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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Number of people in work falls
  3. UK unemployment rate remains at 4.3%
  4. TalkTalk shares dive on profit warning
  5. Productivity grows by 0.9% in Q3

Live Reporting

By Katie Hope

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

All good things must come to an end, and that's it from us for tonight.

But don't fear we'll be back bright and early at 6am with all the latest business news so make sure to come back and read then.

See you soon.

Wall Street closes lower

Wall St traders
Getty Images

Wall Street has ended the day lower, extending Tuesday's broad declines amid a drop in oil prices and disappointing corporate forecasts.

The Dow Jones fell 138.19 points or 0.59% to 23,271.28, while the wider S&P 500 index ended 14.25 points or 0.55% lower at 2,564.62.

Meanwhile the tech-focused Nasdaq index declined 31.66 points or almost 0.47% to 6,706.21.

Target was among the biggest losers, after it issued a soft forecast for the holiday season.

Greggs says sorry

Greggs sausage roll
Greggs

And if you missed this earlier, Greggs latest promotion has managed to grab people's attention but not necessarily for the right reason.

The baking chain's launch of its first advent calendar alongside promotional photos of nativity scenes where Jesus was replaced with a sausage roll have caused some upset.

Christian Twitter users said the advert was disrespectful to their religion.

Greggs subsequently apologised for the image, saying it hadn't planned to upset anyone.

"We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention," the firm said in a statement.

Airbus seals Indigo deal

Airbus plane
Getty Images

Talking of flying matters, Airbus earlier struck its biggest single deal with an order for 430 aircraft worth $49.5bn at list prices from US investment firm Indigo Partners.

Indigo, whose interests include Europe's Wizz Air, US-based Frontier, and Mexico's Volaris, will buy Airbus's A320neo family of aircraft.

The Airbus aircraft, whose wings are made in the UK, will be deployed across Indigo's airlines, which also includes JetSmart in Chile.

Lockheed Martin's helicopter 'gets lift off'

The US military is reported to have approved Lockheed Martin Corp's new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter to fly at the Berlin air show next April, according to reports.

The CH-53K's international debut comes as a German helicopter competition looms.

The German defence ministry is nearing the kickoff of a competition valued at nearly €4bn between two US helicopters - Lockheed's massive Sikorsky CH-53K and the smaller Boeing Co CH-47 twin-rotor helicopter.

Bringing the CH-53K helicopter to Berlin will allow military officials to compare the two aircraft on site.

Thai court looks into Leicester City owner case

King Power stadium photo
Michael Regan

A Thai criminal court has said it will examine a 14bn baht ($423m; £321m) lawsuit brought against Thai duty-free giant King Power International, the company that owns English Premier League football club Leicester City.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok said it would look into the allegations made in the lawsuit to determine whether there was a case to be heard, and would review the list of potential evidence and witnesses in February ahead of preliminary hearings.

Read more about the case here.

YouTuber Zoella under fire

Zoella
PA

YouTuber and blogger Zoella has had to apologise for old tweets she wrote in the past about gay people and "chavs".

The posts, from 2009-12, which have now been deleted, have been called out for "fat shaming" and being homophobic.

Miss Sugg has already come under fire this week for her 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar. The product has seen its price slashed from £50 to £25 by retailer Boots, after it was criticised for being bad value for money by customers.

It's easy to think she has nothing to do with business, but in fact Miss Sugg's fashion and beauty vlog, which launched in 2009, now has more than 11 million subscribers making it one of the most successful UK vlogs.

Her book Girl Online also became the fastest selling debut novel ever when it was released in 2014.

Read more about her here.

German bank merger on the cards?

Deutsche Bank logo
Getty Images

Earlier today US private equity fund Cerberus announced it had taken a 3% stake in Deutsche Bank.

The move comes after Cerberus bought a 5% stake in rival German bank Commerzbank in July.

Cerberus is now the fourth-largest shareholder in Deutsche Bank and the second-largest investor in Commerzbank.

The stakes are fuelling speculation that a tie-up between the two is on the cards.

But both banks are in the midst of big organisational overhauls and according to reports officials at both banks have scotched talk of any kind of merger deal until these restructurings are complete.

All eyes on Walmart

Walmart store
AFP

The disappointing holiday forecast from retail chain Target has made investors nervous about what to expect from Walmart.

The retail giant is due to release its third quarter results at midday tomorrow and the fact its shares are currently trading 0.5% lower suggests investors are wary.

