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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Pound rises above $1.26, FTSE 100 falls nearly 1%
  3. US markets open lower
  4. Qatar to invest another £5bn in UK
  5. BT fined record £42m by Ofcom
  6. Sir James Dyson 'enormously optimistic' about post-Brexit Britain
  7. UK government launches inquiry after nuclear clean-up contract is ended early

Live Reporting

By Emily Young

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all folks!

Goodnight from the Business Live Page. Enjoy your evening and do join us again for more action tomorrow.

Dow falls, longest losing streak since 2011

NYSE trader
Getty Images

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Index has closed lower, although only by 0.2% to 20,550.98. Still, that makes it the eighth consectuvie day of falls and the longest losing streak since 2011.

The S&P also dipped - closing down by 0.1% at 2,341.59.

But the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to rise by 0.2% to 5,840.37.

Tesco response to shareholder letter

Tesco has responded to the letter from shareholders questioning the wisdom of its purchase of the cash and carry retailer Bookers.

“We always listen closely to the view of our shareholders," a spokesperson said.

"We have had a wide series of meetings over the last two months and are pleased with the overall response. We have been working on the transaction for over twelve months and believe the strategic and financial rationale is compelling. 

"We are confident that it will enhance our recovery plans for Tesco and deliver substantial benefits to customers and shareholders. 

Financially, it will unlock more synergies than Booker's operating profit for the 2016 financial year and deliver a return in excess of our cost of capital in the second year. 

Strategically, it builds on our core expertise of sourcing, distributing and selling food in the UK market and will enable us to enter the faster growing out of home food consumption market. 

"Since announcing the transaction the majority of our top 10 shareholders have chosen to increase their shareholding in Tesco and we hope to convince all our shareholders of the merits of the transaction.”

Pimco 'like family to me' says former bond trader Bill Gross

A long-running lawsuit between the bond-trading firm Pimco and its former star trader, Bill Gross, has been settled.

The terms of the settlement were not released but media reports put the payout to Gross at $81m.

Gross, known as the 'Bond King', is now a fund manager at Janus Group. He was suing his former employers claiming that he had been forced out so that his colleagues could get his share of the bonus.

"Pimco has always been family to me, and, like any family, sometimes there are disagreements," Mr Gross said. 

"I'm glad that we have had the opportunity to work through those."  

Mr Gross said the money from the settlement would go to charity.

Markets 'cautiously optimistic'

US stock markets continue to recover from early falls. One investor tells Reuters that he's hopeful the Trump rally will continue for some time yet.

"The market is still cautiously optimistic that the Trump White House will be able to push through many of their pro-business policies, and I think a lot of people are hopeful the Trump rally can continue through at least the middle of the year," said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa. 

Tesco letter in full

The letter from Schroders to Tesco in full...

Schorders letter to Tesco
BBC

Insurance firm backs breathalyser that can pick up cancer

The insurance firm Aviva is investing $5m (£4m) in a company that makes a new type of breathlyser - that can detect the early onset of cancer and other serious illnesses at an early stage.

"Traditionally, insurance has supported customers in the aftermath of a problem, going forward prevention will be just as important as the cure," said Ben Luckett from Aviva.

The firm behind the idea - Owlstone Medical - is looking to develop tests for two of the most common types of terminal cancer: lung cancer and colorectal cancer.

US markets recover

Traders on Wall Street seem to be easing back on today's share price sell-off - with both the Dow Jones and the S&P off their session lows (both just 0.2% lower), and the Nasdaq now just edging higher.

Tesco is 'overpaying' for Booker

In a letter to Tesco chairman John Allan, Schroders claims that the supermarket group's £3.7bn offer for the cash and carry retailer Booker would destroy value.

Schroders, which has a 4.5% stake in Tesco, says that Tesco is paying too much for for the grocery wholesaler and that chief executive Dave Lewis should concentrate on turning around the business.

Tesco is still under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for overstating its results. 

The letter states: "...we have been supporters of the focus on improving operating margins, reducing leverage and simplifying the business. However, there is more to be done to achieve a successful turnaround of Tesco's business."

It also praised Richard Cousins for quitting his role as a non-executive director of Tesco because he disagreed with Booker deal.

Brazil airline in $1.3m payout to indigenous tribe

One of Brazil's main airlines, Gol, has agreed to pay $1.3m (£1m) to an indigenous tribe in material and spiritual compensation for the damage caused by a plane crash that happened more than ten years ago. 

A private jet and a Gol commercial plane crashed in northern Brazil in 2006, falling over the Caiapó indigenous reserve. 

