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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Sky/Fox deal 'not in public interest'
  3. Pound hits $1.40 in overnight trade
  4. Sainsbury's to reduce headcount
  5. Modi opens World Economic Forum 2018
  6. easyJet first quarter sales rise

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's it for tonight - thanks for reading.

We'll be back bright and early tomorrow form 06:00. Please do join us if you can.

Netflix and chill for US stocks

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes have finished at record highs (again), helped by a surge in shares for video streaming site Netflix.

Upbeat results last night from Netflix saw its shares jump 10% to take its market value past $100bn.

But the Dow Jones index of US stocks was hemmed in by declines for consumer goods giants Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble.

The Dow Jones fell 3.79 points, or 0.01%, to 26,210.81.

The S&P 500 gained 6.17 points, or 0.22% to 2,839.14 and the Nasdaq Composite added 52.26 points, or 0.71% to 7,460.29.

Sky deputy chairman stays postive

Simon Jack

BBC Business Editor

Sky sign
AFP

One of Sky's senior directors remained in positive mood tonight as he told the BBC that a regulator's preliminary decision to block Fox's takeover of Sky was not the end of the world.

Sir Martin Gilbert said he was confident the deal could still go through if the company were to offer further concessions to reassure the regulators that there was not too much concentration of power in the UK media.

Failing that, he said, there are two other options: spin off Sky News with a cash dowry to keep it going for five years; or shut it down.

Given that Sky News is loss making some investors may prefer that option - as having jettisoned a unit that loses an estimated £50m a year - it might allow Sky shareholders to ask for a higher price for their shares from Disney who are due to complete a takeover of Fox.

The markets seemed to agree that today's ruling was not a setback for Sky. Shares rose more than 2%.

Microsoft boss: 'World needs more computing power'

Satya Nadella, Microsoft boss
Getty Images

The world is rapidly "running out of computing capacity", the head of tech giant Microsoft has warned.

Satya Nadella said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that superfast quantum computers were needed to solve some of the most difficult problems.

Mr Nadella cited the quest to create a catalyst that can absorb carbon, in order to help tackle climate change.

This, he cautioned, would likely not be achieved without an increase in computer processing power.

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Disney latest to pass on tax savings to workers

Disney characters
Getty Images

Yet another US firm has promised to pass on savings from Donald Trump's tax reforms to workers.

Walt Disney said it would give 125,000 employees a $1,000 bonus, and put $50m into a new programme to help cover tuition fees for staff.

Earlier JP Morgan and Verizon made offers on the back of tax savings, and there have been similar moves from AT&T, Fiat Chrysler, Comcast, JetBlue and Walmart.

Shares in consumer goods giants slide

Ariel washing powder
P&G

Shares in consumer goods giants Johnson & Johnson and Proctor & Gamble are struggling.

J&J shares fell 4% after it reported a $13.6bn charge related to the new US tax law. A court ruling on a crucial patent on its popular arthritis drug Remicade also spooked investors.

Procter & Gamble, which owns brands like Oral B and Ariel, fell 3.4% after reporting a drop in its gross margins.

Both are weighing on the Dow Jones index, which is struggling to hold onto Monday's gains.

Tariff on solar panels 'will hurt US industry'

A solar panel
Getty Images

Donald Trump’s decision to place tariffs on imported solar panels will kill tens of thousands of jobs, raise the cost of going solar and quash billions of dollars of investment, the US Solar Energy Industries Association has warned.

On Tuesday Mr Trump put a 30% tariff on panels that will decline over four years.

Abigail Ross, president of the trade group, said: "It’s just basic economics - if you raise the price of a product it’s going to decrease demand for that product.”

SEIA expects 23,000 jobs in manufacturing and installation to be lost this year, with more losses in subsequent years. The US solar industry employs more than 260,000 workers.

Regulator warns on proposed ATM shake-up

Cash machines
Getty Images

The head of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has said that new proposals to shake-up Britain's ATM network have not been thought through.

Link, which manages the network, says there are too many cash machines in places where they are not needed. However, consumer groups have warned its proposals would lead to mass closures of free-to-use ATMs in remote areas.

PSR boss Hannah Nixon said of Link's proposals: "We expect them to continue to fill the gaps in the network and put more money on the table to do just that. If that is not what we see, we will intervene."

The PSR has powers to suspend changes, if need be, she added.

Nicky Morgan, head of the Treasury select committee said: "Any significant reduction in free access to cash would be an unacceptable outcome. We think a moratorium will be needed if those concerns do not disperse."

US stocks set fresh records

A US trader
Getty Images

Despite a relatively quiet trading session, all the major US share indexes chalked up fresh records on Tuesday.