Like most retailers it's up against harsh competition from Amazon and much of the focus on its results will be on how Walmart's aggressive efforts to expand its online offering have fared.

Target's shares meanwhile have stayed low, they're currently down a whopping 9%.

Angolan state oil firm sacks head

Isabel Dos Santos
EPA

The president of Angola, Joao Lourenco, has fired the daughter of his predecessor as head of the country's state oil company Sonangol.

Isabel Dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa's richest woman.

Mr Dos Santos was Africa's second longest-serving leader until he stepped down in September after 37 years.

President Lourenco, known as JLo, has promised to tackle corruption

Market slide continues but 'don't panic'

Wall Street is still down, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 both slipping 0.4% and the Nasdaq down about 0.3%.

Globally stocks are heading for their longest losing streak in around eight months, with weaker commodity prices taking their toll around the world.

But Andrew Frankel, co-president of Stuart Frankel & Co, says there's no need to panic.

"We've had ten months of gains. You have a need for some sort of pullback. Down less than 1% is not a major move here. In my view it's a blip," he says.

US consumer financial regulator head to leave

Richard Cordray
Getty Images

US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray has announced he will leave at the end of the month.

His departure comes ahead of his official tenure which was due to end in July next year.

The regulatory agency was created after the financial crisis.

In a note to staff, Mr Cordray said he hoped "that new leadership" would see the value in the agency, and "work to preserve it - perhaps in different ways than before, but desiring, as I have done, to serve in ways that benefit and strengthen our economy and our country".

Will AT&T deal get the go-ahead?

Time Warner
AFP

Reports suggest that AT&T's deal to buy Time Warner is still looking very much up in the air.

Competition authorities have been scrutinising the $85.4bn (£70bn) takeover since it was announced in 2016.

But according to Reuters, the US Justice Department has now approached state attorneys to try to win their support for a bid to block the deal.

The Trump administration had already been reportedlypushing for Time Warner to sell assets such as CNN before it would approve the tie-up.

And last week an AT&T executive said he no longer expected the deal to close this year.

Antonio Carluccio's last interview

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio, who sadly died last week, had given an interview to the BBC's Food Chain just days before.

View more on twitter

Oil price fall softens

oil rig
Reuters

Despite the oil price weighing on oil and mining stocks, the price of a barrel has actually improved a bit from earlier trading.

The US government's report showed a rise in crude stocks last week with them climbing by 1.85 million barrels compared to earlier forecasts of a 2.2m drop.

Despite the unexpected rise, it was lower than the the increase of 6.5 million barrels reported Tuesday by industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API).

"Overall, the report is somewhat supportive because it was not as bearish as the previous API report last night - that is why we are slowly digging our way out of the downside seen earlier this morning," said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group.

FTSE ends lower

The FTSE 100 has closed down 41.81 points, or 0.56%, lower at 7,372.61 to around its lowest level since early last month.

Oil and mining stocks ended up the biggest losers due to further falls in global oil and commodity prices, with Brent crude slipping around 0.6% to $61.83 a barrel.

Glencore and Anglo American, along with oil giants BP and Shell all ended the day lower.

The new driving test sparking the strike

Changes to driving test announced

The 48-hour strike by driving examiners in England, Wales and Scotland on 4 December has been sparked by the new driving test.

The Public and Commercial Service (PCS) said examiners, who are employed by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), were being told to work harder as the tests come into force.

The DVSA has said the new test would better assess safe driving skills.

But what's new in the test? This video spells out the changes, including the need to follow directions from a sat nav and drive into a parking space.

Greece prepares for bailout exit

Greece flag
Reuters

Greece is trying to boost its market liquidity ahead of a hoped-for exit from its current bailout programme next August.

It has asked private bondholders to trade in debt issued in 2012 for new holdings with longer maturities of between five and 25 years.

Greece returned to bond markets with a five-year bond in July, its first market foray in three years, and said it wants to test investors' appetite several times before its current bailout expires in August 2018.

Where in the UK's winning on employment?

Wages continue to lag behind the cost of living in the UK, while unemployment remains at a 42-year low, we found out from the latest employment data.

But do you know where in the UK is faring best? Have a look at our handy chart below.

View more on twitter

Inflation 'heightens rate hike chances'

The weak performance on Wall Street is partly due to the weak US inflation data for October, something Capital Economics believes heightens the chance of more rate hikes from the Fed next year.

US consumer prices barely rose last month, edging up just 0.1%. It's a sharp contrast to September's 0.5% jump.

