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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FTSE 100 falls 0.6%
  3. JP Morgan and Citigroup profits jump
  4. Housing market stagnates, surveyors say
  5. Sainsbury's pushes on with Argos rollout
  6. Strike threat over Royal Mail pensions

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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Good night

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BBC

Thank you for joining Business Live.

We hope you enjoy your Easter break and we will be back bright and early at 6.00am on Tuesday 18 April with all the breaking news and analysis.

US markets end lower

US trader
Getty Images

Wall Street fell for a third straight day as bank stocks dragged and investors continued to mull geopolitical tensions.

The Dow Jones index lost 0.67%, the S&P 500 shed 0.68%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.53%.

Wells Fargo shares fell 3.3% after the bank reported a drop in mortgage banking revenue.

And despite a healthy earnings reports, Citigroup saw its shares slip 0.8% and JPMorgan lost 1.17%.

Silvio sells out

Gianluigi Donnarumma goalkeeper of Milan
Getty Images
AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma

We just cannot get enough of Silvio Berlusconi here at Business Live today... The Italian tycoon turned politican has finally sold AC Milan to a Chinese-led consortium for 740m euros (£628m) after owing the club for more than three decades. since . 

"I will always be AC Milan's number one fan and I wish the club's new owners all the best for the future," Mr Berlusconi said. "If Milan are to be competitive, resources are needed. One family can't do it all by itself."

The sale has been dogged by months of delays as the consortium struggled to meet deadlines for scheduled down payments. 

Tesla will unveil electric lorry in September

Elon Musk, Tesla boss
Getty Images

Tesla will unveil an electric articulated lorry in September, chief executive Elon Musk has said.

Additionally, he said an electric pick-up truck would be shown off in around 18-24 months.

Last year Mr Musk expressed the firm’s desire to branch out beyond cars.

However, analysts are concerned the company will not meet demand for its current projects.

Read more. 

US rig count rises to a two-year high

US oil rigs
Getty Images

The number of active rigs in the US has risen to the highest level for two years.

Energy services company Baker Hughes said drillers added 11 oil rigs in the week to 13 April, bringing the total count up to 683.   

Opec and some non-Opec nations have agreed to cut output to stem oversupply. 

Tony Headrick, energy market analyst at CHS Hedging, says OPEC will be watching the rig count."Ultimately OPEC is viewing it as a point of discussion in terms of whether or not they look to extend cuts," he said.  

Opec will meet on 25 May to consider extending the cuts beyond June.   

AB Inbev hopes to lure African drinkers off home brew

Men in Burkina Faso drink a local beer called 'Dolo'
Getty Images
Men in Burkina Faso drink a local beer called 'Dolo'

Anheuser Busch InBev is planning on weaning African beer drinkers off their home brew to boost its revenue in the region.

AB Inbev grew its African business when it paid £79bn to take over SABMiller last year

AB InBev's Africa zone president Ricardo Tadeu tells Reuters: "In many [African] countries people drink between 9 to 11 litres [of commercially produced beer] per person a year, so there's lots of room for growth."

He add: "We need to develop our mainstream beer, make it affordable enough to tap into the informal beer market, not only informal beer but informal alcohol in general that you have in those markets."

BreakingTesla to launch an electric lorry

Tesla chairman, chief executive and product architect, Elon Musk, has announced that the electric car-maker will unveil a semi truck - known in the UK as an articulated lorry - in September.

View more on twitter

Woman power

Daisy Ridley
Reuters
Daisy Ridley plays Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars is beefing up its representation of women through a new series of animated short movies featuring the sci-fi saga's heroines including Princess Leia, Rey and Jyn Erso. 

Walt Disney and Lucasfilm said that Wars Forces of Destiny will focus on the "untold stories of everyday heroism that shape the destinies" of the franchise's main female characters.

The two to three-minute shorts will be launched on YouTube in July and followed by more shorts on the Disney Channel later this year. 

A range of new action figures and dolls, as well as other merchandise, will also be released. 

Keep calm and carry on

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, that the dollar "is getting too strong".

This what happened to the dollar against the safe haven yen and Swiss franc:

Dollar v yen
BBC
Dollar swiss franc
BBC

Even though the dollar is volatile today, and the geopolitical landscape is not exactly calm, investors shouldn't worry too much, according to Nathan Thooft, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.

"Despite the rhetoric that comes out of any political event, if you have good economic data and decent earnings, (the market will) overcome the day-to-day dynamics of macro policy and political risk," he says. 

When 'go to' becomes 'no go'

Being the person your boss relies on can be great.

It can also be a living nightmare.

Here, the World Economic Forum, explains how to get your life back without losing your dignity (or your temper).

View more on twitter

London blue chips strike dour note

Banks
Getty Images

The UK stock markets are now closed for the Easter break and the FTSE 100 has finished on a down note.

The index of blue chip stocks finished 21.40 points lower at 7,327.59.

Banks including Standard Chartered and HSBC were among the biggest fallers at the end of a week that saw Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, put under investigation for attempting to identify a whistleblower.  

