Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Oil price hits five-month low
  3. FTSE 100 higher, sterling just under $1.29
  4. KPMG's Rolls-Royce audits investigated
  5. Next shares sink as sales slide

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

Test Card F
Getty Images

Thank you for joining us on Business Live.

We'll be back on Friday at 6.00am to bring you all the breaking business news throughout the day.

Closing bell

Trader at closing bell on NYSE
AFP

Wall Street has finished flat after steep falls in the energy sector outweighed gains elsewhere. 

The S&P 500 rose 1.4 points to 2,389.52, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.4 points to 20,951.47, and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.79 points to 6,075.34.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron were two of the biggest fallers, down 1.3% and 1.8% respectively.

Fitness tech firm Fitbit, payment operator Square and beer giant AB InBev were among the biggest winners, after they reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

Tesla shares run low on power

Tesla car
Reuters

Shares in electric car maker Tesla have fallen by about 5% to $295.46 following concerns about future sales. 

The firm reported a 7% drop in customer deposits to $616.4m in its latest quarterly results, raising concerns about future sales. 

Tesla, which recently overtook Ford and General Motors as the most valuable US car maker, reported that first-quarter revenue doubled to $2.7bn, but its net loss net widened to $330m.

Brexit jobs shift in 'low thousands'

City of London
Getty Images

The City of London's new policy chief reckons the shift of jobs from the UK to the EU will be in the "low thousands".

Catherine McGuinness, chairman of the City of London's policy and resources committee, tells Reuters: "All the signals that we are seeing is that people are just making plans for the minimum necessary to ensure continuity. 

"The signals that we are seeing would be in the low thousands. Indeed at the moment, just a couple of thousand."

Energy stocks drop

No surprise that oil giants are some of the biggest fallers on Wall Street. The energy sector has dropped 2%, easily the worst performing group of stocks. 

Chevron is down 2.1% and Exxon Mobil has fallen 1.4%, making them two of the biggest losers on the Dow Jones index. 

It comes after oil prices tumbled about 5% on signs that Opec and other producing countries would not take more drastic steps to reduce the world's stubbornly persistent glut of crude

Macron takes aim at Ireland's tax rate

The French election is being felt far and wide. Emmanuel Macron has just criticised Ireland's tax rate. 

RTE Europe editor Tony Connelly tweets:

View more on twitter

Catch a falling knife

Oil rig workers
Getty Images

Oil prices continue to fall.

Brent crude is now down 4.6% to $48.43 per barrel.

US oil has fallen 4.9% to $45.49 per barrel.

Will it go lower? Dean Rogers, senior technical analyst at Kase & Company, said: "It is dangerous to try and pick a bottom in this type of market, it is like trying to catch a falling knife."

He said charts showed that the next potential "stalling points" were $44.20 for WTI (US) and $47.20 for Brent.

"Sustained closes below this levels would be extremely bearish for the long-term," he said.

US markets shrug-off healthcare result

The US House of Representatives has narrowly passed the revised healthcare bill. It now faces a Senate vote.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 32.30 points at 20,925.60.

The S&P 500 is 0.66 points lower at 2,387.48.   

The Nasdaq is off 0.67 points at 6,071.88.

Volkswagen sees future in gas

Volkswagen
Getty Images

Volkswagen is in talks with energy giants E.ON and Gazprom about running cars on natural gas.

The German car maker is hoping to make the shift from diesel-fueled cars towards more fuel efficient technologies.

Chief Executive Matthias Mueller Austria's ORF radio: "We are now really trying to think out of the box and find solutions that can be helpful at least in this transition period of 10 to 20 years."

Putting Opec in its place

The fall in the oil price, despite Opec-led production cuts, shows that the cartel is perhaps not a powerful as it once was, says Commerzbank's head of commodities research Eugen Weinberg. 

"At some point, the market should recognise OPEC isn't the most important player in the market any more. That is non-OPEC, and, above all, US shale."

Nudge, nudge..want to improve your driving?

It is like having your very own KITT from Knight Rider but without the jaunty American quips.

The Lightfoot dashboard device could make drivers greener and better drivers.

A dashboard device claims to make people smoother drivers. Dougal Shaw reports.

Oil prices lose momentum

The price of Brent oil is now down 4% at $48.75 a barrel on Thursday. 

From the following graphic, it is clear to see the impact the Opec/Russia production cut from January has had on prices. 

However, that now appears to be running out of steam.

Oil price over a year
BBC

The challenge for Opec

Opec
Getty Images

How hard will it be for Opec to convince Russia to sign up for another six months of oil production cuts?

Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics, says: "While the cartel is expected to extend a self-imposed production cap by another six months, it will be a challenge to convince several non-OPEC members to follow suit.

"Persistent growth in US oil production ... will also make extensions of the OPEC cap beyond 2017 unlikely." 

Russian reticence spooks oil investors

Oil
Getty Images

It appears that the fall in oil prices today may have been sparked by the Kremlin.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "no decision has been made yet" on whether to extend an deal between Russia and Opec to reduce oil output.

Last year, the cartel of oil producing nations and Russia agreed to reduce production for the first six months of the year to support a rise in oil prices.

There had been speculation the two would extend the deal for the rest of the year. 

Opec is due to meet again on 25 May. 

May the 4th be with you

It is Star Wars day today (see the date) and some memorabilia from the films is worth a huge amount of money. 

Except perhaps for Jar Jar Binks - presumably you can't give that stuff away.

View more on twitter

Oil drops below $49 a barrel

Brent crude oil price
BBC

The oil price continues to slide. Brent crude, the international benchmark, is now below $49 a barrel.

It's dropped 4% - a big fall even by the volatile standards of the oil market - on growing fears of over-supply.

"The market continues to hunt for a bottom," said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy. "We've dropped to a five month low." 

US committee backs Dodd-Frank changes

Lehman Brothers
Getty Images
The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2009 was catastrophic

The Republican-led House Financial Services Committee has approved a bill that will undo large parts of the Dodd-Frank bank rules which were introduced in 2010 to prevent another financial crisis.

US President Donald Trump ordered a review of the regulation, which he described as a "disaster", in February. 

It has been criticised for stopping banks from lending.

The bill will now go to the Senate for a vote.

Airline lifts FTSE 100

BA
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 finished 13.57 points higher at 7,248.10.

International Airlines Group, which owns British Airways, replaced HSBC as Thursday's biggest gainer with its share price up 2.97% at 572p.

HSBC remained in the top five climbers, up 2.8% at 663.8p, following a strong set of result.

Less welcome were Next's figures today when the retailer warned that the market "remained challenging".

Its shares fell 5.1% to £41.85.

The FTSE 250 fell 2.58 points to 19,680.81.

Burberry shifts jobs from London to Leeds

Burberry
Getty Images

Burberry is moving 300 jobs from London to Leeds in a cost-cutting measure that will involve redundancies.  

The FTSE 100 fashion house said it will "reduce its office space requirements in London" as it opens a new business services centre in the Yorkshire city.

Burberry is hoping to reduce expenditure by £100m by 2019.

Chief executive Christopher Bailey is stepping down from that role in summer and will be succeeded by Marco Gobbetti in July.

Mr Bailey will become president and chief creative officer.

Sterling edges back over $1.29

Pound v dollar
BBC

The pounds has been up and down against the dollar today. It is now back over $1.29 after rising 0.28%.

FTSE 100 closes up

The FTSE 100 has closed up 15.52 points at 7,250.05.

The FTSE 250 finished down 9.34 points at 19,674.05.

We'll be back shortly with the final numbers when the markets settle.

Aviation chief 'saddened' by United incident

United Airlines protest
Getty Images

The United Airlines scandal rumbles on.

Now Ginger Evans, the Chicago Aviation Commissioner, has apologised on behalf of city employees for the forced removal of Dr David Dao on 9 April. 

In a written testimony to Senate Commerce subcommittee, Ms Evans said the incident was "deeply saddening and personally offensive." 

The department has suspended four people and said neither the Chicago Police Department nor airport security officers will go on aircraft to deal with customer service matters including overbooking situations.

Unleash that inner geek

Coding and money - it's a sexy combination. 

And now there is chance to combine the two. Nasa is looking for coders to improve the software is uses to designs experimental aircraft and the winners will share a $55,000 prize pot.

View more on twitter

What is the point of auditors?

Rolls-Royce
Getty Images

In light of KPMG being placed under investigation in relation to its client Roll-Royce, BBC business editor Simon Jack asks what are auditors for:

It was perhaps inevitable that after Rolls-Royce was hit with the biggest fine in the history of the Serious Fraud Office, attention would turn to who else knew about the murky goings on at the engine maker.

The Financial Reporting Council has said it is starting an investigation into the role of its long time auditor, KPMG who had been poring over Rolls-Royce's accounts for 26 years. Given they were charged with giving the company's accounts a clean bill of health - how come they didn't spot something was wrong?

Read his full blog here.

Shine dims on Facebook's shares

Facebook
Getty Images

Last night Facebook reported a strong rise in sales and profit, but today investors have sent its shares lower.