"With signs that underlying inflation pressures are starting to pick back up again, we think the Fed will need to step up the pace of tightening next year, raising the Fed funds rate a total of four times in 2018," Michael Pearce, US economist, at Capital Economics said.

Wall Street falls in early trading

Wall St traders
Getty Images

The weak outlook from retail chain Target has worried investors. Its shares are currently down over 8%.

The rest of Wall Street isn't faring too well either with a combination of rising scepticism about the likelihood of US tax reform approval and a fall in oil stocks weighing on the main indexes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently down 0.6% at 23,269.88, the S&P 500 has slipped 0.7% to 2,559.97, while the Nasdaq is down 0.9% at 6.677.13.

US retail sales see surprise rise

US store
Getty Images

US consumer spending was stronger than expected last month, official figures suggest.

Retail sales rose 0.2% in October, compared with expectations for no change.September's rise of 1.6% was also revised upwards to a 1.9% increase.

The increase was driven by a jump in car sales which managed to offset a drop in demand for building materials.

Dyson to sue former chief executive Max Conze

James Dyson
BBC

An exclusive from our business editor Simon Jack who has discovered that electrical firm Dyson is suing former chief executive Max Conze for allegedly leaking company secrets and using company resources for his own benefit.

Max Conze stepped down in October and was thanked by the British firm's founder, Sir James Dyson.

But the BBC has learned that, according to the company, Mr Conze was sacked for an alleged series of breaches.

Mr Conze denied the allegations and said it would cause an "unnecessary distraction" for Dyson staff.

The allegations include "the disclosure of confidential information, and a breach of his fiduciary duties".

A spokesman for the company said: "The Dyson board has decided to bring a claim against Max Conze at the High Court of Justice in London in relation to his actions while chief executive."

Read more here

Driving examiners set to strike

driving test
Getty Images

Driving examiners are set to strike for 48 hours from the 4 December.

Unlike driving instructors which are typically employed by private firms, examiners are civil servants and employed by the government.

The Public and Commercial Service union (PCS) said up to 2,000 of its members will take part in the walkout, which it said was over examiners being asked to work longer for no extra pay when new tests are introduced.

The union's press officer said while not every driving test will be cancelled "there will undoubtedly be some cancellations".

Has Delia got it wrong?

Delia Smith
Ian Gavan

Cooking queen Delia Smith has declared cookery books over, arguing we can all get our recipes online instead.

But is she right?

The BBC's Lucy Hooker says "no".

Read more about the debate here.

Papa John's Pizza apologises

Papa John's Pizza has issued an apology on Twitter over comments made by its founder John Schnatter two weeks ago during an earnings call.

Speaking to investors, Mr Schnatter suggested that the NFL's failure to control protests made by players who knelt during the national anthem had contributed to lower sales.

His comments prompted a white supremacist publication to endorse the restaurant chain, according to USA Today.

"The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologise to anyone that thought they were divisive. That definitely was not our intention," Papa John's Pizza wrote.

View more on twitter

Target disappoints with forecast

Target store
Getty Images

Discount store chain Target has reported a disappointing sales forecast for the fourth quarter - despite the holiday season and Black Friday, the retailer says its like-for-like sales growth, which excludes new store sales, will be flat to 2%.

The retailer's third quarter like-for-like sales saw an increase of 0.9%, while pre-tax profits were $869m, 17.8% down from the same period in 2016.

"While we expect the fourth quarter environment to be highly competitive, we are very confident in our holiday season plans," said Brian Cornell, Target's chairman and chief executive officer.

"The investments we’re making in our business will help Target drive long-term success and ensure we’re well positioned to deliver for guests in the all-important holiday season."

Insurance gap penalises poor households

Money
Getty Images

Sixteen million people in the UK have no contents insurance and have little in savings to replace damaged or stolen household items, a report has said.

The majority are tenants, with particular concern over a lack of cover for those in social housing, the Financial Inclusion Commission said.

The group of MPs, peers and charities found that 60% of those earning £15,000 or less a year had no contents cover.

Read more here.

The benefits of ignoring Brexit

Will Butler-Adams of Brompton Bicycles
Getty Images

Brompton Bicycles has no problem with Brexit.

Its managing director Will Butler-Adams (pictured), delivered an upbeat view to MPs this morning: - "Broadly I'm ignoring it" he told the Treasury Committee.

In fact, he's done pretty well out it so far.

The 15% fall in the value of the pound has added about £300,000 to his bottom line.

He said: "80% of our sales go to 44 countries. That gives us the ability to negotiate with our suppliers. We've seen our costs go up a little, but the massive thing is - we're invoicing in euros and dollars."

