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Summary

  1. Wall Street ends lower
  2. Miners drag down FTSE 100
  3. UK car sales down sharply in November
  4. Cineworld to buy US cinema chain Regal
  5. UK rail fares to rise by 3.4% in 2018
  6. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

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BBC

That's it for this evening. Thanks for reading and do join us again tomorrow from 06:00.

Time for regional stock markets?

We leave you tonight with this thought from Business Live reader Greg Hart of Inverness.

He thinks there should be stock exchanges in Glasgow or Edinburgh, as well as England's big cities:

New York falls

Wall Street ended lower as a technology rebound lost steam and Walt Disney Co dipped, while investors assessed how a Republican tax overhaul would impact corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.45% to 24,180 points, the S&P 500 was down 0.4% to 2,629.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.2% to 6,762.

The S&P fell for a third straight session - a losing streak not seen since early August.

BreakingBoss of Poundland owner resigns

Poundland sign
Getty Images

Steinhoff International, the company that owns retail chains Poundland, Harveys and Bensons for Beds in the UK, has "accepted the resignation" of chief executive Markus Jooste following an investigation into accounting irregularities.

Chairman Christo Wiese has been appointed executive chairman on an interim basis.

"Shareholders and other investors in Steinhoff are advised to exercise caution when dealing in securities of the group," the Frankfurt-listed company warned tonight.

PWC has been asked to carry out an independent investigation.

One for the football geeks...

Disney 'leads Fox race'

Fox logo
Reuters

Disney is the frontrunner to buy most of Twenty-First Century Fox, although NBC owner Comcast remains in contention, Reuters reports.

The Murdoch family, which controls Fox, prefers a deal with Disney because it would rather be paid in Disney shares than Comcast, according to people familiar with the matter. They also expect a potential deal with Disney to be cleared by US regulators more easily, one source told Reuters.

However, no deal between Disney and Fox is imminent and several issues have yet to be fully negotiated, the sources added.

Fox and Comcast declined to comment, while Disney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

BrightHouse responds to 'media storm'

BrightHouse
BrightHouse

The chief executive of controversial rent-to-buy retailer BrightHouse has spoken at length for the first time about the "blistering" media coverage it's received in recent months.

The company was told to repay £15m to customers in October after financial regulators found it had not acted as a "responsible lender".

Weeks later it was caught up in another storm when it was revealed that the Queen held a small stake in the company.

"This time the media coverage was blistering and we were in the eye of the perfect storm," BrightHouse boss Hamish Paton writes in Retail Week.

Mr Paton goes on to say: "Yes, it’s possible to buy a washing machine or a television for less if you have access to the cash. But our customers can’t because they don’t."

He concedes the firm "haven’t always got it right", but says its customers are "very thankful BrightHouse is there" for helping them afford the things they need.

What makes a tax haven?

'Worst is over for Snapchat'

Snapchat app
EPA

Snapchat owner Snap is still topping the leaderboard on Wall Street, rising nearly 10% to $14.92 a share - after a Barclays analyst suggested the company's future looks a lot brighter next year.

Snap shares are down 40% this year, after facing rising competition from Facebook and investor scrutiny over its struggles to turn a profit.

But Barclays analyst Ross Sandler says that instead of the narrative being that "Facebook is killing Snap", people will start realising that FB-Snap can co-exist like rivals.

"In short, we think the worst is behind Snap and the company is likely to get back on track in 2018," he says.

James Murdoch to lead Disney?

Lachlan, Rupert and James Murdoch
Getty Images

This would be an interesting outcome if Disney ends up buying most of 21st Century Fox from Rupert Murdoch.

The Financial Times is reporting that his younger son, James Murdoch (pictured, right), is likely to take a senior executive role at Disney if it completes a takeover of Fox's movie studio, cable channels, international units.

James Murdoch is chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky.

He has been suggested as a potential successor to Bob Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney, in deal discussions over the sale of Fox's entertainment assets, the FT said, citing unnamed people briefed on the talks.

CryptoKitties anyone?

CryptoKitties
www.crpyotkitties.co

Sticking with crypto-currencies, the BBC tech team is reporting on the unexpected fallout from a new craze for virtual kittens.

CryptoKitties lets players buy and breed "crypto-pets" by using Ethereum, one of the largest crypto-currencies.

