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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Tesco Express to axe deputy manager roles
  3. Warren Buffett buys up Apple shares
  4. Shares in car insurers tumble
  5. Shares in London Stock Exchange slide as merger plan falters

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By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Treasury seeks departmental spending cuts

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale writes

US market winning streak hits new milestone

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a new high for the 12th consecutive day on Monday.

The US index of leading stocks ended 15.61 points ahead at 20,837.37, lifted by US President Donald Trump's promise to invest in infrastructure.

Catepillar, the construction equipment maker, remained the biggest riser with its shares up 2% at $97.42.

The Nasdaq close up 16.58 points at 5,861.90 and the S&P 500 advanced 2.39 points at 2,369.73.

Maker of faulty airbags pleads guilty

Air Force Lt. Stephanie Erdman
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Air Force Lt. Stephanie Erdman testifies after being injured by an exploding airbag

Takata has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and agreed to pay $1bn after the Japanese auto parts maker admitted to hiding a fault that caused airbags to explode with too much force.   

Detroit federal Judge George Caram Steeh accepted a guilty plea to a fraud charge from the company. 

US prosecutors still are seeking extradition of three former Takata executives from Japan to face criminal charges.

Sony ups the ante on cool

Everything looks better in slow motion and now everyone has chance to be cool.

Sony has unveiled its new Xperia XZ Premium smartphone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It captures slow-motion footage at four times the rate possible on Apple and Samsung's top-end models.

Watch the BBC's Spencer Kelly put it through its paces...

MWC 2017: Sony smartphone films in super-slow-motion

Crunch time for Brazil nuts

Nuts
Mike Beales

Those for a taste for Brazil nuts should stock up now. Poor weather means the harvest in 2017 could be between 30% and 40% down on normal years.

The Guardian reports that low rainfall in Bolivia, where more than half the global crop is grown, is already causing prices to escalate. 

As Europe's biggest importer of Brazil nuts, the UK could be particularly hard hit.

Caterpillar's stock grows on Trump pledge

Catepillar
Getty Images

US stocks edged up higher on Monday, when the Dow Jones industrial average added 6.31 points at 20,828.07.

The index of leading shares fluttered between negative and positive territory following remarks about spending by US President Donald Trump ahead of his appearance in front Congress on Tuesday.

Caterpillar, the construction and mining equipment maker, led the risers after Mr Trump set out his aims for improving US infrastructure, in particular the country's roads and tunnels. 

John Major pulls no punches over Brexit

The Queen launches UK-India Year of Culture

The Queen and Boris Johnson
PA
The Queen greets foreign secretary Boris Johnson at the launch reception

The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.

It seeks to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two countries. 

The initiative was announced before Britain's decision to leave the EU but it could not be more timely.

Prime Minister Theresa May visited India last year and made it very clear she would like closer economic and military ties with the country.

Compensation changes 'long overdue'

Injured driver
iStock

Changes to the way compensation payments are calculated are "long overdue", according to a personal injury lawyer.

Sarah Stanton, a partner at Moore Blatch solicitors in London, told 5 live Drive: "Claimants have been left with two options: one – the money running out at some stage in the future; or taking a high-risk investment vehicle”.

Car insurers are up in arms over the move, which could push up premiums by up to £75. The Ministry of Justice says it has no choice under the current law. 

The change is due to take effect from 20 March.  

Drones made safer with new technology

And now some good news from drone lovers. Manufacturer DJI says it has installed technology in its M200 series which will warn the drone operator when a plane of helicopter is nearby. 

View more on twitter

'Absurdity' abounds on compensation changes

The chairman of the Treasury Select Committee said the Government's proposal to change the calculation for compensation payments has a "look of absurdity about it".

Andrew Tyrie said Ms Truss "appears to have had little choice" under the current legal framework to change the discount rate.

But he warned: "The result will be sharp rises in people's insurance premiums, and a big hit to the public finances."

"The principle that people should receive full compensation for the losses that they have suffered is a reasonable one. But implementing it in this way is probably not, and has a look of absurdity about it." 

Who killed the LSE deal?

A merger between the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse is looking increasingly unlikely to go ahead.

