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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Bitcoin falls below $10,000 after hitting record
  3. 2.7m UK riders and drivers hit by date breach, says Uber
  4. US economic growth revised up
  5. London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet departs
  6. Cineworld shares tumble

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

That's it for another day on Business Live.

Thank you for staying with us.

Do join us again tomorrow from 6am for all the latest news, views and analysis.

Close to home

BBC technology correspondent tweets

It seems one of our own correspondents has been affected by the Equifax data breach.

Earlier this year the company has said personal information of more than 145 million people in the US and the UK may have been exposed.

Well this brings it home .... #Equifax  #datahack

Well this brings it home .... #Equifax #datahack

Mixed picture on Wall Street

Wall Street trader
Reuters

Shares in financial companies rose strongly on Wall Street on Wednesday, following comments by Jerome Powell that some banking regulations could be eased. The sector was also boosted by the prospect of further interest rate rises.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 104 points or 0.44% at 23,940.68.

The S&P 500 ended the day virtually unchanged - down by 0.04% at 2,626.07

And the Nasdaq was 1.27% or 88 points lower at 6,824.34

The tech-heavy index lost out to investors moving money into banking and other financial stocks.

Wizz secures Monarch rights

Wizz aircraft
PA

Budget airline Wizz Air has secured some take off and landing slots from failed carrier Monarch. It follows the sale of some Monarch slots at Gatwick Airport to British Airways.

The Wizz slots are at Luton. Wizz, listed in London but with the majority of its operations focused on Europe, said it would increase its fleet at Luton by two aircraft to total seven and pushing up its capacity at the airport by 18%.

EasyJet, Wizz and Norwegian had expressed their interest in acquiring Monarch's slots at Gatwick airport.

Tech swipe

The BBC's tech man in the US tweets:

American seeks to calm worries over pilot shortage

American Airlines has issued a slightly longer comment on news that a scheduling glitch in its computer system means it might be short of pilots over the Christmas period.

"We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season," the carrier says.

"We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150% of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract.

"We will work with the APA [union] to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays."

Brexitcast: 'Divorce bill' dissected

Brexitcast dissects latest Brexit 'divorce bill' offer

Gazprom profits jump

Russian gas giant Gazprom has said its third-quarter net profit was 200.5 billion roubles ($3.4bn), almost doubling from 102.2 billion roubles in the same period last year.

Gazprom said third quarter revenue came in at 1.43 trillion roubles, up from 1.257 trillion roubles last year.

What goes up....

Bitcoin is back below $10,000, after hitting a record high on Wednesday of almost $11,400. The digital currency broke through $10,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

But don't worry, it'll probably be back in record territory soon (or may be crash to $100).

Happy holidays

AA aircraft
Getty Images

December is one of the busiest months for airlines, and so you'd want to have enough pilots. But American Airlines may have given a few too many time off.

Thousands of December flights on the carrier do not yet have pilots scheduled to work because of a system scheduling error, the carrier's pilots union says.

The Allied Pilots Association union estimates that more than 15,000 flights from 17-31 December are affected.

"Basically there's a crisis at American for manning the cockpits," said Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association.

Says the airline: "We are working through this to make sure we take care of our pilots and get our customers where they need to go over the holiday."

Uber decision 'inexplicable'

Uber app
Getty Images

Uber's former chief executive and some board members knew of a letter a US judge has said was withheld from a high-stakes lawsuit, an attorney for the company testified on Wednesday.

But Uber's lawyer said she did not disclose the letter to other attorneys defending the company in the trade secrets lawsuit by Alphabet self-driving car unit Waymo, Reuters reports from the hearing.

US District Judge William Alsup called that decision "inexplicable." The letter alleges Uber trained employees to steal trade secrets and hide their activities. "On the surface it looks like you covered this up," he told Uber in court.

Alphabet's Waymo has accused Uber of stealing confidential information about its self-driving car designs, the highest-stakes legal challenge on a list of litigation that Uber's new chief Dara Khosrowshahi inherited when he joined the company in August.

Tech downturn

NYSE trading floor
Reuters

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index slipped further in early afternoon trading on Wednesday as investors shifted to financials that have been bolstered by strong economic data.

The S&P technology index, the best performing sector this year, dropped as much as 3.3%, its worst single-day decline since June 2016.

The so-called FAANG stocks - Facebook, Amazon , Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet - fell between 2.8% and 5.3%.

In contrast, JPMorgan and Bank of America climbed about 2%, putting the S&P financial index on track for its best two-day gain in nearly a year.

The S&P was down 0.15% at 2,623 points, the Dow Jones was up 0.21% at 23,886.98, and the Nasdaq was down 1.34% at 6,820.

