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Summary

  1. Bitcoin trades above $17,200
  2. UK inflation edges higher to 3.1%
  3. Brent crude falls 1.6%
  4. Westfield in $25bn takeover
  5. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night!

BBC testcard
BBC

That's it for Tuesday on Business Live. We'll be back bright and early at 06:00 tomorrow.

Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis from the business world.

Bitcoin falls back

Bitcoin
Getty Images

After looking set to break through the $17,500 level, Bitcoin has fallen back slightly to be just over $17,200 according to Coindesk.

"It's remarkable how back in November $10,000 seemed like a psychological end-of-year target," says Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.

"With the current gravity-defying bullish momentum, it may be no surprise if bitcoin concludes 2017 on $20,000."

New highs for Wall Street

NYSE
Getty Images

The Dow and S&P 500 pushed to fresh records Tuesday, with financial stocks especially strong amid progress in Congress on the tax cut plan and expectations for higher interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 0.5% - its third consecutive record finish.

The broader S&P 500 added 0.2% - also a third straight record - but the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.2%.

Glencore on target

Glencore has updated investors on its targets as analysts backed the mining giant to capitalise on the growing demand for electric cars.

The FTSE 100 firm expects profits of about $2.8bn (£2.1bn) at its commodities trading arm for 2017, with chief executive Ivan Glasenberg saying Glencore was confident in its ability to create "superior returns" for investors.

Michael Hewson, CMC Markets chief market analyst, branded Glencore's turnaround as extraordinary.

"Glencore's position as a commodity trader is also likely to reap benefits from the recovery in prices particularly where demand for metals like cobalt is concerned which is a key component in lithium batteries, along with nickel and zinc which have outperformed this year," he said.

Analysts are expecting demand for lithium to rise as it is crucial to the production of electric cars.

Funding woes

Broken piggy bank
BBC

Only 41% of small businesses have been able to find adequate funding to invest and boost their productivity, according to research by merchant banking group Close Brothers.

Of those that did get funding - whether from banks, personal loans or specialist lenders – a third felt it was not enough for their investment plans. A further 24% felt that the type of funding they had used was too expensive.

“Low productivity is dragging on economic growth in the UK and improving productivity is vital, particularly as the UK prepares to leave the EU," said Adrian Sainsbury, managing director of Close Brothers.

"Given their importance to the economy, small businesses should be central to any productivity gains the country makes."

Mark Hamill tells us why he said yes

The UK premiere for Start Wars: The Last Jedi is currently going on in the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Mark Hamill tells BBC Radio 5 Live why he couldn't say no to reprising his role as Luke Skywalker.

View more on twitter

How much space will £100 of rent buy you?

Bradford residential area
Getty Images

Spending £100 a month on rent in London secures floor space equivalent to a small garden shed, compared with nearly five times that in parts of northern England, new research shows.

Data released to BBC News shows cheaper properties to rent in the capital "simply don't exist", letting agents said.

Agents said people were compromising on where they live to make ends meet.

Read more here.

Deliveroo and UberEats restaurant clients face new rules

A Deliveroo driver in London
Getty Images

Westminster City Council is to force restaurants to seek planning permission if they heavily use food delivery apps.

Businesses will face formal enforcement if their deliveries reach too high a volume and disturb local residents.

Local cabinet member Daniel Astaire said the services will lead to "traffic chaos" in London if left unchecked.

The council recently ordered a Nando's outlet to stop deliveries through the apps after it received more than 25 complaints about noise and congestion.

Canada to buy Australia's used fighter jets

A Royal Australian Air Force F-18 Hornet
Getty Images

Canada says it will buy used Australian fighter jets as a stop gap to replace aging military aeroplanes, while it consults with aircraft manufacturers before launching a formal bid for 88 new jets in 2019.

US manufacturer Boeing had a deal with the Canadian government to provide 18 Super Hornets, but the deal fell through when Boeing filed a trade complaint against Canadian firm Bombardier in order to try to keep Bombardier's C Series aeroplanes out of the US market.

The move resulted in massive customs being levied on Bombardier jets.

Boeing will be disqualified from bidding, and the successful firm must agree to a special clause promising to cause Canada "no economic harm".

Women 'struggling' owing to pension age change

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Waspi campaigners in Cornwall
BBC

Women who are receiving their state pension later than they expected have been forced to cut back financially, rely on their husbands or sell their homes, a campaigner says.

Sarah Pennells, founder of the SavvyWoman website, surveyed women born between April 1950 and October 1954 who are affected by the gradual change in the state pension age from 60 to 66.

The findings, she says, show that a quarter had to keep working longer than they had expected to, although the government argues that they were kept informed. A fifth had to dip into savings, the survey also suggested.

