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  1. Get in touch:
  2. United Airlines chief 'ashamed' at passenger removal
  3. Wages growth stalls as inflation starts to bite
  4. Tesco profits hit by fine
  5. Barclays to investigate security chief
  6. Call for Akzo Nobel chairman to go

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By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Thank you for joining Business Live.

We'll be back at 6.00am sharp with all the breaking business and economic news and analysis. 

US markets close lower

US shares closed lower after investors spent the day fretting about rising tensions between America and Russia.

The Dow Jones shed 0.29%, the S&P 500 lost 0.38% and the Nasdaq fell 0.52%.

Shares in United Airlines continued to tumble as boss Oscar Munoz refused to step down over the forcible removal of a passenger from a flight.

The stock ended 1.10% lower. 

Wall Street bull demands girl's removal

Airbus boss looks forward

Tom Enders
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The boss of aerospace giant Airbus has indicated that he is not planning on going anywhere soon.

Chief executive Tom Enders told Reuters: "It is up to shareholders and the board to decide. I am 58 now and I am not close to retirement. Louis [Gallois] retired from the company aged 68, which is not my benchmark, but in 2019 I will only be 60."

Airbus merged with its jet-making division and Fabrice Bregier, who runs that business was given the new role of group chief operating officer.

Reuters reports that Mr Enders will let the board know around March next year what his plans are.

He said: "It depends on many things. If it were boring then that would be a different story, but this company has plenty of challenges - sometimes more than I would like - and it is a fascinating one and I am still relatively young, but we will see. There is no need to take any decision on that now."

When only Gucci will do

Farfetch brings new meaning to the concept of 'fast-fashion'

Trump: China is not a currency manipulator

Xi Jinping and Donald Trump
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump

In his interview with The Wall Street Journal, US President Donald Trump said: "I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that’s my fault because people have confidence in me. But that’s hurting—that will hurt ultimately.

"Look, there’s some very good things about a strong dollar, but usually speaking the best thing about it is that it sounds good.”

But he said: "It’s very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency.”

Mr Trump declined to name China as a currency manipulator, something he accused the world's second largest economy of in his presidential campaign.

“They’re not currency manipulators,” he said.  

BreakingTrump: dollar is too strong

The US dollar has fallen against the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc after President Donald Trump said the greenback "is getting too strong".

He also told The Wall Street Journal he would prefer the US Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low. 

BreakingTrump undecided on re-nominating Yellen

US President Donald Trump has told The Wall Street Journal that he 'likes and respects' Janet Yellen, chair of the US Federal Reserve, but is in-decided on re-nominating her when her term ends in February 2018.

Tesla needs new blood to prevent 'dysfunction'

Elon Musk
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Tesla needs to shake-up its board to prevent "possible dysfunctional group dynamics" according to a group of investors.

They claim that the borard of the electric car-maker is largely unchanged since it floated in 2010. The group is led by Elon Musk, chairman, chief executive and product architect who holds a 22% stake in the business.

In a letter the investors, who include Hermes EOS and the California State Teachers Retirement System, say Tesla needs to elect two new independent directors to the board.

The letter says: "We expect that as companies make the transition to publicly-traded status, the governance structures and practices in place at the time of the IPO will evolve to align with the company's changing strategy.

"However, Tesla's seven-member board is largely unchanged from its pre-IPO days."

Analysing United Airlines's apology

Crisis communications expert Alex Woolfall critiques Oscar Munoz's response

Not creepy at all

The Whopper
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Burger King is launching a new TV advert which is designed to trigger Google's voice controlled speakers.

In the advert, a Burger King worker asks: "OK Google. What is the Whopper burger."

If there happens to be a Google Home device near a viewer's television, the advert will prompt it to read out the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper.

George Orwell must be literally spinning in his grave.

US stocks may be due for a 'breather'

Stock market trader
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared back some losses as it prepared for the beginning of earnings season on Thursday when investment banks JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo report quarterly results. 