The social networking giant's share price fell by 1.21% to $149.96 after its chief financial officer David Wehner warned of a potential slowdown in ad revenue.

Kellogg's profits snap, crackle and pop

Boxes of Kellogg's cereals including Froot Loops, Cocoa Krispies and Raisin Bran
Getty Images

Breakfast cereal behemoth Kellogg's has reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit after cost cutting and a planned tax benefit boosted earnings.

Shares of the company, which makes Cornflakes, Co-co Pops and Special K, rose by 1% to $69.81.

Net income rose to $262m (£203m) in the first quarter from $175m a year earlier despite a 4% fall in sales to $3.25bn.

Listen: what to do with your old fivers

The old five pound note will only be valid until midnight on Friday. Here, the BBC gives some advice what to do with that "old money".

The old paper £5 note will only be valid until midnight on 5 May 2017

Oil price slides below $50

Oil field
Getty Images

The price of Brent oil has fallen below $50 a barrel for the first time since March.

It fell to $49.97 while US West Texas Intermediate declined to $46.90 a barrel. 

It raises questions about how effective a six-month production cut agreed between Opec, the cartel of oil producing nations, and Russia has been. Opec is due to meet on 25 May when it had been expected to extend the cuts for a further six months.

Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank, said: "I wouldn't be surprised to see a (price) recovery ... before the meeting. It's likely to bring prices yet again to $50. Still, the damage is there and I wouldn't be surprised to see lower levels this summer after the meeting."

BreakingUS stock markets open up

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31.08 points to 20,988.98 in the opening seconds of trading on Thursday.

The S&P 500 reversed yesterday's losses to open 1.75 points ahead at  2,389.88.

The Nasdaq began the day up 5.44 points at 6,077.99.

US trade gap narrows

The US trade deficit narrowed in March following declines in both imports and exports.

The Commerce Department said the trade gap contracted by 0.1% to $43.7bn compared to economists' forecasts of $44.5bn.

In February the gap was $43.8bn.

Music to your boss's ears

There are, according to CNBC, certain phrases that your boss is simply dying to hear you say. Things like "I've got this" or "It's my fault".

My favourite phrase is: "Can I have a pay rise?"

Now read on...

View more on twitter

US jobless claims fall

US employment
Getty Images

More employment data has emerged in the US ahead of the key non-farm payroll figures on Friday.

Last week the number of jobless claims fell to 238,000 compared to 257,000 in the previous week. Today's figure was less than the 248,000 claims analysts were expecting.

Tomorrow's data is expected to show that US employers added around 180,000 jobs in April, up from the previous month's 98,000.

Google settles 306m euro Italy tax dispute

Google logo
Getty Images

Alphabet Inc's Google has agreed to pay 306m euros (£260m) to settle a tax dispute with Italy.

Last year Italian authorities alleged Google had not paid tax on about 1bn euros of Italian revenue between 2009 and 2013.

"In addition to the taxes already paid in Italy during those years, Google will pay another 306 million euros," a spokeswoman for the U.S. company said in an email.

Both Google and the Italian tax office said the agreement covered the years between 2002 and 2015.

Alphabet has been accused in Italy and other countries of avoiding taxes by booking income earned in higher-taxing European markets through a unit based in low-tax Ireland.

The US company has previously said it complied with tax rules in every country it worked. 

Adidas outpaces Nike in North America and China

Adidas Boost games
Getty Images

Shares in Adidas have risen about 1.65% after the German sportswear firm reported a larger than expected increase in first-quarter sales and profits.

The company outpaced rival Nike in North America and China.

After losing ground to its US rival for years, Adidas launched a big marketing drive. US consumers snapped up its Boost running shoes and retro styles such as Superstars.

Quarterly net profit rose 30% to 455m euros (£385m) after sales rose 19% to 5.67bn euros, beating average analyst forecasts.

Spanish court to question former HSBC executives

Spain's High Court is to question seven former HSBC executives as part of a probe triggered by leaks of tax information from HSBC's Swiss private bank, according to a ruling.

The court said that it had extended an investigation into alleged tax fraud and money laundering linked to HSBC, Banco Santander and BNP Paribas.

On Wednesday it said it would investigate seven current and former Santander bankers.

HSBC declined to comment. 

Viacom profit plunges

Hasan Minhaj
Reuters
Hasan Minhaj of Comedy Central's the Daily Show hosts the White House Correspondents' Association dinner last week

MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon owner Viacom has reported a 60% decline in quarterly profit following higher programming costs and sagging advertising sales.

Net profits fell to $121m (£94m) in the company's second quarter, down from $303m a year earlier.