Chipotle Mexican Grill gained 3% after the restaurant chain said it would seek a turnaround expert to replace founder Steve Ells as chief executive.

Just Eat 'delivers on tech and consumer satisfaction'

Delivery firm joins ranks of UK's biggest companies

Just Eat's promotion to the FTSE 100 is another bright spot for the firm after seeing its £240m takeover of rival Hungryhouse given the green light by the Competition and Markets Authority earlier this month.

Russ Mould, AJ Bell investment director, said: "Online food order and delivery service Just Eat's arrival in the UK's corporate elite is all the more remarkable as it was only floated in April 2014.

"The shares have stormed from a flotation price of 260p to north of 800p since then, to give the firm a market cap of £5.6bn, bigger than each of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

"This shows how the internet places a focus not just on price but on service and Just Eat's success is testimony to its ability to harness the power of both technology and consumer satisfaction."

Uber discloses data breach numbers

ITV's political editor tweets:

Apple issues security fix

Macbook
Getty Images

Apple says it has found a fix to a serious security flaw within its Mac operating system.

The Silicon Valley giant has just issued this statement:

"Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS. When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole.

"This morning, as of 8am, the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra.

"We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again."

Just Eat delivers on growth

Food delivery firm Just Eat is joining the list of Britain's biggest companies. The firm's elevation to the FTSE 100 was confirmed in the latest reshuffle of the index.

Paper packaging group DS Smith and health and safety tech firm Halma also join the FTSE 100.

The firms replace Convatec, Merlin Entertainments, and Babcock.

Just Eat's shares have soared 43% this year on the back of revenue growth and acquisitions.

Analyst Nicholas Hyett, of Hargreaves Lansdown, said Just Eat is the first straight consumer tech stock to reach the FTSE 100.

He said: "Obviously many of the FTSE 100 retailers are increasingly focussed on online service delivery. The UK isn’t totally bereft of large technology businesses though.

"Sage and Micro Focus are both software businesses and comfortably in the FTSE 100, while it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sophos knocking on the door in the near future given their recent rate of growth."

FTSE slips

The FTSE 100 sank further into the red in late afternoon trading, ending 0.9% down at 7,393.5 points. Gold producer Randgold was the biggest faller, 6% lower as the price of the metal fell.

Retailers and bank stocks were the main risers. Next and Marks & Spencer were up 4.3% and 3.8% respectively, while RBS and Barclays rose 3.8% and 3.6%.

Global market

stock market screens
AFP

The proportion of UK company shares owned by foreign investors has reached another record high. Some 53.9% of shares on the UK stock markets belonged to the rest of the world at the end of last year.

This is a small rise on the previous high of 53.7% recorded in 2014. By contrast just 12.3% of shares in 2016 were owned by UK individuals.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, put the value of UK domiciled company shares at £2.04 trillion, making the foreign-owned shares worth around £1.09 trillion.

The latest rise reflects the steady increase in foreign investment in the UK since the early 1990s, which saw the proportion of UK shares owned by the rest of the world pass 25% by 1997 and 50% by 2012.

North America accounted for the largest proportion of foreign shareholders, holding 48.1% of the total value of all foreign-owned shares. European investors were the next largest foreign group (25.7%), followed by Asia (15.5%), Africa (4.1%) and the Middle East (2.9%).

Offshore UK investors accounted for the smallest proportion of any group based outside the UK, with 0.6% of all foreign-owned shares by value.

Statement of intent

Xavier Rolet (left) and Donald Brydon
Getty Images
Xavier Rolet (left) and Donald Brydon

Amid the bruising boardroom row that sees London Stock Exchange chief Xavier Rolet leave, observers have been waiting to see if hedge fund TCI would comment.

TCI had accused LSE chairman Donald Brydon of pushing Rolet out and called a shareholder meeting to try to reverse the decision and oust Brydon.

Well, it looks like TCI founder Chris Hohn will be commenting - but not until tomorrow.

Says Hohn in reply to a letter from the LSE: "Thank you for your letter of today. We intend to respond to your letter tomorrow."

Key will be whether Hohn regards the matter closed, or if the dispute is set to run.

It was also announced on Wednesday that Brydon will step down in 2019.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said on Tuesday that the situation needed to be cleared up as soon as possible.

Yahoo 'hacker-for-hire' pleads guilty

A Canadian man has pleaded guilty to charges related to a 2014 hack attack at Yahoo, which affected 500 million user accounts.

Described by US law officials as a "hacker-for-hire", Karim Baratov admitted hacking web-mail accounts on behalf of the Russian Federal Security Service.

The number of hacked accounts is disputed.

His lawyers also say he did not know he had been working for Russian agents.