The index is trading 38.99 points lower at 20,612.31. The S&P 500 is down 6.16 points at 2,347.62.

The Nasdaq fell 21.91 points to 5,844.86.  

Josh Jalinski, president of Jalinski Advisory Group, said: "Technically, we are due for a breather and if the earnings season disappoints, it could provide the correction that we need."

United 'threatened passenger with handcuffs'

United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz has promised the company will not to drag any more passengers off its planes if they refuse to be "re-accomodated".

But what about handcuffing them?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Geoff Fearns who paid for a first class ticket between Hawaii and California, was asked to leave the plane because a "more important" passenger needed the seat.

Like Dr Dao, Mr Fearns refused. 

"I was already in the seat. And now they were telling me I had no choice. They said they’d put me in cuffs if they had to.”  

Mr Fearns was eventually placed in an economy seat - between a bickering married couple.

You can read the whole sorry tale - and about United Airlines's offer of compensation - here.

Google takes on art's worst nightmare

GM stands ground in investor spat

General Motors
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Activist investors are de rigueur at the moment.

Elliott Advisors is locked in a battle with Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton over a restructure. It is also calling for Dulux paint-owner Akzo Nobel to oust its chairman so takeover talks with US rival PPG can proceed. 

In the US, General Motors is sparring with hedge fund Greenlight Capital which has nominated three directors to the car-maker's board and claimed it has mispresented to credit rating agencies a plan to split the company's shares into two classes.

Greenlight claims GM has no interest "in performing an objective analysis" of the proposal.

GM said: "The rating agencies' public statements issued regarding the Greenlight proposal clearly indicate that they understood the idea in all its facets, and would represent a credit negative if implemented. Any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and irresponsible."

Tesco tops FTSE fallers

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Tesco ended Wednesday as the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, down 5.73% at 184.4p.

The supermarket group beat operating profit forecasts but investors had hoped to see more growth in margins which narrowed at an international and group level.

Engine-maker Rolls-Royce led the risers, up 2.47% at 830.5p.

Strong quarterly figures propelled recruitment company Pagegroup to the top of the FTSE 250. Its shares rose 7.1% to 475.40p. 

Watch: United Airlines boss on his future

Spooked US stock markets trade downwards

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 92.60 points at 20,558.70 amid fraught relations between the US and Syria, Russia and North Korea.

US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have traded barbs over America's decision to bomb Syria. However, Mr Putin has decided to go ahead with a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The two know each other well from Mr Tillerson's time as chief executive of US oil giant ExxonMobil.

Mr Trump also stepped up his rhetoric on Twitter against North Korea. 

Mary Anne Hurley, vice president of fixed income at D.A. Davidson, said: "The geopolitical tension has not escalated but it's not going away either."

The S&P 500 is down 9.86 points at 2,343.92.

The Nasdaq is down 31.34 points at 5,835.44.

View more on twitter

Trump: healthcare first, then taxes

In between United Airlines, Syria, Russia and "Holocaust centres", an interview that Donald Trump did with Fox Business slipped through the cracks. but it is worth noting.

Commenting on when his administration will start its much-vaunted tax reforms, the US President said: "We're going to have a phenominal tax reform but I have to do healthcare first, I want to do it first to really do it right."

Asked if he has to repeal and reform healthcare before tax, Mr Trump replied "yes".

"...because I'm saving a tremendous amount, hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars we're saving on healthcare. So we're going to have a much better plan than Obamacare which is failing. Even now as I came in here they're saying payments have to be made that weren't scheduled to be made on Obamacare. If you don't make them, it fails. You know, it's just a mess. Obamacare is a total mess.

Donald Trump
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"So we're saving tremendous amounts of money on healthcare when we get this done, number one. And most importantly, actually, we are going to have great healthcare and all of that saving goes into the tax. If you don't do that you can't put any of the savings into the tax cuts and tax reforms."