You can read a summary of the so-called Waspi campaign here.

Uber rival Lyft starts Toronto operations

US ride-hailing firm Lyft has launched a service in Toronto in an expansion of its battle with larger rival Uber.

Lyft markets itself as a cuddlier version of Uber, which is facing investigations by governments around the world, including in Canada, over its cover up of a massive 2016 data breach.

Bitcoin hits record $17,300

Bitcoin logo
Getty Images

Crypto-currency Bitcoin has hit a record high of $17,300 on the Bitstamp platform.

The decentralised currency has spiked since Chicago-based derivatives exchange Cboe Global Markets launched Bitcoin futures late on Sunday.

This was the first time investors could get exposure to the bitcoin market via a large, regulated exchange.

Rail passengers 'misled' over festive tickets

Liverpool Street station
Getty Images

Rail firms have been "misleading" customers by selling tickets for services over Christmas despite knowing they will not run, a watchdog says.

Other customers were not told their trips would be disrupted by engineering works, Transport Focus added.

Six rail companies also failed to release advanced purchase tickets for the festive period 12 weeks ahead.

Read more here.

Pepsi reserves 100 Tesla electric trucks

Tesla electric truck
Tesla

Soft drink manufacturer Pepsi has reserved 100 of Tesla's electric trucks - the biggest public pre-order to date.

Tesla's shares were up 2.4% to $336.88 on the news.

Pepsi joins the ranks of Walmart, JB Hunt and food service distribution firm Sysco, which have made much smaller orders in single digits to test the technology out.

Toni & Guy founder dies aged 75

Giuseppe Toni Mascolo
BBC

Giuseppe Toni Mascolo, co-founder and chief executive of hairdressing salon chain Toni & Guy, has died aged 75.

Mr Mascolo died on Sunday, surrounded by his family.

The Italian-born hairdresser established the first of the famous salons in Clapham, south London, in 1963 with brother Gaetano, known as Guy.

The company went on to achieve global success and Mr Mascolo credited it with influencing scores of celebrity trends.

Ryanair pilots to strike before Christmas

Ryanair
Getty Images

Ryanair passengers face disruption to their Christmas travel plans after pilots and crew announced industrial action in a bid to win union recognition and better conditions.

In Ireland, 79 pilots based in Dublin will strike for one day on 20 December.

The airline, which does not recognise unions, said they represented about 28% of its Dublin-based captains.

Ryanair pilots and cabin crew in Germany, Italy and Portugal also plan action.

UK shares rise to highest in a month

London Stock Exchange
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UK shares have risen to their highest in a month.

The FTSE 100 has closed slightly ahead, up 0.6% or 46.9 points at 7500.41, boosted by rising oil prices and the retreating pound, despite inflation rising to its highest in six years.

The index was led by credit reporting firm Experian, up 2.5% to £16.04 after its stock was upgraded by Exane BNP Paribas to "outperform".

The biggest loser was Morrison Supermarkets, down 4.47% to trade at 211.5p on news that it lost further market share in the 12 weeks to 3 December, thanks to competition from discount supermarket retailers.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 ended slightly ahead, up 0.04% to 20073.02.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals led the winners, up 4.4% to £10.73, while the top loser was Polymetal International, down 3.5% to 837p.

Saudi Arabia to raise energy prices

Riyadh
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Saudi Arabia's cabinet has decided to hike electricity and fuel charges in a bid to counter lower oil prices on the world market, according to state news agency SPA.

To compensate citizens for the hike, in a first the Saudi government approved compensation for about 3.7 million families, which covers 13 million of the country's 20 million population.

Expatriates working and living in the kingdom have been excluded from the cash transfer programme, which is to begin next week.

Fears grow across the Atlantic over Brexit fallout

Kamal Ahmed

Economics editor

UK and US flags
Getty Images

Nearly all the possible trading relationships between Britain and the European Union following Brexit would be less favourable than staying in the European Union, according to an influential US think tank.

The Rand Corporation study said the worst option would be a "no deal".

That would leave the UK economy 4.9% poorer by 2029.

"No deal" would also have a negative effect on the EU economy, but it would be "relatively minor".

Read more here.

Big Issue offshoot fighting against unfair lending

Big Issue seller
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The social investment arm of The Big Issue has given £1m to ethical lender Fair For You, which is seeking to change the way money is loaned to low income families.

Instead of unfair high-interest loans, the idea is to give low income families access to affordable credit through flexible repayment plans.

"We believe that having to purchase a fridge, cooker, cot or bunk beds on credit should not mean you pay several times what other people do just because they can pay outright," said Fair For You's chief executive Angela Clements.