Tribal leaders said they were forced to rebuild their dwellings elsewhere because the land became polluted and cursed with the presence of the 154 people who died in the accident.

'Dangerous times'

Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter believes that the Scottish people are a bit "fed up" with politics.

"One of the great things about the 2015 referendum was that everyone got engaged...in politics," he told the BBC's 100 days project.

"I think people are a bit fed up and I'm not so sure we're going to get the same level of engagement if another referendum comes quite so soon."

He went on to say that we were living in "dangerous times" given that there was "no effective political opposition" in either Holyrood or Westminster.

He said Brexit meant uncertainty but that he was an optimist and would make the most of the situation.

"We must always remember in Scotland that we do four times as much business with the UK than we do with the rest of Europe," he said.

Tom Hunter
BBC

'Business class isn't what it used to be'

Tesco faces investor backlash on Booker deal

Tesco has offered £3.7bn for Booker
Getty Images

Tesco is facing strong opposition to its £3.7bn takeover of retail wholesaler Booker.

Schroders and Artisan Partners, both shareholders in the supermarket group, are concerned that Tesco should be focused on fixing the business, which is now under the leadership of Dave Lewis, instead of doing a major deal.

It is understood that Schroders has written to Tesco's chairman John Allan to pull out of the deal. 

Waste not want not

Samsung Note 7
Getty Images

Remember Samsung's Note 7 smartphones were prone to exploding

Well, those days are well and truly behind the South Korean company which has announced that it will sell refurbished versions of the Note 7. 

Samsung was forced to pull the phone from the market last year - at an estimated cost of $5.5bn - after it was discovered the problem was with the battery used in the smartphone.

Now, however, it will re-use the pulled devices and for those that cannot be fully refurnished, Samsung plans to recover and use or sell reusable components such as chips and camera modules and extract rare metals such as copper, gold, nickel and silver.

Golden coin stolen

Giant gold coin
AFP

A giant gold coin bearing the Queen's image, and worth $4m (£3.2m), has been stolen from a museum in Germany.

The Canadian coin, nicknamed the "big maple leaf", has a face value of $1m - but because it is 100kg (220lb) of pure 24-carat gold, its value is much higher at today's price for gold bullion.

It was taken during the night from the Bode Museum in Berlin.

It is not clear how the thieves evaded the alarm system or carried the heavy, half-metre (20.9 in) coin away.

The theft is believed to have happened at around 03:30 Monday morning (01:30 GMT).

The enormous coin is probably too heavy for a single person to carry, and police believe the thieves entered through a window.

A ladder was found on the train tracks nearby.

Read more here

London market closes lower

The FTSE 100 has just closed...and, like most of the day's session, mining shares have dragged it lower.

At the close of trade it was down 0.6%, or 43 points, at 7,293.5, with miners Glencore and Antofagasta the biggest fallers.

Also down sharply was Babcock after the engineering firm said it would take an £800 million hit from terminating a major government contract to decommission and manage 12 UK nuclear sites.

Its shares ended down by 4.3%.

The man who quit heroin and became a fruit juice millionaire

It was when Khalil Rafati had overdosed on heroin for a ninth time that he finally realised that he had to change his life in order to save it.

A drug addict who slept rough on the streets of Los Angeles, he eventually regained consciousness after the medical team used a defibrillator to give him an electric shock.

He then decided to throw himself into healthy living, and has been so successful in rebuilding his life that today he is the millionaire founder and owner of fashionable Californian health food business Sunlife Organics.  

The before and after pictures below tell the story.

Read more details here

Khalil Rafati
Khalil Rafati
Khali Rafati
Khali Rafati

'If it has to be now, it has to be a no'

CEO Secrets: 'If it has to be now, it has to be a no'

Still lovin' it

Loraine Maurer
Pinterest

A 94-year-old woman in the US is celebrating 44 years flipping burgers at McDonald's. 

The Evansville Courier & Press in Indiana reports s that Loraine Maurer started working at McDonald's in 1973, and has been a fixture behind the counter at several locations in the area ever since.

For the breakfast shift, she has to get up a 3am. Maurer tells ABC News that she has thought about retirement, but "would miss it too much".

New £1 coins ready for launch

Royal Mint ready to launch new £1 coins

Qatar announces £5bn UK investment

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

One of the largest investors in the UK has committed £5bn of new money to invest in transport, property and digital technology.

The Middle Eastern state of Qatar said that it was optimistic about the future of the British economy.

It made it clear that the UK leaving the European Union had little bearing on their decision.

Qatar has already invested £40bn in the UK - it owns Harrods and a 95% stake in the Shard in London.

