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. FTSE 100 up; Pound below $1.29
  2. German GDP growth speeds up
  3. VR firm Improbable raises $500m
  4. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Karen Hoggan

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's it for this week's Business Live

We're shutting up shop early today.

Thank you for joining us. 

Have a good weekend and please do join us again at 6am on Monday.

Pound falls again

Sterling, dollar and euro notes
Getty Images

Sterling is still below the $1.2900 mark, following Thursday's Bank of England inflation report.

The report showed interest rates were unlikely to rise within the next two years. 

The pound is at $1.2878, that's a fall of 0.08%. 

It's at 1.1784 euros, down by 0.69%.

Spain's Telefonica releases statement on cyber attacks

In the middle of today's morning an incident of cybersecurity has been detected that has affected the PCs of some employees of the company's internal corporate network. Immediately, the security protocol for this type of incidents has been activated with the intention that the affected computers operate normally as soon as possible.

Telefonica

FTSE 100 closes higher

London Stock Exchange sign with Union Jack umbrella in front
Reuters

The FTSE 100 is at 7,435.39, that's a rise of 49 points or 0.66%.

The biggest gain was seen by AstraZeneca. Promising results from the trial of a cancer drug helped to lift shares in the pharmaceutical giant.

The company said that in a trial its immunotherapy drug Imfinzi had lowered the risk of stage III lung cancer worsening or causing death.

Meanwhile, Hikma Pharmaceuticals was among the biggest fallers on Friday, dropping 2%.

On Thursday it was announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wasn't going to approve its inhaled medicine for asthma and chronic lung disease just yet. Hikma said there was now a low likelihood of approval this year.

BBC World Service

Turkish police have detained more than 50 former employees of Istanbul's stock exchange in dawn raids, as part of an investigation into last July's failed coup, reports BBC World Service. 

Reports say the authorities traced them through an encrypted messaging app supposedly developed by followers of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric Ankara blames for the coup attempt. 

They're also said to have links to a bank associated with Mr Gulen, who denies any involvement in the plot. 

Petrofac shares slide as SFO opens probe

A Pertrofac plant in Tunisia
Getty Images
A Pertrofac plant in Tunisia

Shares in oil services firm Petrofac have dived more than 14% after the Serious Fraud Office said it was investigating the business. 

In a statement, the SFO said it was investigating the company, its subsidiaries and employees under suspicion of bribery, corruption and money laundering in relation to a probe into Moroccan oil company Unaoil. 

In a statement, Petrofac said Unaoil provided it with consultancy services mainly in Kazakhstan, in the seven years to 2009. It also said it was cooperating with the authorities. 

Boss Ayman Asfari and chief operating officer Marwan Chedid have both been questioned under caution by the SFO.

Ecourier opens worker review

Ecourier chief executive Ian Oliver says the firm has opened a review into the worker arrangements of its couriers after settling a dispute with the IWGB Union.

We are now carrying out a review to work out how best to implement worker status for couriers where it reflects their actual working arrangements with us. We work with couriers who have many different working arrangements with us. That means that there is no 'one-size-fits all' solution, and we need to review the whole picture."

Ian OliverECourier chief executive

NHS cyber attack 'affecting other organisations'

Spanish companies hit by cyber attack

Telefonica, the Spanish owner of 02, has been hit by a cyber attack, according to Reuters.

Other firms in the county have also had their computers infected with malicious software known as "ransomware" that locks up computers and demands ransoms to restore access. 

"There has been an alert relating to a massive ransomware attack on various organisations, which is affecting their Windows systems," Spain's National Cryptology Centre said in a statement.  

Courier company settles 'worker' dispute

A delivery company has reached a settlement with union officials over one of its couriers in the latest case about employment rights in the gig economy.

ECourier settled with trade union IWGB over Demille Flanore, a courier who argued he should be treated as a worker, rather than an independent contractor, and so be entitled to annual leave.

"On review, we believe that in the case of Mr Flanore, worker status reflected his working relationship with us," Ian Oliver, chief executive of eCourier, told the BBC.

IWGB said it has taken four courier companies to employment tribunals, but eCourier is the only one to have settled in this way.

Weak JC Penney sales stoke fears of sector slowdown

JC Penney store
Getty Images

JC Penney is the latest US department store group to post weak first quarter results, stoking fears of a sector slowdown.

Same-store sales slid 3.5%, undershooting estimates and sending shares in the retailer down by as much as 12%.

On Thursday, rivals Macy's and Kohl's both suffered big share price falls after their first quarter results fell short of expectations.

US department stores are struggling - and shutting down many of their outlets - as more people shop online.  

Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.25m trucks

Ram pickup truck
Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1.25 million pickup trucks worldwide over a software error that "may be related" to a death and two injuries.

The faulty code could potentially disable the side air bag and seat belt locking mechanism when a vehicle rolls over during a crash, the firm said.