BBC business editor Simon Jack asks who, why and what now?

Sotheby's shares jump on strong finish

Andy Warhol's 'Self-Portrait (Fright Wig)
Getty Images
Andy Warhol's 'Self-Portrait (Fright Wig) was sold by Sotheby's last November for $24.4m

Shares in Sotheby's soared by 13.4% on Monday after the auction house reported better than expected full-year financials following a successful fourth quarter when profit rose and costs declined.

Sotheby's chief executive Tad Smith, said: "Our fourth quarter 2016 results came in better than expected largely due to a number of strong fourth quarter sales. These results reflect growing confidence in the market as collectors responded enthusiastically to the great collections and works we secured for sale."

Future is female for cyber crime fighters

National Cyber Security Centre
Getty Images

GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is looking for the next generation of cyber spies and has turned the nation's girls to fill the ranks.

More than 5,000 girls have signed up to take part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition where teams will take on a number of challenges to progress to a national final in March.

The initiative is aim at inspiring more women to join the global cyber workforce where just 10% of staff are female.

Alison Whitney, deputy director for digital services at the NCSC, said: "Having worked in cyber security for over a decade I would recommend it to any young woman hoping to make a positive impact on the world."

The winners will take home individual prizes and their school will receive IT equipment worth £1,000.

FTSE 100 ends ahead

The FTSE 100 clawed back some ground on Monday to close up 16 points at 7,259.72.

The insurance sector was the day's biggest loser, following proposed changes to compensation calculations . Direct Line 's shares fell 7.2% at 338.2p and Admiral Group 's stock lost 2.5% at £18.22.

Trump sets out US infrastructure concerns

Donald Trump
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Ahead of a speech to Congress on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump detailed his concerns about the country's infrastructure and which areas are likely to receive investment.

Mr Trump said: "We're going to make it easier for states to invest in infrastructure and I'm going to have a big statement tomorrow night on infrastructure.

"We spend $6trn in the Middle East and we have potholes all over our highways and our roads. I have a friend who's in the trucking business. He said 'my trucks are destroyed going from New York to Los Angeles. They're destroyed'. He said 'I'm not going to get the good trucks anymore'. He always prided himself on buying the best equipment. He said 'the roads are so bad that by the time we make the journey from New York to Los Angeles or back', he said 'the equipment is just beat to hell'.

"I said 'when has it been that before?' He said 'it has never' - he has been in business for 40 years - he said 'its never been like that. 40 years, never been like that'. So we're going to take care of that infrastructure, so we're going to start spending on infrastructure big. Not like we have a choice. Its not like "gee, lets hold it off".

Mr Trump added: "Our highways, our bridges are unsafe. Our tunnels, I mean we have tunnels in New York where the tiles are on the ceiling and you see many tiles missing. And you wonder you know you're driving 40 miles an hour, 50 miles an hour through a tunnel. Take a look at the Lincoln Tunnel and the Queens mid-town tunnel and you're driving and you see all this loose material, that's heavy. You know it was made made years ago so its heavy, today its light. Used to be better. The problem is you got to hold it up. And I say to myself every time I drive through, I say I wonder how many people are hurt, injured when they're driving 40-50 miles an hour through a tunnel and a tile falls off. And there's so many missing tiles and such loose concrete."

The president concluded: "So we have to fix our infrastructure. It is not like we have a choice. We have no choice and we're going to do it. It also happens to mean jobs which is a good thing."

More than the bare necessities

Moving Picture Company's Adam Valdez tells the BBC how the Jungle Book won an Oscar for best visual effects.  

View more on twitter

Compensation changes are 'a setback'

Carolyn Fairbairn
Getty Images

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, is concerned about  the Government's proposed changes  to the way compensation payments for people who suffer long-term injuries are calculated.

She says: "The unexpected, significant cut to the discount rate is a setback for the UK’s world-leading insurance industry. It subjects insurance companies to a large and sudden shock at a time when stability and predictability should be prioritised.

“We support a fair framework for claimants and defendants, but the way in which the discount rate is calculated is flawed, as it is based solely on short term market movements."

She adds: "It’s important that the planned consultation happens straight away, to make sure long term economic factors are included in the calculation of the discount rate.