It also has a stake in Canary Wharf in the capital's Docklands, as well as an interest in the Milford Haven liquefied natural gas terminal in South Wales.

It also bought the Olympic Village following the London 2012 Olympics.

"Currently the UK is our first investment destination and it is the largest investment destination for Qatari investors, both public and private," Ali Shareef al Emadi, the country's finance minister, told the BBC.

"We have more than £35bn to £40bn of investments already in the UK.

"We're announcing an additional £5bn of investment in the next three to five years.

"Mainly this investment will focus on infrastructure sectors, technology, energy and real estate."

Read Kamal's blog in full

Trump trade set-back

"The question now is, will the economy follow the stock market lower, or will solid growth help stocks to recover?," says Kathleen Brooks from City Index.

"We think that it should be the latter. Now that Trump has failed in his quest to overturn Obamacare, he is expected to turn his sights to tax reform. He may have more success in Capitol Hill with tax policy, which matters for the corporate bottom line. 

"So, the Trump trade may be suffering a set-back, and we could see a resumption of the stock market rally in the short-term.

"At this stage we don’t think that the stock market sell-off has been deep enough to knock confidence and dent global economic growth. The recent sell-off in stocks has led to a decline in the dollar and has also led to a slight moderation in Fed rate hike expectations for the rest of this year, both of which should be supportive for stocks." 

Learning the art of schmoozing

"The new President appears to be getting a harsh lesson in the realities of politics on Capitol Hill, a lesson that the previous President Barack Obama knows only too well," says Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.

"While a lot of the focus is inevitably being focussed on the extent of last week’s declines and today’s sharply lower open, the fact remains that US markets still remain up 8% from when President Trump won the keys to the White House. 

"That being said that doesn’t mean we won’t see further declines in the coming days given that since November, sell-offs have been few and far between.

"The truth is while the Republicans may have majorities in both houses of government, there remain many on the Republican side who remain disinclined to be particularly helpful to their new President. 

"Donald Trump may well have written 'The art of the deal' but he may well have to add a few chapters to include 'The art of the schmooze' if he wants to get anything done in the coming weeks."    

Audi to halt some production of A4, A5 until Thursday

Reuters is reporting that a supply shortage has forced Audi to halt production of its A4 and A5 luxury models at its Ingolstadt base this week until Thursday. It will lose 5,600 vehicles as a result.

Production at its Neckarsulm plant has apparently not been affected.

View more on twitter

US markets slide at open

US trader
Getty Images

US markets have just opened...with the Dow Jones index  opening lower by 145 points, or 0.7%, at 20,451.61, in the first few minutes of trade.

The broader S&P 500 index was  also down 0.7%, or 17 points, at 2,327.08

and the tech-heavy Nasdaq  dropped by 0.8%, or 45 points, to 5,782,22.

Leggings row explained

Market update

US markets are set to open in 20 minutes or so...Dow futures - used as indicators for how the index will open - are sharply lower so a decline is expected. That follows Donald Trump's failure to get his healthcare bill through on Friday.

Currently London's FTSE 100 is down about 0.8%.

"The problem for markets is two-fold, with the inability to pass the health care reforms meaning any tax cuts will be diminished, while markets are now left wondering whether the president's lack of support in Congress will make his tax cuts hard to pass in any form,'' said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG. "Incredibly, at a time when the Republicans control both the House and the Senate, we are faced with a position where internal factions mean Trump still cannot get the required support to make a meaningful impact as president.'' 

Obvioulsy we'll bring you the opening US figures when we get them.

South African finance minister recalled from foreign trip

Analysis:

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg

South African President Jacob Zuma’s instruction ordering Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to cancel an international investment roadshow to London has sparked speculation about a possible cabinet reshuffle. 

The move brings into sharp focus the divisions within his administration and within the governing African National Congress (ANC).

Mr Gordhan has made some political enemies after being seen as a bulwark against corruption and opposed to spending money on grand plans that are perceived as being politically motivated.

Markets are reacting negatively to the news of the recall. Consequently the country’s currency, the rand, has weakened by at least 2% since this controversy began this morning.

Some believe that Mr Zuma wants to create space in his cabinet for his ex-wife, the former chair of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is tipped to be a candidate in the ANC leadership contest later this year.

South African finance minister recalled from foregin trip

President Zuma of South Africa has recalled his finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, from a foreign trip, shaking the markets and raising the prospect of a cabinet reshuffle. Mr Gordhan had apparently been trying to drum up investment for the country.

The move spooked the foreign exchange markets with the rand losing almost 3% against the US dollar on the day, with $1 now buying 12.65 rand. 