Three other individuals have been charged over the hack but have not been arrested because they live in Russia, which has no extradition treaty with the US. Prosecutors have said two of them are FSB officers.

Baratov will be sentenced in February and faces up to 28 years in jail.

Yellen says rate-rise case continues

Janet Yellen
Getty Images

A strengthening US economy will warrant continued interest rate increases, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday in remarks prepared for delivery to Congress.

However, she did not comment on the timing of when the next one might occur.

"The economic expansion is increasingly broad based across sectors as well as across much of the global economy," Yellen said in remarks released ahead of her appearance before the Joint Economic Committee.

With weak inflation likely to prove "transitory," she said "we continue to expect that gradual increases in the federal funds rate will be appropriate."

In what may be one of her last public appearances before retiring as Fed chair, Yellen said the economy's momentum continues.

Dow and S&P up, Nasdaq down

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones indexes rose in morning trading as bank stocks added to gains following strong economic data and encouraging comments from Federal Reserve officials that sealed the case for a December rate increase.

JP Morgan climbed 1.9% and Bank of America rose 2.2%, making the S&P financial index the biggest gainer among S&P 500 sectors.

The Dow Jones was up 0.3% at 23,907 points, the S&P 500 inched up 0.06% to 2,628.7, and the Nasdaq was down 0.2% at 6,898.4.

Chipotle Mexican Grill gained 5.4% after the restaurant chain announced its co-founder Steve Ells would step down as chief executive.

Allergan rose 3.7% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the company's stock to "overweight".

Safe as houses

Houses in Bristol
Getty Images

The total value of the UK's privately owned housing stock has passed the £6 trillion mark for the first time, according to Halifax research.

Over the past year alone, its total value has jumped by £376bn to reach a slightly meaningless £6.015 trillion, Halifax has calculated.

The average value per household in the UK now stands at £256,912, up from £187,310 in 2007, representing an increase of close to £70,000 (37%).

The report also found a wide regional variation in the level of housing equity - the difference between the value of the housing stock and total outstanding mortgage debt.

The highest is in London, where housing equity is estimated at £968bn - equivalent to £360,193 per household.

Uber's 'catastrophic breach'

Sadiq Kihan
Stefan Rousseau

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been responding to Uber's news that 2.7 million UK users and drivers were affected by a data breach revealed this month.

The ride-hailing app is used in towns and cities across the UK, with 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London.

Mr Khan said: "This latest shocking development about Uber will alarm millions of Londoners whose personal data could have been stolen by criminals.

"Uber need to urgently confirm which of their customers are affected... and what action is being taken to prevent this happening again.

"The public will want to know how there could be this catastrophic breach of personal data security."

In October Uber launched an appeal against Transport for London's decision to deny it a new operating licence in the capital on the grounds of "public safety and security implications".

Bitcoin marks another milestone

A bitcoin
Getty Images

Bitcoin has crossed the $11,000 threshold. Less than 24 hours after the value of one bitcoin past $10,000 (£7,493), the virtual currency stood at $11,320 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

It caps a remarkable rise in value for the crypto-currency, which was trading below $1,000 at the start of the year.

Some experts believe the asset still has far to soar, but others say it represents a speculative bubble with nothing tangible at its core that could burst any time.

The total value of all the bitcoins in existence has now surpassed $167bn.

Growth beats White House target

US GDP revised up to 3.3%

Trump high-fives supporters
AFP

The latest US growth data means that the economy posted its best performance in three years in the third quarter.

The revised figure showed growth remains resilient despite back-to-back hurricanes in late summer that barely left a scratch on the world's largest economy.

GDP growth in the July-September quarter was revised up to 3.3%, three tenths of a point higher than the initial estimate and the strongest performance since the third quarter of 2014.

The result means growth has surpassed the White House's 3% target for the second quarter in a row, after expanding 3.1% in the April-June period.

BreakingUS GDP revised up

The US economy grew faster than originally estimated in the third quarter.

GDP rose by 3.3% between July and September, ahead of the original forecast of 3%.

Uber: Behind the story

Uber car
Getty Images

Uber admitted last week that it had concealed a huge data breach that affected 57 million customers and drivers.

The 2016 breach was covered up by the ride-hailing company which paid hackers $100,000 ($75,000) to delete the data.

Uber's former chief executive Travis Kalanick knew about the incident a year ago.

The company is now led by chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi. Mr Kalanick remains in the board.

No evidence of fraud, says Uber

Following the data breach - and the exposure of the details of 2.7 million customers and drivers - Uber says that it does not believe its riders need to take any action.

It says: "We have seen no evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident. We are monitoring the affected accounts and have flagged them for additional fraud protection.