The popularity of the critters has seen pending transactions in Ethereum increase sixfold - but it's also slowing down trade in the digital currency as it struggles to cope.

Answers on a postcard

Check the grey list too

Bermuda
Getty Images

As reported earlier, the European Union has published its first blacklist of tax havens, naming 17 territories including South Korea, Barbados and Bahrain.

But it's also released a further "grey" list of 47 countries, which have been given to the end of next year to reform their tax systems.

That second list features the Cayman Islands, Vanuatu, Guernsey, Jersey, Bermuda (pictured) and the Isle of Man - the last two featuring prominently in last month's Paradise Papers leak.

Oli Pearce, Oxfam's inequality and tax policy advisor, said: "A place on the grey list must not mean tax havens get off scot-free."

Snap!

Snapchat logo
Getty Images

Technology stocks are the main winners on Wall Street as we head into the final couple of hours of trading.

The S&P tech index is up about 0.7% led by gains in Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook.

Shares in the three firms are each about 1% higher after a sell-off in tech stocks over the last two days.

Snapchat is also riding high - gaining nearly 10% after analysts at Barclays predicted the messaging app would beat expectations next year.

Brexit deal 'a big shock'

Arlene Foster
BBC

The leader of Northern Ireland's DUP has lifted the lid on what happened yesterday to scupper chances of the UK and EU moving onto the next round of Brexit talks.

Arlene Foster said the deal the UK government was set to agree with the European Union came as "a big shock" to the party.

Talks in Brussels were blown off course because the DUP, which props up Theresa May's government, rejected a proposal about the future of the Irish border.

Mrs Foster said the DUP saw the text of the deal on Monday morning, despite asking to see it for five weeks. "Once we saw the text, we knew it was not going to be acceptable," she told Republic of Ireland national broadcaster RTÉ.

Panama rejects EU blacklist

Mossack Fonseca
Getty Images

That didn't take long. Panama has reacted angrily to its inclusion on a new European Union blacklist of tax havens.

"I reject the arbitrary and discriminatory inclusion of Panama on the European Union tax haven lists," Economy and Finance Minister Dulcidio De La Guardia said on Twitter.

EU finance ministers earlier named 17 countries which are deemed "non-cooperative tax jurisdictions" - which included Panama, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

The huge leak last year of financial documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca - dubbed the "Panama papers" - put the island's tax laws under intense scrutiny.

View more on twitter

How much is the UK worth?

Fireworks around Big Ben
Getty Images

You might not have noticed, but the UK has become more valuable. That's according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

The total net worth of the UK economy at the end of 2016 is estimated at £9.8 trillion, an increase of £803bn from 2015 and the largest annual rise on record, the ONS said.

Land is the most valuable asset in the UK, accounting for just over half of the total net worth.

The value of land has grown rapidly from 1995, increasing by 412% compared with an average increase of 211% in the assets which sit on the land.

Mueller paves way for possible showdown

Anthony Zurcher

BBC North America reporter

Donald Trump
Getty Images

Deutsche Bank was a lifeline for the Trump Organisation's businesses in the early 2000s, when US lenders turned their backs on the then-struggling business tycoon.

How closely did Mr Trump and his associates follow the letter of the law at a time before he was a serious political candidate?

The president's defenders will argue that his past business dealings are not relevant to the special counsel inquiry, tasked with probing possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

A high-stakes showdown over whether Mr Mueller is exceeding his mandate could be brewing.

Trump probe 'demands Deutsche Bank data'

Deutsche Bank offices
Reuters

As we reported earlier, US special counsel Robert Mueller is said to have asked Deutsche Bank to provide records of accounts held by Donald Trump.

We now have a piece on the BBC website with the full details of this story. The subpoena on Deutsche is part of Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian influence in the US presidential election

The German bank, which is one of the Trump Organisation's major lenders on its real estate projects, has said it will not comment on any of its clients.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Deutsche added that it "always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries".

Swish swish

Katy Perry
AFP

Katy Perry and the Catholic Church have been awarded almost $10m (£7.5m) in damages after the star's plans to buy a former LA convent ended up in court.

Perry agreed to purchase the hilltop property for $14.5m (£10.8m) in 2015.

But two of the nuns who used to live there objected, and instead sold it to restaurateur Dana Hollister without the approval of the archdiocese.