“From the increasing strain of business rates to questions over the UK’s future relationship with Europe, the cumulative burden of challenges is weighing on UK companies. Now more than ever, it is critically important that firms have a stable policy framework to in which to grow, invest and drive prosperity for all parts of the UK.”

US stocks rise on Trump budget proposals

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.91 points to 20,832.67 following remarks by Donald Trump regarding his first budget proposal.

The US president said he will increase defense spending by $54bn, while reducing investment in other areas such as foreign aid. 

Trump to spend on 'infrastructure big'

Donald Trump
Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has pledged to increase infrastructure investment ahead of a speech he will make to Congress on Tuesday.

He said today: "We're going to start spending on infrastructure big."

The president also said his budget will raise spending on defense."We're going to do more with less and make the government lean and accountable."

Mr Trump also added that he would cut tax "very very substantially" and will simplify the tax code.

Mittal upbeat on UK-India relations

Rajan Bharti Mittal
Getty Images

One of India's biggest businesses believes Brexit is a boon for Anglo-India trade relations. 

Rajan Bharti Mittal, vice chairman of Bharti Enterprises, tells the BBC that removing the EU from the equation means deals can be reached in a much speedier fashion. 

"The relationship between India-UK probably will be more strengthened because they have been certain laws where EU also stepped in," he says.

He adds: "For a relationship, it’s a good time that both the countries can actually reset the button and put the investment on a much faster trajectory."

US stocks fall on opening

Dow Jones industrial average
Getty Images

US stocks opened down on Monday, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling 44.95 points to 20,776.81.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq fell 17.94 points to 5,827.36. While the S&P 500 fell 3.24 points to 2,364.10.

ABI boss calls for speedy action on discount rate

Director General of the ABI Huw Evans writes

'Why I employ autistic people'

See the latest installment of the BBC's CEO Secrets series...

FTSE drifts lower on insurance and LSE

The FTSE 100 gave up early gains on Monday afternoon to topple into negative territory.

The leading index of blue chip stocks edged down 0.88 points to 7,242.82.

Direct Line Insurance remained the biggest faller, down 6.45% at 341.1p following proposed changes to calculating compensation payments

The London Stock Exchange also traded lower, falling 2.7% at £30.40 as it looked increasingly unlikely that its merger with Deutsche Boerse will go ahead.

Bunzl , the distribution and outsourcing business, led the risers, up 3.2% at £22.42 on hopes that US President Donald Trump's plan to increase US manufacturing will mean an uplift for the company's "gloves and boots and safety products".

Tesco announces mass demotion

Tesco Express
Getty Images

Tesco has announced that it will replace 1,700 deputy managers at its Express convenience stores with lower paid "shift leaders". 

The UK's largest supermarket said the move will create 3,300 new roles. It added that its existing 1,700 deputy managers will be offered new shift leader positions or alternative roles in other Tesco stores.  

Tracey Clements, managing director of Convenience at Tesco said the changes will improve customer service by having "more of our colleagues on the shop floor, more often".

She added: "We appreciate that these changes will impact our deputy manager colleagues, and will do everything we can to support them throughout this period.”

US durable goods orders rise in January

Boeing 737
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Orders for US durable goods (items that last longer than three years) rose 1.8% in January after two months of declines. 

Last month there was a surge in demand for commercial and military aircraft. 

However, if you exclude the transport sector, orders slipped 0.2%.

Shares in Kaz Minerals slump

The biggest loser on the FTSE 250 is Kaz Minerals, with a near 6% slide.

The fall came after HSBC cut its price target for the company's shares.

Kaz is a copper miner, based in Kazakhstan.

Last year sales rose 43% to $969m and profits were $180m, reversing a loss in the previous year.

Global art market shrinks

Gallery assistants
Getty Images

The global art market shrank by 22% in 2016 as investors made fewer big-ticket purchases, new research shows.

According to Artprice - a database of art sales - art auctions worldwide totaled $12.5bn last year, down 22% from $16.1bn in 2015. 

Despite the drop, more lower-cost art was sold, while China regained its position as the world's number one art market with $4.8bn of auction sales, beating the US. 