German protest over Nazi toy soldiers on Amazon

Toy Nazi soldiers by CustomBricks
Screenshot

A German father is campaigning online to stop Lego-style toy Nazi soldiers being sold on Amazon.

Manuel Hegel's petition says the toys "represent officers, soldiers etc of the Waffen-SS and thereby trivialise National Socialism".

The toys are sold by a German firm, CustomBricks, and Lego says they do not comply with Lego's own values.

Read more here.

How is inflation affecting Britain's bakers?

Bakery owner John Foster explains how the rising price of the ingredients he imports is affecting his business.

How inflation is hitting Britain's bakers

EU approves EasyJet buyout of Air Berlin

Air Berlin and EasyJet plane tails
Getty Images

The EU has approved UK budget carrier EasyJet's purchase of bankrupt carrier Air Berlin's operations at the German capital's Tegel Airport.

"EasyJet's plans to buy certain Air Berlin assets will not reduce competition and we have approved it today," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

"Our decision enables easyJet to grow its presence at Berlin airports and start competing on new routes to the benefit of consumers."

Facebook in major tax overhaul

Facebook is to overhaul its tax structure so that it pays tax in the country where profits are earned, instead of using an Irish subsidiary.

The online advertising giant is to make the change in every country outside the US where it has an office.

View more on twitter

Forties pipeline 'will be shut down for weeks'

Forties pipeline crack-mending site
Ineos

One of the UK's most important oil pipelines is still expected to be shut down for "weeks rather than days", as first images of the repair site were released.

The Forties pipeline carries crude North Sea oil across land for processing at Grangemouth.

The crack was discovered last week at near Netherley in Aberdeenshire and a 300m safety cordon is in place.

Pipeline owner Ineos apologised to "our customers and communities".

Read more here.

Wall Street mixed on open

Wall Street at Christmas
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US shares had a mixed open on Tuesday, on the expectation that the US central bank is likely to raise interest rates despite the absence of inflation.

The Dow Jones is up 0.35% or 84.3 points to 24,470.32, led by aeroplane manufacturer Boeing, which is up 1.8% at $288.16, after lifting its dividend by 20% and replacing its existing share buyback program with a new $18bn authorisation late on Monday.

The S&P 500 is up 0.07% or 1.9 points to 2,661.85, led by US private hospital operator Tenet Healthcare, which is up 6.8% to $14.68.

And the tech-heavy Nasdaq has fallen 0.1% or 6.6 points to 6,868.50.

The biggest loser is agriculture science technology firm Yield10 Bioscience, down 16.6% to $4.461, after rising an epic 200% on Monday on news that it secured a research licence from the Monsanto Copmpany.

Drivers begin Royal Mail legal action

Royal Mail postal vans
PA

Four courier drivers at Royal Mail have filed legal action against the company over employment rights, the law firm representing the workers says.

The claims, launched in the Employment Tribunal by the GMB union, alleges a "failure by Royal Mail to pay the Parcelforce drivers the national minimum wage and holiday pay," solicitors Leigh Day said.

The drivers also claim Royal Mail should give them "paternity pay, sick pay and employee protections such as protection from discrimination", the law firm added.

A first hearing will be held at the Employment Tribunal in February.

Royal Mail said it was aware of the case but would not comment on an ongoing legal case.

Multiyork Furniture announces redundancies

Multiyork Furniture
Multiyork Furniture

Furniture retailer Multiyork has announced the loss of 112 jobs at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Thetford.

Administrators Duff & Phelps said that they have so far not been able to find a buyer for the business. The retailer went into administration on 22 November, but will continue to trade until after the Christmas season.

“We will continue efforts to sell all – or parts of – the business; but during this period of managed wind down, the process of selling in-store display items and other business assets will begin. We will also continue to fulfil customer orders,” said Allan Graham, joint administrator of Duff & Phelps.

Good Afternoon

Man looking at smartphone on the tube
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Thanks to Ben and Russell for this morning's live coverage of all things business.

Mary-Ann Russon with you until 21:30 for the rest of the day's news and views.

Got a point of view? Tweet me at @concertina226 and @BBCBusiness

Supermarkets hold back FTSE 100

Supermarkets Sainsbury and Morrison have extended their losses after data by market researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed both lagged behind Tesco in sales growth.

Sainsbury was down almost 5% while Morrison was close to 4% lower. Tesco shares were flat.

The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,468 points, led by British Gas-owner Centrica, up 2.4%.

Tech firms 'liable' for hateful content

Mobile phone in a person's hand
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Google, Facebook and Twitter should be held liable for illegal and dangerous content on their platforms, an ethics body has said.

The BBC understands that the Committee on Standards in Public Life will urge the government to introduce new laws on extremist and abusive content.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said companies need to remove extremist content quickly or face fines.