Jonathan Roy, advisory investment manager at Charles Hanover Investments, said: "The only thing I can attribute it to is a bit of pessimism coming back into the industry that all is not OK at the top of these banks, and there's still a bit of rot there."

He added: "Couple that with a market that is already high, and there's very few catalysts to take these stocks higher."

The FTSE 250 ended 101.39 points ahead at 19,525.33.

United shares static despite lawsuit threat

United
BBC

This talk of a lawsuit against United Airlines is doing very little to its parent company's share price.

Shares in United Continental Holdings are up 0.14% at $70.03.

'Concussed' Dr Dao has no memory of returning to plane

Dr Dao is dragged off a United Airlines flight

Dr Dao's lawyer Thomas Demetrio says that he had "zippo memory" of going back onto the airplane after he was dragged off the United Airlines flight.

In a press conference taking place now, Mr Demetrio said Dr Dao was concussed when he re-entered United Express Flight 3411.

It has also emerged that Dr Dao's suffered a broken nose and lost two front teeth.

In an internal email to staff, before he made a second apology to Dr Dao, United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz, said: "Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his co-operation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials."

'Airlines bully us', says United victim's lawyer

United Airlines protest
Getty Images

A lawyer for Dr Dao, the passenger who was violently removed from a United Airlines flight, is speaking on behalf of his client today

Chicago lawyer Thomas Demetrio said: "For a long time airlines, United in particular, have bullied us. 

"Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, probably."  

Mr Demetrio also said: "If you're going to eject a passenger, under no circumstances can it be done with unreasonable force or violence, that's the law.

"If unreasonable force and violence is used under a set of circumstances, the common carrier - United Airlines in this case - are responsible." 

Tesco sorry for Good Friday advert

Supermarket chain Tesco has pledged not to republish an advert which read: "Great offers on beer and cider. Good Friday just got better."

Tesco said: "We know that Easter is an important time of the year for our customers. It is never our intention to offend and we are sorry if any has been caused by this advert. We will not publish it again.”

View more on twitter

Have the lambs stopped screaming, Silvio?

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Silvio Berlusconi
Reuters

A benevolent Silvio Berlusconi saved five lambs from Easter Sunday feasts this week by adopting them.

But the former prime minister's mercy mission - a la Clarice in Silence of the Lambs - only served to upset an already struggling Italian meat industry.

View more on twitter

US prices rise could put pressure on the Fed

US producer price inflation (PPI) fell by 0.1% in March but showed the biggest annual increase in five years.

PPI rose 2.3% in the 12 months to March, the largest gain since March 2012.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, an increase in prices could put pressure on the US Federal Reserve's 2% target for consumer price inflation.

He said: "So far, the upturn in PPI goods prices has not hit" the key consumer price measures, "but it will, and it represents the biggest single near-term threat to the Fed's inflation target."

Dollar rebounds after Trump comments

Donald Trump
Getty Images

The dollar clawed back some ground on Thursday following a sharp fall after Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he believes the greenback "is getting too strong". 

The dollar rose 0.3% against a number of currencies following a 0.6% fall on Wednesday. 

Peter Ng, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank, said: "Clearly, I think it was oversold yesterday. The market was very sensitive to headlines given how nervous it has become due to geopolitical risk."

Drax investors deliver message over pay

Drax
Getty Images

Shareholders in Drax have given the power company a bloody nose after more than a third of investors voted against executive pay. 

Advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services had recommended voting against the remuneration report because of a £479,000 bonus awarded to finance director Will Gardiner which it said was "excessive" following Drax's previous finance performance.

Drax said it would hold talks with investors.

"Discussions have already taken place with a number of institutional shareholders who did not support the remuneration report or remuneration policy resolutions.

"Further engagement is expected with shareholders as part of an ongoing programme."

Bank results fail to rouse Wall Street

Citigroup
Getty Images

Wall Street reaction to the start of the US results season has been fairly mixed.

Shares in JP Morgan, whose first quarter results beat expectations, rose 0.30% to $85.66. 

Wells Fargo, which is in recovery mode following the illegal customer accounts scandal, saw its shares fall 3.34% to $48.47 after reporting flat profits. 

Citigroup's shares edged up 0.44% to $58.77 after profit for the first three months of the year rose by 16.8%.

'Good Friday just got better', says Tesco

It has been a stellar couple of weeks for PR disasters - Pepsi, United Airlines, Sean Spicer/Hitler - there has been something to offend everyone.

But as we head towards Easter, one of the most important dates in the Christian calendar, Tesco thought it would put out this little cracker: 

View more on twitter

US stock markets slide

US stock markets were expected to open lower, following President Donald Trump's remarks about the dollar, and they did not disappoint.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 51.90 points within the first seconds of trading to 20,539.96.

The S&P 500 dropped 6.33 points to 2,338.46.

The Nasdaq fell 12.03 points to 5,824.13.

Bank of England seeks new deputy governor

Bank of England
Getty Images

Looking for a new challenge?

The Treasury is advertising in The Economist for a deputy governor for markets and banking at The Bank of England.

