendations of Private Islands Online.

As Business Insider points out, many island can be bought for much less than the price of a house in some of London's pricier districts.

€3m will buy you the Lihnari Penisula, which has 95 acres, fresh water, a road and olive trees.

Should firms speak out on the EU vote?

Sand castle with EU/British flags
Getty Images

Today's seen a real flurry of firms putting out their opinions on whether it's better for the UK to be in or out of the EU ahead of the 23 June vote. 

But it is actually any of their business?

BBC business editor Simon Jack has been looking at the issue. Read about it here.

Mind your own business! Microsoft, Aviva, HP, Whetherspoons etc write to staff about EU Vote - should they? My blog. bbc.co.uk/news/business-…

Shell shareholders advised to reject exec pay

Investor advisers Glass Lewis and PIRC have recommended shareholders oppose Royal Dutch Shell chief executive's 2015 remuneration at the oil and gas company's annual general meeting next week. "We remain concerned by the disconnect between bonus payouts and financial performance, and the bonus scheme structure more generally," Glass Lewis said in a report to shareholders, seen by Reuters on Tuesday. PIRC said in a separate report "the ratio of CEO pay compared to average employee pay is 37:1, which is unacceptable". Ben van Beurden's total direct remuneration fell 8 percent last year to €5.135m ($5.63m, the company said in its annual report in March.  

BP exploration boss quits

BP logo
Getty Images

BP's head of exploration Richard Herbert is leaving the oil giant after just over two years, according to Reuters

Mr Herbert re-joined the firm after several years at rival Talisman Energy and was charged with helping the firm to rebuild investor confidence after its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. 

In an emailed statement to Reuters, BP said Herbert would leave the company in June, following a decision to simplify the upstream executive team, headed by Bernard Looney, and bring exploration, global projects, reservoir developments and technology under one roof, reporting to James Dupree.

Howard Leach, head of technical functions in exploration, has been appointed interim head of exploration.

Standard Life AGM: What you need to know

BBC Scotland business and economy editor Douglas Fraser has been at insurer's Standard Life's AGM. He highlights three interesting elements:

-          The company’s for a "remain" vote in the EU referendum. (It issued one of the more controversial warnings about a "yes" vote in the Scottish independence referendum.)

-          The remuneration report passed by 78% to 22%, but the chairman’s statement makes it clear that they’ve recognised things will have to change. That’s after ceo Keith Skeoch voluntarily took a cut in his bonus from 500% of salary to merely 400%.

-          The company has found £90m in unclaimed assets, which it is using to set up the Standard Life Foundation to promote work on closing the savings gap – “one of the largest bodies of its type in the UK”.

We believe that access to the EU Single Market is in the best interests of our customers and clients. The Single Market has created an environment that gives individuals and businesses the confidence to invest for the long term and it would be potentially damaging to the UK economy and therefore to companies such as Standard Life if the UK were to leave it.

Gerry GrimstoneStandard Life chairman

The real slum-dog millionaire

BBC presenter Victoria Fritz tweets...

Qatar ups its stake in British Airways owner

BA plane
Getty Images

Qatar Airways has increased its stake in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group to 15.01%.

The move comes just a month after it upped its stake to just under 12% from 9.99% in April.

And it might not stop there. Qatar said  it "may consider increasing its stake further over time within the allowable limits".

Under current rules, foreign investors cannot own more than 49% of a European airline. 

We have been very happy with our investment in IAG, from a financial, commercial and strategic perspective.

Akbar al-BakerQatar Airways chief executive

FTSE ends flat

The FTSE 100 has ended the day pretty much where it began, closing 0.2% higher at 6,160.90. Despite the lack of action, it's fared better than European markets. France's Cac-40 and Germany's Dax have both closed lower, by 0.5% and 0.8% respectively. 

Wetherspoon boss reiterates his EU exit view

Wetherspoon pub
Getty Images

It's becoming a bit of a Tuesday trend. Now Wetherspoon founder and chair Tim Martin has followed Microsoft and written to his employees about why the UK should vote to leave the EU. 

It's not a new view. Mr Martin, a member of the official campaign group Vote Leave, has said before there would be "far more uncertainty" if the UK chose to stay in the EU in the referendum to be held on 23 June.

But this time he's had his view printed at length in the Wetherspoon News magazine which will be in all the chain's pubs from 25 May.