One free speech advocate said it could turn Facebook into a "national censor".

You can read more here.

The year ahead

Joseph Stiglitz
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It's the time of year when forecasts are made about next year.

So, what does Prof Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel winner and economics guru at Colombia University, think is the biggest global risk for 2018.

"Trump," he tells Bloomberg. "The level of irraticism is concerning."

And on Bitcoin, he thinks that surging demand for the digital currency will mean governments having to enforce regulations and transparency."When that happens, Bitcoin will disappear."

LSE row rumbles on

Xavier Rolet (left) and Donald Brydon
Getty Images

A boardroom battle at the London Stock Exchange may have taken another twist, according to the Press Association.

The news agency says LSE chairman Donald Brydon (right) has won support from a major shareholder, the Qatar Investment Authority.

Mr Brydon was accused by another LSE shareholder, TCI, of forcing out chief executive Xavier Rolet (left).

The row meant that the chairman's future was also in doubt, with the LSE due to hold a shareholder meeting about the issue on 19 December.

But PA says the QIA, the LSE's second largest shareholder with 10%, wants Mr Brydon to stay on - for the time being, at least.

German pilots set to join Ryanair action

Ryanair aircraft
AFP

Possible strike action at Ryanair intensified Tuesday, with German pilots the latest to plan walkouts over conditions, following similar moves by staff based around Europe.

Germany's powerful pilots' union said members would strike at Ryanair for better pay and conditions, although they insisted they would not disrupt flights over the Christmas holiday.

Pilots "announce a strike at Ryanair", the Cockpit union posted on Twitter. They aim "to force the start of talks to create employment and pay conditions for Ryanair pilots in line with the market", the union said.

The Irish airline, which is cancelling thousands of flights because of pilot shortages, said it had not been notified of any action by its German pilots.

Unions claim Ryanair does not offer pilots pay and conditions up to standards elsewhere in the aviation industry.

Italian pilots for the carrier have already set dates for strike action, while Irish and Portuguese staff have announced unspecified industrial action.

Ryanair said last week that it would "ignore" the Italian pilots' move, saying its staff rarely heeded calls to walk out.

Markets: Energy shares up; Supermarkets lag

Energy firms are giving the FTSE 100 a lift.

Centrica is up 2.8%, BP and Royal Dutch Shell are up 1.2%.

Those shares have been boosted by the rising price of oil and natural gas.

North Sea Brent Crude is up almost a dollar $65.65 per barrel, adding to Monday's gain.

Brent Crude has been rising since it emerged that a key North Sea oil pipeline has been closed for repairs.

Morrison Supermarkets and Sainsbury are the two biggest losers on the FTSE 100.

That follows a report by Kantar Worldpanel which indicated that their sales growth had fallen behind Tesco.

Current account comparisons a step closer

Kevin Peachey

Personal finance reporter

Bank statement
BBC

Every year, only 3% of personal customers move banks, according to the UK's competition authority.

Those current account customers who stay loyal risk getting a rotten deal on overdrafts and the like.

The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, now says banks must provide evidence of the quality of service - such as the frequency of security incidents - by August next year, to allow people to compare account providers.

By the following February, banks will also have to reveal the time taken to open an account or to replace a lost or stolen card.

Separately, a new system called Open Banking is designed to make competition more intense, but it does have its critics. Here is an explanation.

Capita gives the MoD recruiting headache - report

Eurofighter cabin
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"Disastrous" is how the technology website Register describes Capita's IT project for the Ministry of Defence which is designed to handle the recruiting progress.

The report says that the system is so "bug ridden" that the Royal Air Force had to stop taking on new recruits except for those in priority roles.

The navy and army also experienced problems according to the report.

The MoD said the new system is "bedding in".

Tis the season to buy knitwear...

George MacDonald is executive editor of Retail Week.

View more on twitter

Cineworld shareholders nervous about Regal deal

Cinema audience
Getty Images

Last week Cineworld agreed to buy US cinema chain Regal in a deal worth $3.6bn.

It seems some investors are not sure it is a wise move.

Richard Marwood a fund manager at Royal London Asset Management, which is Cineworld's fourth biggest shareholder told Reuters that he was "taken aback" by the move into the US and the "sheer scale" of the deal.

If completed, the takeover would make Cineworld the second biggest cinema chain in the world.

Carney in Paris for climate change meeting

Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney
Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting world leaders for talks two years since the Paris agreement.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is there. Why?

He points out that the Bank of England is the regulator of the insurance industry including the Lloyds insurance market, which is very much exposed to climate change.

He also says that financial services companies, like fund managers, need information and guidelines to help them express exposure to climate change.

That is something that the Bank of England can help with, he says.