Adidas shares race ahead

Adidas running spikes
Get

With a near 4% jump, shares in Adidas are the big winners on Germany's Dax index. 

That's after positive comments from analysts at UBS and RBC. Both banks raised their price targets for the shares.

UBS analysts think that Adidas could surprise the markets this year with stronger than expected growth and profit margins.

Saudi Arabia to invest in Malaysian refinery

Aramco oil rig
Aramco

Saudi Arabia's state-controlled oil firm Aramco, has announced plans to invest $7bn in a giant oil refinery in Malaysia. 

The project is being led by Malaysia's state oil firm, Petronas and is scheduled to come online in 2019. 

It will be a challenge to Singapore which is a nearby hub for oil refining.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak made the announcement on the second day of a four-day state visit to Malaysia by Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

Buffett splashes out on Apple stocks

Reuters
Getty Images

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has revealed his company bought 120 million shares in Apple last quarter. 

Mr Buffett told CNBC: "Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product," adding that Berkshire Hathaway's stake was now worth about $17bn and amounted to 133 million shares.

The firm also bought more than $9bn shares in airlines which he believes are operating more efficiently than they used to. 

Profits at Berkshire Hathaway rose 15% in the fourth quarter .

Alibaba blames 'weak laws' for counterfeiting problems

Jack Ma, Alibaba
Getty Images

Alibaba has blamed China's weak laws for its difficulties in stamping out counterfeiting on its e-commerce platforms.

The firm - which is lobbying to be taken off a US blacklist of marketplaces notorious for fakes - said it reported almost 4,500 counterfeiting operations to authorities in 2016, but they resulted in just 33 convictions.

"Ambiguities in the law have meant that enforcement officers have found it difficult to classify and quantify cases of counterfeiting, let alone commence legal proceedings," the Chinese firm said.

Authorities do not investigate counterfeiting operations with a value of less than 50,000 yuan ($7,280), it added.

Deutsche Boerse merger a 'commercial matter' - PM's spokesman

Deutsche Boerse
Getty Images

Deutsche Boerse's planned merger with the London Stock Exchange is a "commercial matter" for the companies involved, a spokesperson for Theresa May has said.

It came in response to reporters asking about a statement from the London Stock Exchange on Sunday which all but ended a planned merger that could have created Europe's biggest stock exchange.

The LSE said the deal was unlikely to be approved by the European Commission due to competition concerns, and that it would struggle to sell its MTS subsidiary to meet regulators' demands. 

'Brexit is a wrinkle'

BBC World Service

Anya Hindmarch, the British designer of beautiful handbags and accessories, is upbeat about the country's post-Brexit future. 

Anya Hindmarch thinks Brexit won't kill London's 'creative madness'.

Number of freelancers has 'almost doubled since 2008'

Deliveroo driver
Getty Images

The number of freelancers in the UK workforce has almost doubled since 2008, new research shows.

Industry association IPSE said that this group - who are distinct to self-employed people who own their own businesses - grew 43% to two million in 2016. 

They also contributed £119bn to the economy last year, up from £109bn in 2015.

IPSE added that freelancers - who make up 42% of the wider 4.8 million self-employed population - continued to be the fastest-growing segment of self-employment.

Insurers drag on FTSE 100

FTSE ticker board
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 has pared some of its earlier gains as insurers drag on the index, and is now up by just 0.16%.

Earlier the government unveiled new regulations that could push premiums up, and insurers' profits down. It's sent Direct Line 7.73% lower while Admiral has lost 2.94%.

The London Stock Exchange Group is also trading sharply lower as hopes for its merger with Deutsche Borse fade. The stock is down by around 3%.

No quick UK-India trade deal

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

India's finance minister has said that a free trade deal with Britain will take a “long time” and that no negotiations will start until the Brexit process has been completed.

On a visit to the UK today to meet the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary to discuss trade, Arun Jaitley said there was “great enthusiasm” for a deal.

But he made it clear that any talks would have to run “in parallel” with current Indian negotiations with the European Union.

The EU and India launched free trade talks in 2007 but progress has been slow.

“Both will move [in] parallel,” Mr Jaitley answered.