Will Mr Trump stick to the August deadline for tax reform suggested by his Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin?

He said: "I don't want to put deadlines. Healthcare is going to happen, at some point. Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes but the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do healthcare first."

FTSE indexes diverge at close

The FTSE 100 finished Wednesday down 16.51 points at 7,348.99.

The FTSE 250 ended 117.42 points ahead at 19,423.94.

Full report to follow.

Emirates trolls United Airlines

The Gulf airline enjoys a nice big cold plate of revenge

Train tie-up may hit the buffers on anti-trust

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Excitement about a combination of Siemens' and Bombardier's rail operations seems to have waned - if shares are anything to go by. 

While a tie-up would give the German and Canadian company serious clout in the global rail business, against the likes of China's state-owned CRRC, a deal could run into anti-trust issues.

Reuters quotes one industry expert who says: "On a country-by-country basis the deal looks difficult to pull off in Europe, and that's why it has not happened over the past 20 years."

Siemens shares are down 0.47% at 127.50 euros. Bombardier is down 0.84% at C$2.35.

Sweden's elite swept up in elk probe

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An elk yesterday

The chairman of one of Sweden's leading banks has been questioned in connection with an investigation into possible bribes connected to elk-hunting trips.  

Par Boman, chairman of Handelsbanken said: “I have today been questioned by prosecutor Alf Johansson regarding suspicions of receiving bribes. These suspicions are, in my opinion, groundless.”  

The inquiry by Swedish Prosecution Authority is examining hunting trips hosted by forestry company Holmen which occurred when Mr Boman was chief executive of Handelsbanken between 2006 and 2015. 

A number of Sweden's leading business and political figures have been swept up in the probe. Fredrik Lundberg, chairman of Industrivarden, which had stakes in Handelsbanken and Volvo, and former finance minister Anders Borg, have both been questioned. 

UK wage squeeze tightens

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The rate of employment in the UK is strong but Britons are still earning less.

BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed examines the knotty problem of wage stagnation.

Read his blog here

Late rush fails to lift Prada's annual sales

Miu Miu Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2017/2018
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An improvement in sales in the second half of the year was not enough to halt a slide in revenues for luxury fashion house Prada.

Full-year sales fell 10% to 3.1bn euros and net profit shrank by 16% to 278m euros.

Sales fell across all geographies Prada said it saw a strong rebound in China from the third quarter onwards. Europe showed signs of recovery, in particular double digit growth in UK sales in the second half and early signs of life in France.

The Americas, however, were "impacted by falling touristic flow in US".

The Prada and Miu Miu brands supported a rise in "ready to wear" revenue as demand for leather goods and footwear waned.

Qualcomm told to pay BlackBerry $814.9m

Qualcomm in happier times as the JabbaWockeez dance crew shows a tablet with Snapdrogan processor
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Qualcomm in happier times as the JabbaWockeez dance crew shows a tablet with a Snapdrogan processor

It's shaping up to be a scrappy kind of week for US chipmaker Qualcomm.

On Monday, it filed a countersuit against Apple in a fight about royalties.

On Wednesday, it was asked to pay BlackBerry $814.9m in a settlement over royalties.  

Qualcomm says it does not agree with the settlement which was reached following arbitration with BlackBerry, however, the payment is binding and cannot be appealed.

BlackBerry led the Nasdaq as its shares jumped 18.25% to $9.11. Qualcomm's stock fell 1.64% to $54.44.

US stock markets open lower

Stock market traders
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On the wider US stock markets, shares are trending downwards.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 27.89 points lower at 20,623.41.

The S&P 500 is down 3.52 points at 2,350.26 and the Nasdaq has fallen 3.93 points at 5,862.84.

US stocks have been subdued so far this week following the new administration's intervention in Syria as well as tensions with Russia and North Korea.

The US earnings season begins tomorrow, with JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all reporting quarterly figures.