As for say a 10% tariff if we end up trading with the EU under WTO rules? No problem he says: "We're already dealing with 30% tariff in China, a free trade agreement in South Korea , we pay tax in Japan, free trade in Chile, tax in Argentina. That's just business."

Brexit won't necessarily delay rate rises

Ben Broadbent (L) with Bank of England governor Mark Carney
Getty Images
Ben Broadbent (L) with Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Ben Broadbent, the Bank of England's deputy governor for monetary policy, says that it cannot be expected to delay lifting the interest rate because of Brexit.

In a speech for the London School of Economics, Mr Broadbent said: "There's been a persistent strain of opinion that EU withdrawal is something that necessarily means lower interest rates, or at least that it's a reason to avoid putting them up.

"If so, then I think the belief has been overdone."

Star Wars game faces further backlash

Battlefront II
EA

Games publisher EA has faced further criticism over its latest Star Wars game, Battlefront II.

Many players were unhappy about the credits that unlock key Star Wars characters.

The number required has now been reduced but so has the number that can be earned through gameplay. The alternative is to purchase them.

Read more here.

Government wins pricing battle

Spirits and beer on sale in a shop window
BBC

The UK supreme court has ruled that the Scottish government can set a minimum price for alcohol, rejecting a challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association.

"Much of the media coverage of this issue has considered the merits of minimum unit pricing as if it were intended to solve all alcohol problems for good," said Dr Niamh Fitzgerald, a senior lecturer in alcohol studies at the University of Stirling.

"It is not expected that minimum unit pricing (MUP) will result in huge numbers of people quitting drinking, and that has never been the aim of the policy.

"Even small reductions in consumption can lead to significant health benefits and this is particularly true in heavier drinkers and those on low incomes."

Dyson to sue ex-boss over company secrets claim

BBC business editor Simon Jack tweets...

Sterling falls on the dollar

Sterling fell sharply against the dollar following new data on employment, wages and productivity.

It is currently down 0.10% at $1.31530.

USD vs GBP exchange rate
BBC

Monarch loses appeal over runway slots

Monarch
Getty Images

The administrators of failed airline Monarch have been refused permission to appeal after losing a High Court battle over runway slots it wants to exchange with other carriers to raise cash for creditors.

However, Monarch can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

The airline went bust on 2 October, leading to nearly 1,900 people being made redundant.

Miners drag FTSE 100 lower

Mining
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 index is now trading 39.75 points lower at 7,374.67, weighed down by mining stocks.

Glencore is leading the fallers, with its share price down 3.38% at 341.15p.

Anglo American, Antofagasta and BHP Billiton are also among the biggest losing stocks at midday.

Henry Croft, a research analyst at Accendo Markets, said: "With the miners falling ... it's a very heavily-weighted sector on the FTSE. We've been really in a consistent downtrend since the beginning of November."

However, share in miners specialsing in precious metals rose. Fresnillo is ahead 1.6% at £13.04 while Randgold Resources is up 1.2% at £70.75.

Activist battle at the LSE escalates

Xavier Rolet
Getty Images

The battle between the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and an activist shareholder who is agitating for the chairman to go, is escalating.

Sky News reported earlier today that the LSE has withdrawn an invitation to Sir Christopher Hohn, founder of The Children's Investment Fund Management, to address its board.

The Children's Investment Fund Management has now set out a list of questions it wants the LSE to answer ahead of an extraordinary general meeting where the fate of the exchange's chairman Donald Brydon will be decided.

The fund, which claims that the LSE's chief executive Xavier Rolet (pictured) has been forced out, said in a letter that the company must answer questions on any payments made to the boss in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement about the reasons for his departure.

Graphic: Pay v inflation

The good news is wage growth, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.2% between July and September compared to the same period last year.

The bad news is inflation is still at 3%.

And, the ONS points out that when adjusted for inflation, pay fell by 0.5% in the three months to September.

Pay v inflation
BBC

Signal failure: What it really means

Have we reached maximum employment?

A woman hand-paints mugs at the Emma Bridgewater factory
Getty Images

Whilst ONS wage growth figures beat expectations, the employment rate surprised analysts by dipping slightly, accordind to OFX currency analyst Hamish Muress.

“There has been a muted reaction from the pound this morning, off the back of a rather curious labour market report," he said.

"The Bank of England will be relieved to see the gap between wage growth and inflation narrow, but may now be asking whether the UK has reached its maximum employment rate.

"If this is the case, then wage growth could accelerate further in 2018.”