A short while ago the Dow was up by just 0.01% at 26,217.48 and the S&P 500 had gained 0.3% to 2,840.26.

Upbeat earnings from Netflix also spurred gains for the technology sector, with the tech-rich Nasdaq rising 0.7% to 7,457.12.

So called FAANG stocks - Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet - gained between 0.7% and 2.2%, and Netflix itself rose by up to 11%.

Verizon promises stock giveaway after Trump tax cuts

Verizon Wireless logo
Getty Images

Verizon will give most of its employees 50 shares in its company following expected savings from Donald Trump's tax reforms.

The firm said tax cuts would boost its operating cash flow by $3.5bn to $4bn this year. The shares, which will be given to staff other than top management, will be priced on 1 February.

At their current price of around $53, the award would be worth about $2,650 per employee.

Sky-Fox deal talks 'makes Game of Thrones look like The Teletubbies'

BBC Radio 5 live

Sky News
Sky

That's how former managing editor of Sky News has described the complexity of the talks between Fox and Sky on a planned takeover deal.

It follows a ruling by the competition regulator today that Fox taking over Sky would not be in the public interest on grounds of media plurality. That raises questions over the future of Sky News. Last November Sky said it would consider selling off the news operation if it was hindering the deal.

But Lis Howell, who's now Director of Broadcasting at City University, told 5 live she's confident the future of Sky News is secure.

"It is so complicated...with all the interaction between the companies, particularly in the States."

She added: "I personally believe Sky News has always been protected by the Murdochs.

"Rupert Murdoch is extremely fond of Sky News and set it up as his own project."

Nations to sign TPP trade deal without US

Donald Trump
Getty Images

Eleven mainly Asia-Pacific nations have agreed to sign a major trade deal, despite the US having backed out of the pact.

Officials said a statement of agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership had been struck and it would be signed next month.

US President Donald Trump abandoned the TPP in January last year calling it a "job killer" and throwing the pact's future into doubt.

The deal covered 40% of the world economy before the US withdrawal. Countries now set to join include Japan, Australia and Canada.

Netflix shares outpace Goldman

After announcing a huge increase in subscribers last year, Netflix shares jumped as much as 11% today.

The video streaming platform is not only the best performing stock in the S&P 500 this year - its market cap is also now higher than investment bank Goldman Sachs'.

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Children 'need to play more to gain work skills'

BBC business reporter tweets...

FTSE 100 closes higher

The London Stock Exchange
Getty Images

London's blue-chip index has closed slightly higher thanks to rising oil prices and a strong performance by Easyjet.

The FTSE 100 gained 0.2% to 7,730.32 points.

Easyjet was the best performer, up 5%, after Ryanair's pilot shortage and the demise of competitor Monarch paved the way for a strong first quarter for the budget airline.

Sky also gained 2% after regulators ruled its takeover by Fox was not in the public interest.

Miners were among the worst performers, with BHP Billiton, Fresnillo and Anglo American all losing more than 2%.

'Optimism reminiscent of last financial crisis' - Barclays boss

Jes Staley, Barclays boss
GETTY IMAGES

The newfound optimism about the state of the global economy is eerily reminiscent of the lead-up to the last financial crisis, the head of Barclays has warned.

"I do feel like that it is a little bit like 2006," Jes Staley told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

"When we were all talking about whether we had solved the riddle of economic crises."

But he said big banks were now in a better position to deal with shocks.

Read more

P&G trying to stop teens 'chewing' its laundry soap

Tide detergent
Getty Images

Procter & Gamble says it is increasing efforts to counter a potentially fatal trend for teens ingesting its Tide detergent.

At least 10 deaths have been linked to the craze, in which young people film themselves chewing and even swallowing laundry detergent pods, then post the videos online.

The pods contain ethanol, polymers and hydrogen peroxide and are extremely toxic.

P&G said it was working with social media companies to remove the videos showing these activities, and has joined with other organisations to spread the word about the dangers.

Chief financial officer Jon Moeller said: "Our standards and protocols for safety are stringent, our labels and warnings are clear, but they can't prevent intentional abuse fueled by poor judgment and the desire for popularity among peers."

Pound passes $1.40

The pound has hit its highest level since the EU referendum, touching $1.4019 against the dollar.

Analysts credited the weak dollar which fell during this week's US government shutdown and is yet to recover.

Kleenex-maker to cut at least 5,000 jobs

Kleenex tissues
Getty Images

Kleenex-maker Kimberly-Clark has said it will close or sell 10 manufacturing plans and cut at least 5,000 jobs, about 12% of its workforce.

The move comes as the Texas company struggles to lift sales. In the fourth quarter of 2017, sales rose by just 1%.