United apologies, Wall Street answers

Has United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz done enough to appease investors following the forced removal of a passenger from one of its flights?


Shares in its parent company United Continental Holdings are fluttering between gains and losses.

At the time of this post, they are up 0.37% at $70.97.

The trading day is young...

United boss: no-one should be treated that way

Dr Dao is forced off a United Airlines flight
Twitter: Tyler Bridges

Oscar Munoz's contrition in his interview with Good Morning America is a step change from an internal email that he sent to United Airlines staff following the removal of Dr Dao from flight 3411.

In that message he described Dr Dao as "disruptive and belligerent".

On Wednesday, however, when Mr Munoz was asked if the Dr Dao was at fault in any way, he said: "No, he can’t be. He was a paying passenger sitting on our seat in our aircraft and no one should be treated that way. Period."

United boss yet to speak to passenger

Dr Dao is removed from a United Airlines flight

United Airlines boss Oscar Munoz says he is yet to speak to Dr Dao.

He says: "Our team has tried to reach  him on several occasions – have not been able to speak to him directly." He adds that he looks forward to the opportunity to speak to the 69 year-old grandfather.

Asked in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America what Dr Dao deserves, Mr Munoz says: "Certainly an apology, and from that point on I think we’ll have to see.”

United boss promises no repeat of incident

The boss of United Airlines has promised that the incident that saw a 69 year-old man being violently removed from one of its flights will never happen again. 

Oscar Munoz says: "This can never, will happen again on a United Airlines flight, that’s my promise…”

Virgin Media accidentally blocks Facebook

United 'incentive model needs to change' says boss

Did United employees not have the power to offer more money to incentivise people to leave the flight, United Airlines boss Oscar Munoz was asked?

"There is an incentive programme that works pretty well outside of the gate," he said.

"Clearly when you get into an aeroplane, and you're boarded, and your luggage [is on] and you're situated, your incentive model needs to change, and I think that's one of the policies that we'll look at."

United boss is not going to resign

Mr Munoz has not considered resigning over the flight fracas.

"I was hired to make United better and we've been doing that and that's what I'll continue to do."

United boss: Authorities will not remove passengers

In the future if no-one volunteers to leave a plane, United will not put a law enforcement official on the plane to remove passengers, Mr Munoz tells Good Morning America.

"We can't do that," he says.

United boss: Issue could have avoided with common sense

Protest at Chicago O'Hare

What went wrong?

"It was a system failure, we have not provided our front line supervisors and managers and individuals with the proper tools, polices, procedures that allow them to use their common sense. They all have an incredible amount of common sense and this issue could have been solved by that. That's on me, I have to fix that," Mr Munoz said.

United boss: Role of law enforcement needs reviewing

What should change after this incident?

"The use of law enforcement aboard an aircraft has to be looked at carefully. The're clearly there for the purpose of safety and we want to make sure they protect us, but for other reasons that's absolutely a policy we have to absolutely re-look at," says Mr Munoz.

Why the wait for an apology?

Why did it take until Tuesday for United boss Oscar Munoz to issue a proper apology to Dr Dao?

"My initial words fell short of truly expressing what we were feeling and that's something that I've learned from.

"That shame and embarrassment was pretty palpable for me and for a lot of our family".

United Airlines boss 'ashamed' over flight fracas

Oscar Munoz, United Airlines chief executive
Good Morning America/ABC

On Sunday a passenger on a United Airlines flight, Dr David Dao, was violently ejected from the plane. Videos of the fracas went viral. The situation was made worse when the chief executive of United Airlines Oscar Munoz appeared to blame the passenger for the incident.

Since then he has apologised and just has appeared on Good Morning America. He was asked what he felt when he saw the videos.

"The word ashamed came to mind. As I think about our business and our people the first thing I think it is important to say is to apologise to Dr Dao, his family, passengers on that flight our customers and our employees. That is not who our family at United is."