It pays £273,000 a year, lasts for a five year-term and means you have a seat on the interest rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee.

Just make sure you tell the powers that be if any of your family members happen to work for a bank.

Brexit leaves bitter taste for Starbucks

Starbucks
Getty Images

Brexit is putting us off our coffee. Apparently.

Starbucks's UK profits have fallen and it says Britain's decision to leave the European Union is partly to blame.

The coffee chain says profit fell from £34.2m to £13.4m for the year to October 2016.

Like-for-like sales, which strip out revenue from new stores opened during the period, grew by 1% compared to a 3.8% rise in the previous year. Total UK sales also fell, from £405.6m to £379.8m.

The reason? Starbucks says it has experienced "significant economic and geopolitical headwinds" including slower econimic growth, "the impact of Brexit" and "ongoing security concerns contributing to weakening consumer confidence".

Saudi Arabia raises $9bn from Islamic bonds

Saudi businessmen
Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has raised $9bn from its first sale of Islamic bonds outside the kingdom as the oil-rich Gulf state seeks to plug its budget deficit.

The fall in the price of oil - which has halved from its peak of $110 a barrel in 2013 - has contributed to a $53bn deficit for Saudi Arabia. 

Islamic bonds are structured to comply with Islamic law, which doesn't allow the payment of interest.

The fundraising brought in $1bn more than Saudi Arabia's government was expecting.  

Gold hits five-month high

Gold bars
Reuters

Investor nerves about rising geopolitical tensions in Syria and North Korea have pushed gold to a five-month high.

Gold - seen as a safe haven for investors' cash - has been rising all week. This morning it hit its highest level since early November before easing back.

Spot gold was at $1,286.87 an ounce a short while ago.

Wells Fargo profits flat

Wells Fargo branch
AFP

The US bank results are coming thick and fast. Wells Fargo is the third big bank to post its first-quarter profits - which it said were flat at $5.5bn.

Wells Fargo was engulfed in a scandal last year after regulators found it had opened customer accounts without their permission.

John Stumpf resigned as boss as a result. New chief executive Tim Sloan said the bank had made further progress in the first quarter in "rebuilding trust with customers and other important stakeholders, while producing solid financial results".

Citigroup reports strong profit growth

Citigroup sign
Getty Images

US banking giant Citigroup has reported a first quarter profit of $4.1bn up 17% on the same period in 2016.

It credited strong performances at its global retail banking business and its Institutional Clients Group, which provides banking services to big companies, financial firms and governments.

Chief executive Michael Corbat said, “The momentum we saw across many of our businesses towards the end of last year carried into the first quarter, resulting in significantly better overall performance than a year ago."

Delta reconsiders Airbus order - report

Airbus A350
Getty Images

There's been a setback for Airbus in its effort to break into the US market, reports Bloomberg.

Delta Air Lines is reviewing a $14bn purchase of 50 Airbus jets.

It was due to buy a combination of A350s and A330neos.

It would have been a significant win for Airbus as Delta had previously bought Boeing jets.

However, Delta said it sees excess capacity for such wide-body aircraft.

Can Gigaba dodge a third downgrade?

Chris Johnston

Business reporter

Malusi Gigaba
Getty Images

South Africa's new finance minister Malusi Gigaba says he will meet with Moody's in a bid to avoid being downgraded by the ratings agency. 

He replaced the respected Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle that triggered credit downgrades to "junk" status by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch.

"We will do all we can to avoid another downgrade and one of the ways to do that is to engage with Moody's directly, to demonstrate our willingness to stay the course in terms of fiscal discipline and fiscal consolidation," Mr Gigaba says.

'Choppy day' for banks

Canary Wharf
PA

JP Morgan's first-quarter profit growth - which beat analysts' expectations - hasn't helped banking shares in London.

HSBC and RBS are still two of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100.

Analysts said financial stocks were in the spotlight ahead of results from JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Citi.

"Banks are on offer this morning, and we think that's ... because it's reporting season for the US banks, so a bit of a choppy day in the banking sector globally," John Moore, trader at Berkeley Capital, said.

Jeff Bezos explains his plan to say ahead

Jeff Bezos in his space rocket
Reuters

Amazon shareholders received the annual letter from Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos this week.

He explains how he intends to keep his company ahead of the competition.

Mr Bezos talks about how it's always "Day 1" for him. He's referring to the vitality of a young company, as opposed to the "painful decline" of a company that enters Day 2.

"True customer obsession" is how he intends to pull off that feat.

"Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it," Mr Bezos says.

Jeff Bezos also has a side-project building space rockets, he's pictured above in the capsule of Blue Origin.

JP Morgan profits rise 17%

JP Morgan
Reuters

JP Morgan is the first of three US banks to report first-quarter results today - with Citi and Wells Fargo to follow.

It's posted a 17% rise in net income to $6.4bn on the back of growth in its card business and its investment banking unit. 

“We are off to a good start for the year with all of our businesses performing well and building on their momentum from last year," chief executive Jamie Dimon said.