Kimberly-Clark said the restructuring programme would streamline its supply chain, saving at least $500m by the end of 2021.

The savings are in addition to a plan to reduce costs by $1.5bn in that time.

Read more

Pound's strength 'may be short lived'

Pound coins and notes
Getty Images

Sterling is still hovering around the $1.40 mark ($1.39920) after briefly passing it on Monday night.

That level has not been seen since the EU referendum. But Trevor Greetham of Royal London Asset Management says it's more to do with the weakness of the dollar than progress in the Brexit negotiations.

“If the recent strength in sterling were linked to progress on Brexit, you’d envisage seeing UK interest rate expectations rising, relative to the US. In fact, the reverse has happened. The dollar has weakened despite a marked increase in US interest rate expectations relative to the UK and other countries.

“This creates the risk of a snap back in the dollar and a sudden drop in the pound, regardless of the state of the negotiations in Brussels.”

US stocks mixed in early trade

The NYSE
Getty Images

There was a mixed start for Wall Street on Tuesday, although stocks were still close to record highs.

A short while ago the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes were flat, while the tech heavy Nasdaq was up 0.5%.

Netflix shares were up by about 11% after the firm reported membership had surged past 117 million last year.

Twittter shares fell by 3% after chief operating officer Anthony Noto announced he was resigning.

'It's all about the conditions of leaving EU' - Ghosn

Commenting further on Brexit, Mr Ghosn said the fact the UK was leaving the EU was not good or bad in itself - it was more about the conditions of leaving.

"Competitiveness relies not only on tariffs, on movement of goods and people, but also strength of currency. All the issues need to be taken into consideration.

"Hard or soft Brexit are more political terms. As business people, we look at specific elements."

'We don’t know what Brexit will mean for us' - Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn, Renault boss
BBC
Carlos Ghosn, Renault Nissan boss

Car firms Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors still face a "big period of uncertainty" over Brexit, Carlos Ghosn has told the BBC.

Mr Ghosn, who is boss of Renault and chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi, said: "We are patient and waiting for the outcome… When we have that it will be very important for the decisions we have to make in terms of production in the UK."

He added: "What we are going to be looking at is, is the UK going to be an equally, more or less competitive place to build cars... From there, we will take all decisions because we are a large producer in the UK, and we will be watching very carefully how the competitiveness of our facilities are going to be affected."

'Grey Rhinos' at Davos

BBC business correspondent tweets...

JP Morgan to invest $20bn after US tax cuts

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan boss
Getty Images
JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan is the latest company to pledge more investment in the US following Donald Trump's corporate tax overhaul.

The investment bank said it would spend $20bn on increasing wages, hiring more staff, opening new branches and expanding its business. It will also increase small business lending by $4bn.

Analysts expect JPMorgan to save about $4bn a year from new US tax cuts, although some warn big banks will soon “compete away” those savings as they try to take business from one another.

Elon Musk's Boring Company presents LA tunnel plan

Elon Musk
Reuters

Elon Musk's Boring Company has presented plans to build a Hyperloop tunnel under Culver City, California.

The plans were presented at a council meeting on Monday by Jehn Balajadia, operations co-ordinator of the firm.

She said: "The purpose of Boring Company is to alleviate soul-destroying traffic and augment public transit."

Mr Musk, also chief of Tesla Inc and Space Exploration Technologies Corp, didn't speak at the meeting.

Read more

Twitter confirms Noto's departure

Twitter logo
Getty Images

The social media site has confirmed its second-in-command is going.

In a statement it said chief operating officer Anthony Noto had accepted the chief executive role at another company (known to be online lender SoFI).

Mr Noto's responsibilities will be assumed by other members of its leadership team, Twitter said.

"Anthony has been an incredible advocate for Twitter and a trusted partner to me and our leadership team," said Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive.

Mr Noto said leaving was "bittersweet".

"I have the utmost confidence in Twitter's future and look forward to watching the wonderful success the team will continue to achieve."

Twitter COO resigns

Anthony Noto
Getty Images

Twitter's chief operating officer Anthony Noto has resigned, according to reports.

The company is yet to issue a statement, but rumours of his departure have circulated for days.

On Monday, Twitter shares fell as much as 3.4% on reports Mr Noto had accepted a chief executive role at online lender Social Finance.

Some analysts said his departure would be viewed as a lack of confidence in the company's turnaround efforts.

US imposes new 'America First' tariffs

Chinese man carrying solar panel
AFP
China and South Korea reacted angrily to the move

The US has approved controversial tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels.

The move is in line with President Donald Trump's "America First" trade policy, which aims to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition.

Producers in China and South Korea will be hit hardest by President Trump's trade moves.