By regaining democracy and power over our own future, we can make our own laws in this country and elect and dismiss our political representatives – while retaining good relations with our good friends in Europe and the world. Continuing to give away power to the unelected elite in Brussels is a dangerous and unpredictable path.

Tim MartinWetherspoon chair

Fancy a soylent?

NY business editor tweets...

Will the Fed hike interest rates this year?

Some economists certainly believe today's upbeat data could help nudge the Fed towards a hike. 

The combination of higher prices, housing gains and industrial production support the narrative of a second-quarter rebound in GDP, and will stir talks of the necessity of at least one Fed hike later this year.

Jay MorelockFTN Financial economist

The latest round of data was as good as it gets... We continue to expect two to three rate hikes for this year, and are thus at odds with financial markets, which have barely priced in a single hike in 2016.

Harm BandholzUniCredit Research chief US economist

Markets are 'a bit of a muddle'

"A bit of a muddle" is how Spreadex financial analyst Connor Campbell sums up the current state of markets.

This morning inflation was the name of the game this afternoon; unlike the drab UK figure, however, the US number surpassed expectations to hit a 3 year-plus high of 0.4%. Add onto that a 3 month peak for the industrial production data (at 0.7% April’s figure was far higher than March’s downward revised -0.9%), an improving capacity utilization rate and a solid set of housing starts and some eager analysts were all of a sudden whispering about a potential June rate hike. And whilst next week’s Q1 GDP second estimate may well nip that chatter in the bud it was still bad news for the Dow Jones, the index slipping around 90 points after the bell.

Connor CampbellSpreadex financial analyst

Interest rate hike fears see Wall Street open lower

The strong consumer prices rise in April has sent US markets down in early trading, with investors fearing it has increased the chance of an interest rate rise this year. 

Currently the Dow Jones is down 0.5% at 17,628.25, the S&P 500 is 0.3% lower at 2,059.56 and the Nasdaq is also 0.3% lower at 4,761.16

Microsoft says the UK should remain in the EU

Microsoft logo
g

Microsoft has come out publicly in favour of the UK remaining in the EU ahead of the 23 June referendum. 

The tech giant says while it believes the decision is one for individual voters, as a business "our view is that the UK should remain in the UK".

"Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we respect the decisions made by UK voters. 

"Our commitment to our staff and business here remains firm, but we also believe the UK remaining in the EU supports important criteria for continued and future investment by Microsoft and others," UK chief executive Michel Van der Bel wrote in an email sent to its 5,000 UK employees and 25,000 UK partner businesses.

US industrial production in biggest rise for 17 months

It's not just US inflation which is rising. US industrial production also rose in April, jumping 0.7% from March and marking its biggest increase since November 2014. 

Utility production, which rose 5.8% in April, drove the increase, the Federal Reserve said.

Final Lloyds share sale 'this year'

Lloyds bank branch
Getty Images

The government will sell its final stake in Lloyds Banking Group "this year", the Treasury has just announced after reporting a £130m dividend payment from its holding.

"I am determined to build on this success by making Lloyds shares available to the public this year, so that we can build a share-owning democracy and continue to reduce our national debt," said economic secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin.

The taxpayer still owns just under 10% of the bank.  

The sale of the final part of the government's stake in Lloyds was a general election pledge made by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Chancellor George Osborne  postponed the sale in January saying the global turmoil in the markets had sparked the delay.  

US inflation sees biggest jump for over three years

UK inflation may have fallen in April, but across the Atlantic it's a different story. Over in the US, consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in more than three years for the same month, boosted by higher prices for gasoline and rents.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4%, the largest gain since February 2013, after rising 0.1% in March, The Labor Department said. That took the year-on-year increase in the CPI rate to 1.1% from 0.9% in March.

Good afternoon

Hello, Thanks to Ben and Chris for this morning's coverage. It's Katie Hope here now and I'll be taking you through the afternoon. Stay with me for the Wall Street open and the latest on the BHS bid situation. 

TJ Maxx sales soar

TJ Maxx sign
Getty Images

Like-for-like sales at TK Maxx (TJ Maxx in the US) soared 7% in the three months to April as shoppers searched for bargains. Net sales jumped $670m to $7.54bn (£5.2bn), while net profit rose $34m to $508m. 