"We encourage all our users to regularly monitor their accounts for any issues. Please let us know via the Help Centre if you see anything unexpected or unusual related to your Uber account.

"You can do this by tapping "Help" in your app, then "Account and Payment Options" > "I have an unknown charge" > "I think my account has been hacked"."

Uber statement on cyber hack

UIber
Getty Images

Uber has released a statement about the data breach which has affected 2.7 million customers and drivers. It said:

"In October 2016, Uber experienced a data security incident that resulted in a breach of information related to rider and driver accounts.

"For riders, this information included the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers related to accounts globally.

"Our outside forensics experts have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or dates of birth were downloaded. In the United Kingdom this involved approximately 2.7m riders and drivers.

"This is an approximation rather than an accurate and definitive count because sometimes the information we get through the app or our website that we use to assign a country code is not the same as the country where a person actually lives.

"When this happened, we took immediate steps to secure the data, shut down further unauthorised access, and strengthen our data security."

BreakingUber cyber breach hits 2.7m UK riders and drivers

Uber has revealed how many UK users were affected by 2016 data breach that the company only revealed this month.

It says 2.7 million users and drivers were affected by the breach of data but the taxi app says it does not believe they need to take any action.

Imperial Brands shares slide

Cigarette
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 is now trading 42.34 points, or 0.57%, lower at 7,418.31.

Cigarette maker Imperial Brands is leading the fallers - down 2.68% at £30.53 - following the collapse of the UK's biggest tobacco distributor Palmer & Harvey.

Imperial Brands said on Tuesday that Palmer & Harvey's decision to file for administration would hit its operating profits by £160m.

B&Q-owner Kingfisher tops the risers, up 4.4% at 337.50p.

The FTSE 250 is ahead 65.98 points at 20,092.17.

Stagecoach is rallying on the government's plans to revamp the UK's rail industry. Its share price is up 10.8% to 177.25p.

Conversely, Cineworld's share price slumped 15.91% to 584p after it confirmed it is in talks to buy US cinema chain Regal for £2.7bn.

Brexit 'could lead to significant loss of tax revenue'

John McFarlane
Getty Images

Barclays chairman John McFarlane is giving evidence to the Lords financial affairs sub-committee, which is looking at how Brexit could affect financial regulations.

Earlier, Mr McFarlane told the committee that depending on the shape of the deal, the loss of banks's rights to offer services in the EU could lead to a "very significant loss of tax revenue".

The effect of Brexit on Barclay's jobs is not likely to be large - in the order of hundreds of roles - but there will be "more pull" on jobs than the bank would like to see.

A more significant effect, depending on the deal, is the possibility of having to renegotiate hundreds of thousands of contracts.

He added Brexit was happening when the bank was having to deal with factors such as the rise of mobile banking and cyber security issues.

Euro notes and coins on a restaurant table, paying a bill.

Chris Morris

Reality Check correspondent, BBC News

The UK and the EU may have agreed how to calculate the Brexit bill - but its precise value is still to be hammered out.

Read more

Loan sharks 'hang around the school gates'

Loan shark
Getty Images

Loan sharks have stood at school gates handing out cards to children as they leave, suggesting mums call them if they need new trainers.

Illegal money lenders have also stationed themselves outside food banks, in casinos, or outside post offices to wait for pensioners.

The reports come in a new review by the Financial Conduct Authority aiming to shed light on criminals' activities.

Read the full story here.

Solitaires sparkle for Tiffany

Tiffany
Getty Images

Sales at Tiffany rose by 3% to $976m in the third quarter, driven by demand for fashion jewelry as well as "high, fine and solitaire" pieces.

Net income also grew, up 5% to $100m.

The retailer said that demand was strong in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in China.

However, revenue declined in the UK based on strong comparisons to the third quarter last year "following the weakening of the British pound".

Tiffany's new chief executive Alessandro Bogliolo, said: "These latest financial results marginally exceeded our expectations, but I believe that Tiffany has the medium to long-term potential to achieve meaningful comparable store sales growth and drive higher operating margins and earnings growth."

Lloyds discussed HBOS deal with Gordon Brown

Former Lloyds chairman Sir Victor Blank is in the High Court today.

He is giving evidence in a case brought by nearly 6,000 shareholders in Lloyds, who say the lender and its directors did not reveal the poor state of HBOS's finances when Lloyds bought the bank in 2008.

The BBC's Andrew Verity is reporting from court:

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BreakingNBC fires star anchor

Matt Lauer
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The US network NBC has fired one of its star anchors, Today Show presenter Matt Lauer, for inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

FT media editor Matthew Garrahan tweets:

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Barclays chairman: Bigger problems than Brexit

BBC business editor Simon Jack tweets:

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