Last month, a jury found Hollister intentionally interfered with Perry's planned purchase.

Scores on the doors

London financial trader
Getty Images

Tesco finished top of leaderboard on the UK's FTSE 100 share index, rising 3% to 201 pence.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said there were signs that supermarkets' wafer-thin profit margins were improving; and that Tesco was taking market share.

Sainsbury's rose 2.8% to 239 pence and Morrisons finished 2.2% higher at 219 pence.

On the FTSE 250 index, the biggest faller was door-to-door lender Provident Financial after it revealed UK financial regulators are investigating its Moneybarn car finance unit.

Provident's shares finished 10% lower, having fallen almost 70 percent since June amid profit warnings and the resignation of its chief executive.

FTSE loses steam

Copper smelter
Glencore

The UK's 100 share index has finished lower after losing momentum in afternoon trading.

It's dropped by 11 points, or 0.2%, to 7,327.50.

Mining stocks provided the biggest drag, with Glencore and Anglo American falling by more than 2%.

They were hurt by drops in metal prices, as copper and nickel hit their lowest levels in two months.

Vauxhall skids

Vauxhall car
PA

The UK car industry is on course for its first annual decline since 2011 - with new car sales down 5% in the year so far, according to industry figures out earlier.

The worst hit of the big manufacturers is Vauxhall, which has suffered a 22% decline in new car registrations over the period, the SMMT data indicates.

A sign of the problems facing Vauxhall came in October when it announced 400 job cuts at its Ellesmere Port car plant due to falling sales.

Peugeot and Citroen, which are part of the PSA group that bought Vauxhall this year, have seen new car sales fall 16% and 18% respectively.

Ford - which still has two of the best-selling cars in the Fiesta and Focus - has seen a 9% drop.

Powell powers on

Jerome Powell
EPA

Jerome Powell, who is Donald Trump's pick to take over as head of the US central bank, has taken a step closer to the most powerful job in economics.

The US Senate Banking Committee voted 22-1 to approve his nomination as Federal Reserve chair. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

The lawyer and multi-millionaire investment banker has served on the Fed's Board of Governors since 2012.

Japan Airlines goes Boom

Chris Johnston

Business reporter, BBC News

Boom plane
Boom

Japan Airlines has invested £10m in Boom, the US firm that wants to build a supersonic passenger jet.

The Denver-based start-up, which has been backed by the likes of Sir Richard Branson, is in the process of developing the world's first commercially viable supersonic aircraft.

The deal with JAL will help Boom refine the aircraft's design and give it the option to buy up to 20 Boom planes.

Boom aims to be carrying passengers on its planes by the beginning of the next decade, halving flight times in the process.

A flight from San Francisco to Tokyo that takes 11 hours today could take less than five and a half on one of its aircraft flying at Mach 2.2.

Here's Boom boss Blake Scholl speaking to the BBC at the Paris air show in June:

Building a supersonic successor to Concorde

Scottish car sales stall

Douglas Fraser

Scotland business & economy editor

EU names and shames 17 countries

Barbados beach
Getty Images
Barbados was one of 17 countries blacklisted by the EU

European Union finance ministers have adopted a list of 17 countries deemed as tax havens.

The EU's tax commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, called it a "first step" for tackling tax evasion - although the ministers did not agree on financial levies for the listed countries.

Here is the list:

View more on twitter

'I can't believe there'll be no deal'

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

Andreas Dombret
Getty Images

"After all those Irish border skirmishes, here's some better news on Brexit.

"The Bundesbank - the German equivalent of the Bank of England - is optimistic that a free trade agreement between the UK and the European Union can be achieved.

"Indeed, one of their most senior executives, Andreas Dombret (pictured), told the BBC he 'cannot believe' there will be no deal - although it wasn't a 'zero possibility'."

Read more from Kamal here.

Tech stocks rebound

US trader
Reuters

Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and other major US technology shares are among the winners at the start of trading on Wall Street - with all three firms rising by more than 1%.

Their gains are pushing the tech-heavy Nasdaq index higher - rising 0.6% to 6,816 - after the sector took a hit on Monday.

Investors had sold off tech stocks to invest in banks and other firms expected to gain more from Donald Trump's planned corporate tax cuts.

The other US indexes are largely flat in early trading. The Dow Jones is down 0.02% at 24,284 points and the S&P 500 is up 0.01% at 2,640.