Flying robots

This feature by Mark Smith is one of the most popular on the BBC News website today:

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BreakingFTSE pares gains

TUI Travel
TUI

London's blue-chip index is now up just 0.5% at 6,181 points, with housebuilder Taylor Wimpey still the top riser - up almost 4.9% - and travel operator TUI - owner of brands including Thomson - holding the wooden spoon with a 1.7% decline.

Vodafone, which posted a return to revenue growth in Europe for the first since in six years today, is up 2.1%.  

That Scottish house price fall explained

Wondering why Scottish house prices have fallen 6.1% year-on-year in March? There was a big rise in prices in March last year as buyers scrambled to avoid a 3% rise in the land and buildings transaction tax, it seems, which has distorted the picture a little.

Here's a chart showing the rises in house prices elsewhere in the UK courtesy of commentator Henry Pryor.

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FSB welcomes bank switching measures

As well as helping consumers, the proposals from the competition regulator were also designed to aid small business.

Here's what the Federation of Small Business (FSB) has to say:

“Today's banking market does not work well for small business. We welcome the package of measures aimed at boosting awareness of the Current Account Switching Service (CASS). Current levels of switching among small firms are far too low, with only 4 per cent of FSB members switching in the last year. A new awareness campaign and measures to make switching transparent are promising steps.”

Mike CherryFSB National Chairman

Wig out?

Ashley to answer MPs' questions

Mike Ashley
PA

Sports Direct has confirmed that founder Mike Ashley (pictured right) has agreed to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about employment practices at the retailer.

There is a catch, however. Committee members have to visit his Shirebrook premises ahead of the hearing to "see employment conditions and practices with their own eyes". Bet the MPs will love that.

Grand designs for garden centre

Petersham nursery
Petersham Nurseries

For those not familiar with south-west London, Petersham Nurseries is an upmarket garden centre with a celebrated, but pricey restaurant.

In a somewhat surprising move, Petersham is taking over space in a new development in Covent Garden in the West End of London.

Petersham has signed a deal to take 16,000 square feet in the Kings Court development, according to owners Capital & Counties Properties.

Inflation: 'Erratic Easter effects'

Clothing store
Getty Images

So inflation has slowed to 0.3%. Ruth Miller, UK economist at Capital Economics, writes: "April’s fall in CPI inflation merely reflects erratic Easter effects unwinding and is unlikely to be the start of a renewed downward trend. But the big picture is that price pressures in the economy are still weak."

She points out that two "erratic" components of CPI - air fares and clothing - wiped out last month's rise.

"Indeed, airfares always looked likely to reverse March’s 22.9% monthly rise, given that this was largely driven by the timing of Easter – which fell in March this year compared to April in 2015. Meanwhile, clothing prices posted an unexpected fall of 0.4% on the month, which may just reflect April’s poor weather."

Home Depot nails higher profits

Home Depot store
Getty Images

Home Depot reported a better-than-expected first-quarter profit of $1.8bn - up 14.2% compared with the same period last year. Revenues came in at $22.7bn - also higher than analysts' forecasts, as like-for-like sales rose 6.5%.

Brent crude at six-month high

Oil pump
Getty Images

Oil is trading at just over $49 a barrel, supported by supply outages in Nigeria, Canada and other producers that are eroding a persistent glut. 

Brent crude is at a six-month high of $49.47 intra-day and up 2 cents at $48.99. US crude is up 33 cents at $48.05 after earlier touching $48.42 - the highest since October. 

"The longer these outages last, the quicker the pace of rebalancing," said analysts at Energy Aspects.

Deutsche hires former EDF finance chief

Thomas Piquemal
Getty Images

Some people do land on their feet. Thomas Piquemal, the former finance chief of EDF who quit in March, has been hired by Deutsche Bank to head its global mergers and acquisitions division. 

A former Lazard banker, Mr Piquemal, 47, will be based in Paris and also run Deutsche's corporate and investment banking activities in France. 

He left EDF over doubts about whether its intention to push ahead with the Hinkley Point nuclear reactor project in Britain was financially viable. 

The Great Glass Elevator is coming...

ThyssenKruppElevator hopes to make every Roald Dahl fan’s dream come true.

Lifts that go up, down... and sideways - Andreas Schierenbeck on the future of elevators.

House prices v wages

Resolution Foundation chief economist Matthew Whittaker tweets:

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