Pravin Gordhan
Getty Images

$130bn chemicals merger gets go-ahead

The European Commission has given the go-ahead to the merger of US chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont.

The deal values the merged company at $130bn (£103bn) and is expected to lead to cost savings of $3bn.

The EC's approval is dependent on DuPont and Dow selling off some parts of their businesses to satisfy competition concerns.

The eventual plan is to split the merged company, DowDuPont, into three independent firms.

The three companies would focus on agriculture, materials and speciality products.

The EC had been concerned that the merger as originally proposed could have reduced price competition and choice in pesticides markets, as well as damaging innovation in new products.

Read more here

Sterling soars

Brexit pessimism spreads

Flags
Getty Images

Households have become increasingly pessimistic of how the UK's long-term economic prospects have been affected by the Brexit vote, according to the monthly Markit Household Finance Index

The March survey showed the proportion of people expecting the economy to fare better over the next decade as a result of last year’s referendum fell to 29%, down from 39% last July. 

The proportion seeing economic prospects to have worsened, meanwhile, has risen from 42% to 53%.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at survey compiler IHS Markit, says: "Pessimism has now spread to all age groups and income brackets. The most marked turnaround is evident among the poorest paid, who have switched from being the most optimistic to now being the most downbeat."    

Home alone

Today's fascinating - if not slightly depressing - bar chart comes courtesy of Noble Francis, economics director of the Construction Products Association.

View more on twitter

Zuma orders minister home

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesberg

Pravin Gordhan
Getty Images

South African president Jacob Zuma has ordered his finance minister to return home "immediately" from a trip to the UK where he was trying to drum up investment for the country. 

There are concerns that the order comes ahead of a cabinet reshuffle in which Pravin Gordhan (pictured) is expected to be sacked. 

Markets have already reacted negatively, sending the rand sharply lower.

Speculation is rife that Mr Zuma is trying to make space in his cabinet for his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. 

She is a presidential candidate to replace Mr Zuma in the leadership contest of the governing African National Congress at the end of this year.

Union leaders condemn 'extraordinary' Magnox situation

The Prospect and Unite unions are not impressed by news that the government has launched an inquiry into the Magnox nuclear clean-up contract.

Babcock's Cavendish Nuclear division has ended the contract several years early.

Mike Clancy, Prospect's general secretary, called it "an extraordinary situation given the scale and importance of the Magnox contract to the UK nuclear industry".

Unite's national officer, Kevin Coyne, said the "the whole contract process has been deeply flawed from the very start".

Both unions demanded reassurance that jobs will not be lost.

BreakingQatar to invest another £5bn in UK

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Qatari finance minister Ali Shareef al Emadi says it will invest £5bn in UK, as Qatar remains optimistic about the UK economy following the Brexit vote.

Investments will be in infrastructure such as road and rail, as well as financial services and technology, over three to five years. 

The money adds to £40bn of Qatari investment in projects such as Milford Haven gas facility, Canary Wharf and Harrods.

BreakingCobham faces FCA probe

Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II
PA
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II uses some 100 components made by Cobham

Cobham is facing an investigation by the financial watchdog over its handling of inside information. 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) told the aerospace and defence firm that its enforcement division has opened a probe into the company's actions before announcing a £500m emergency rights issue in April last year.

The cash was needed to shore up Cobham's balance sheet after a costly move to gain more commercial customers led to a profit warning. 

"The company is cooperating fully with the FCA and will update the market on the outcome in due course," it said.

Cobham also said another proposed £500m rights issue announced at the start of this month was "on track". 

Shares were down 2.2% in afternoon trading and have sunk more than 40% in the past 12 months. 

Qatari fund to invest in post-Brexit Britain

The Shard
Getty Images

As Theresa May prepares to fire the starting gun on Wednesday to begin Britain's exit from the European Union, there remains plenty of enthusiasm for doing business in the UK.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud al-Thani, chief executive of the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund that manages nearly $340bn worth of assets, says: "I am still looking, even after Brexit there will be opportunities QIA can really hunt for."

QIA is a major investor in the UK, and owns the Shard and holds a stake in Sainsbury's. He said: "Our aim now in the future is really to focus on infrastructure, and we will be focusing also on healthcare and IT."

FTSE 100 update

It's looking like it could be another difficult day for the FTSE 100, with the index down 0.66% at 7,289 points at midday. Babcock, down more than 3%, is the biggest loser after the engineer said it would end a nuclear clean-up contract early. Miners are also casualties after a fall in commodities prices.

However, gold miners are among the main winners after the price of the precious metal rose. But the two biggest winners are Next, up 1.3%, and Marks & Spencer, up 1%.