Recalled vehicles will be reprogrammed.

Just over one million of the trucks were sold in the US, with thousands of others in Canada, Mexico and outside North America.

"The company is aware of one fatality, two injuries and two accidents that may be related," said Fiat Chrysler in a statement.

The firm added an investigation identified that the problem could be triggered following engine ignition. Read more here

NHS 'cyber attack'

There are reports of a string of cyber attacks on the NHS in England. 

Among those affected are Barts Trust in London, the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, the NHS is Blackburn, Blackpool, Nottingham and Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. GPs are resorting to using pen and paper according to local newspaper the Blackpool Gazette.

NHS England says they are aware of the issue and are looking into it.

US consumer prices head higher

Dollar bills
Getty Images

More on the US consumer prices figures - and in April inflation rose by 0.2%, according to the Labor Department. 

The rise suggests the 0.3% fall in March, the first for 13 months, was a blip. 

In the 12 months to the end of April, prices increased by 2.2%. 

The so-called core Consumer Prices Index - which excludes food and energy costs - crept up by 0.1% in April, having fallen by 0.1% in March. 

As with the retail sales figures, these inflation figures will be seen as a sign that the US central bank will increase interest rates next month.    

Locomore runs out of steam

A Locomore train
Getty Images

The Berlin rail start-up Locomore has been placed into administration just months after it launched a challenge to state-owned monolith Deutsche Bahn.

Established in mid-December with modernised 1970s carriages and lower prices than Deutsche Bahn, Locomore offered one return trip per day between Berlin and Stuttgart, and had plans to expand to other lines. 

But low bookings and maintenance problems meant it had to cut services to four days a week. 

On Friday, Locomore's financial director, Katrin Seiler, said the fate of the firm's one line would be known soon, but for now all journeys were on hold. 

Deutsche Bahn still operates 99% of long-distance services in Germany, despite the sector being liberalised in 1994.

US retail sales rise in April

US shopping mall
gett

US retail sales rose in April and consumer prices bounced back, bostering signs of a pick up in economic growth and steadily rising prices.

That's increased expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next month. 

The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.4% last month after an upwardly revised 0.1% gain in March. 

Sales rose 4.5% in April on a year-on-year basis. 

Hard times for Richemont as watch sales slump

Cartier
Richemont

Profits at the Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont have slumped after sales of its high-end watches fell 11%.

The firm, which owns brands like Cartier, posted a net profit of 1.2 billion euros for 2016/2017 - down 46% - although the fall was steeper due to a one-off boost to profits last year following an asset sale.

That said, profits still undershot expectations, and group sales fell from 11bn to 10.6bn euros. Chairman Johann Rupert blamed "changes in demand", particularly in the firm's watch businesses. 

The luxury watch sector has been tough recently as demand in China and other Asian countries has ebbed.

Russian miner takes Botswana to court

BBC World Service

Norilsk Nickel Africa is taking Botswana to the Court of International Arbitration.  

The Russian mining giant is unhappy that a deal to sell a nickel mining operation to a state owned company in Botswana collapsed.  

Michael Marriott, chief executive of Norilsk Nickel Africa, told Business Update: “It’s a centre of industrialisation in Botswana. 

“We have tried to solve this matter as amicably as possible. 

“Legal action is going to be extremely costly for both parties.”

View more on twitter

Wall Street opens lower

Wall Street sign with US flags behind
Getty Images

All three key US share indexes have opened lower.

The Dow Jones is at 20,882.34, a fall of 37 points or 0.18%.

The S&P 500 is at 2,390.65, that's down 4 points or 0.16%.

And the tech-heavy Nasdaq is at 6,114.59, down 1 point or 0.02%.

How police train to tackle hackers

Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones joins police officers at a cyber-security boot camp, as they enter a hacker's hotel room.

How police train to tackle hackers

Pound still below $1.29

Intraday pound-dollar graphic Friday 12 May 2017
BBC

The Bank of England disappointed sterling bulls yesterday and the pound is on the back foot again today, slipping to intra-week lows of $1.2845 against the dollar this morning. Markets will now be looking for positive surprises from this afternoon’s US inflation and retail sales figures to reinforce expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates again next month, with market pricing currently putting the chances of a move at more than 80%.

Chris SaintSenior analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown Currency Service

Mr Peachey's glitzy journalist lifestyle

Kevin Peachey
BBC

BBC personal finance reporter Kevin Peachey says:

"The glamour of researching and taking snaps for a feature on office culture."  

Kushner firm cancels China pitch

Kushner Companies signage in New York
Reuters

The company owned by the sister of Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has pulled out of presentations planned for China this weekend.

Kushner Companies was scheduled to pitch real estate opportunities to investors in the southern cities of Shenzhen and Guangzhou at the weekend.

But last week, Nicole Meyer Kushner came under fire for using her brother's name in a pitch.

Critics accused the business of playing up the family's White House links.