UK 'can get special Brexit deal' says Norway PM

BreakingKimberly-Clark to cut 5,000 jobs

Kimberly-Clark owns the Andrex brand
Getty Images

Kimberly-Clark will axe around 5,000 jobs, or 13% of its workforce as part of a major restructure of the business.

CNBC reports that the maker of Andrex toilet tissue and Huggies nappies will also close or sell 10 of its 91 global production facilities.

The company is aiming to cut $2bn in costs by 2021.

Chief executive Thomas Falk said: ""The changes we are making will improve our underlying profitability, provide more flexibility to invest in growth opportunities and help us compete even more effectively,"

Razor discounts weigh on Proctor & Gamble

Gillette
Getty Images

Beauty sales made up for discounted shaving gear for Proctor & Gamble in the second quarter.

The consumer goods group, which owns the Gillette brand, reported a 2% rise in organic sales for the three months to December.

Total revenue rose by 3% to $17.3bn. Net income fell by 68% to $2.5bn.

Proctor & Gamble said organic sales of its skin and personal care products - in particular Olay and SK-II - rose by 9%.

However, in grooming, revenue shrank by 3% between October and December. The company said: "Shave care organic sales decreased mid-single digits primarily due to pricing reductions in the US which were partially offset by volume increases due to reduced pricing and innovation."

Public finances may be improving a bit faster than expected

Britain's public finances suggest a slightly faster improvement than expected in November, says the Office for Budget Responsibility.

"It appears that the underlying improvement in borrowing so far this year is a little faster than would be consistent with our November forecast," the OBR said.

Earlier, official data showed Britain's budget deficit fell by much more than expected last month, helped by an unusually large credit from the European Union and the strongest value-added tax receipts on record.

European Union repeal law lodged in Jersey

Ryan Morrison

BBC News Online

Jersey's External Relations Minister, Senator Sir Philip Baillhache says a new European Union repeal law will give the States the ability to decide which EU laws will continue to apply in Jersey after Britain leaves the EU.

The new law, that be debated by politicians in March, will allow the government to quickly change laws or introduce new laws as a result of Britain leaving the EU, Sir Philip says.

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Davos: Behind the scenes

Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway and Kamal Ahmed
BBC

Here's Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, talking to BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed.

Ms Solberg is at the World Economic Forum where she has suggested that there needs to be a focus on corruption and illegal money flows.

Incidentally, the Prime Minister is part of an all female line-up that is chairing Davos this year.

It is the first time in its 50 year history the event is being chaired entirely by women.

Davos: Dead serious about meatless burgers

Katie Hope

BBC business reporter

Chef avec burger
BBC

A burger for breakfast might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's the only way to get to try the vegan meat alternative being served at many of the functions at Davos this year.

The vegan patty is made from wheat, coconut oil, potatoes and something called heme which helps to create the red, bloody colour of meat, pictured here with US chef Traci Des Jardins.

The aim of Impossible Foods founder Patrick Brown is to make meatless food which tastes better than its alternative for carnivores.

Ultimately he says his mission is to completely replace animals as a food product by 2035. "We're dead serious about this," he says.

My conclusion is that while tasty it doesn't have the same texture or substance as meat.

But who cares what I think? The real question is whether he can convert burger lover Donald Trump, due into town on Friday.

Cold comfort for pensioners

BBC personal finance correspondent Simon Gompertz tweets:

Uber app on a mobile phone

Katie Hope

BBC News, Davos

Customers will be able to opt for drivers who are highly rated and have a nicer car.

Read more

Fewer but better jobs, says Sainsbury's

Sainsbury's
Getty Images

Sainsbury's plan to cut jobs comes just a day after Tesco said it will axe 1,700 shop floor roles.

Sainsbury's says that the store manager positions that are being cut will be replaced by fewer, but mostly better paid, new management roles in each store.

Employees have the choice of either applying for these new roles, accept a more junior position if unsuccessful, or face redundancy.

Sainsbury's retail and operations director Simon Roberts, said: "The proposals will introduce a more efficient and effective structure, designed to meet the challenges of today's retail environment. They will deliver cost savings to be invested in our customer offer and in our colleagues as they continue to provide the very best service for our customers.

"Our intention is not to reduce overall headcount as a result of these proposals."

He added: "I appreciate this will be a difficult time for those affected and we will fully support our people through these changes."

BreakingSainsbury's to cut thousands of jobs

Sainsbury's is cutting thousands of store manager posts in a big restructuring of its business.

The changes involve axing a number of management posts in its supermarket and conveniences store across the UK.

Sainsbury's said it couldn't confirm the number of employees affected by the move but said it was "in the thousands".

It has more than 1,400 stores in the UK.