Why Irish border remains a sticking point

Car cross Irish border
Alamy

BBC Reality Check explains the knotty issue of cross-border trade, security checks and regulations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Over the summer, Brexit negotiators identified more than 140 areas of "north-south co-operation" that would be affected by Brexit in one way or another.

In a nutshell, if Northern Ireland, along with the rest of the UK, starts changing its regulations after Brexit, then problems start to arise.

Read more here.

First fall in November car sales since 2011

As we reported earlier, the latest figures on new car sales make for grim reading for the industry.

New car registrations dropped 11% in November, the eighth month of decline this year - with diesels down a whopping 30%.

View more on twitter

UK pension 'lags rest of the world'

Older couple walking a dog
Getty Images

The UK's state pension is one of the least generous among the most advanced economies in the world, according to a new report.

The average pensioner can expect to receive just 29% of what they earned at work, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says.

Only Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia are less generous.

However, once "voluntary" pensions - such as auto enrolment or workplace pensions - are taken into account, the UK fares better in comparison.

Read more here.

Good afternoon

Dan Macadam

BBC business reporter

Shopping trolley
Getty Images

Thanks Ben and Dearbail for taking us through the morning. I'm here for the afternoon, bringing you the latest news from the markets and the world of business.

It's a supermarket sweep on the FTSE 100 - with investors grabbing shares in Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons after analysts suggested their profit margins will improve.

The pound has pared its losses slightly against the dollar and euro and is now back above $1.34 and €1.13 respectively.

Do get in touch if the mood takes you. I'm on bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk.

Give Trump a chance, says Ma

Jack Ma
Getty Images

Jack Ma, the billionaire chairman of Chinese internet giant Alibaba, says that Americans need to give US President Donald Trump a chance because he hasn't been in the White House for that long.

He told CNBC: "You may not agree with him." But he said: "You can never achieve something within one year."

He said: "At least he's trying."

Oil prices head lower

Russian oil rig
Getty Images

Oil prices are down after a brief rise in early trading.

Brent crude is off 0.4% at $62.23 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate is down 0.6% at $57.10.

Some analysts said that investors were profit taking after Opec members and other oil producing nations led by Russia agreed at a meeting last week to limit supplies until the end of 2018.

Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, says: "Oil prices are continuing to crumble.

"We attribute the price slide to profit taking by speculative investors, who were holding almost record-high net long positions ahead of Opec's meeting."

When the chips are down...

Dialog Semiconductor
BBC

The chart above shows what happens to a firm's share price when its best customer decides it does not need them as much anymore.

Dialog Semiconductor, based in Reading, makes power management chips and counts Apple as one of its big clients.

But yesterday Dialog confirmed reports - which first surfaced last month - that Apple was going to start making one of those chips itself.

Dialog shares have fallen by nearly a half since that news emerged - although Dialog will still be providing 11 other types of chips for Apple.

However, that's made Dialog attractive to some buyers.

China's state-backed chip firm Tsinghua Unigroup has increased its stake in Dialog to 7.15% - helping to give Dialog's shares a lift today.

Ireland forced to collect Apple's back taxes

Apple logo
Getty Images

Ireland is to comply with a European Commission order to collect a disputed €13bn tax bill from the US firm Apple.

The money is now being paid into a blocked "escrow" account, while Ireland appeals the Commission's decision.

The Commission ruled last year that Ireland had given Apple illegal state aid by allowing it to pay an effective 1% corporation tax.

Read more here.

Mueller 'subpoenas Deutsche Bank' in Russia probe

Donald Trump
Getty Images

Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is heading an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US election, has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank to produce documents on its links with Donald Trump and his family, according to Bloomberg.

Mr Trump has a long-standing relationship with Germany's largest bank and owed the lender $300m for real estate deals that took place before he became president.

In a comment to Bloomberg, it said: "Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries.”

FTSE 100 drifts lower as miners fall

Rio Tinto truck
Rio Tinto

Some of the steam has gone out of the FTSE 100 this morning.

It's trading just 13 points higher at 7,349.

The big mining firms are weighing on the index. Glencore is down 2%, Anglo American is 1.3% lower and Rio Tinto is more than 1% lower.

Those shares have been hurt by falling prices for metals.

Supermarkets continue to be the big winners, after Goldman Sachs said that profit margins should start improving.