The company said the comments were misconstrued but has apologised.

Trump economic strategy 'unimaginative and incoherent'

Donald Trump
Getty Images

Wow. The Economist is pulling no punches in an analysis of Donald Trumps economic policies, which it describes as mainly "threadbare, retrograde and unbalanced".

It says that he "fetishises manufacturing jobs", but points out that the solar industry in the US employs more than twice the number of people. 

Mr Trump ignores the effects of automation on jobs, which has cost more than competition from China, it says.

The article adds that changes in retailing are caused by factors such as e-commerce, so threats to Mexico will not bring back low-skilled retailing jobs.

Stock markets have seen a Trump bump which, for example, pushed the Dow above 20,000 points. If the article is right, could we be heading for more of a Trump dump?

House of who?

Frank Slevin (left) and Alex Williamson
House of Fraser

Department store House of Fraser's decision to hire a new boss with no retail experience has left one retail analyst sharpening his pen.

Nick Bubb observes: "The obscure chairman of House of Fraser, the former banker, Frank Slevin [left, above], justified yesterday’s surprise news that the new CEO will be... the even more obscure Alex Williamson from the Goodwood Group [right] on the grounds that the management team has plenty of retail expertise".

"Well, good luck with that. The move reminds us of the TalkTalkbusiness appointing somebody with no experience of the phone industry as its CEO back in 2010, one Dido Harding (it didn’t end well, as Charles Dunstone can now relay)…" he writes.

Car financing revs up to a record

The Bank of England has raised concerns about such deals

Ofcom opens 118 review

118 118 advert
118 118

The UK's telecoms regulator is opening a review into the rising cost of calling directory enquiries, after concerns that customers can pay more than £20 for a one-minute call.

Ofcom said it wanted to ensure that prices of calls to 118 numbers were "transparent and fair". It's also looking into the cost of calls to 070 numbers, which allow users to be contacted on any phone at any location.  

Improbable 'will stay British'

Herman Narula
BBC

The huge investment by Japan's Softbank in UK tech company Improbable has re-opened the debate about foreign companies buying British assets. 

Herman Narula, one of Improbable's two founders, says it will remain a British company. Unlike with Softbank's investment in UK chip designer ARM last year, the Japanese tech firm won't be gaining a majority stake in Improbable.

It's incredibly important to myself and my co-founders to build what could be a big British platform company if we are successful and maintaining control, maintaining independence and keeping the ability to see our vision through to the end is one of the reasons why we maintained our vision this early. Our vision is 10 years long and we need the confidence to execute the vision fully and that can only happen by staying independent."

Herman NarulaImprobable co-founder

Improbable boss: Future of games 'exciting'

British virtual reality firm Improbable has raised $500m (£390m) from Japanese tech investor Softbank, valuing the business at over $1bn by some estimates.

Readers might remember that Softbank bought chip designer ARM, seen as the jewel in the UK tech industry's crown, last year for £24bn.  

So why is it coming back for another British tech firm? Herman Narula, Improbable's co-founder, says it's because the virtual reality used in video games will soon be seen as more than just entertainment.

It's also being used to build massive scale recreations of the real world, including models of entire cities, Mr Narula tells the BBC. Watch more below... 

One Belt, One Road

China is pumping billions into its global trade strategy - dubbed One Belt, One Road - which takes inspiration from the old Silk Road trading route.

The video below shows the two routes it's seeking to capitalise on - the yellow line shows the road and rail links that make up "One Belt"; and the red line is the maritime route of the "One Road". 

View more on twitter

Eurozone industrial output dips

French power station
Getty Images

Eurozone industrial output declined slightly in March for the second month in a row after a sharp drop in energy production, official figures show.

Eurostat said industrial production in the single-currency bloc fell by 0.1% from February, but rose by 1.9% compared with last year. 

'You can tell by the way I use my walk...'

FTSE 100 heads for third week of gains as AstraZeneca rises

The FTSE 100 share index is on track for its third week of gains as share in drugs firm AstraZeneca rose after a positive drug trial and broker upgrades buoyed individual firms.

The index is up about 0.2% at 7,0401 points, hitting its highest level in seven weeks.

AstraZeneca is the biggest gainer, jumping 4.7% after its key immunotherapy drug durvalumab, which will have the brand name Imfinzi, had a successful lung cancer trial.

Germany's investment problem

Can Macron help get the EU back up to speed?

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

Clothes compost?

Sterling falls again after Bank rate decision

Pound v dollar
BBC

The pound has fallen 0.25% against the dollar to $1.2856, another fall after yesterday's Bank of England inflation report.

The report showed interest rates were unlikely to rise within the next two years.

The pound has fallen against many currencies, including the yen and the euro.

Tesco boss gets a pay cut

Business presenter Rob Young tweets...

The @Tesco boss Dave Lewis took a 10% pay cut last year, the company has revealed. He received a lower bonus. But still got £4.1 million