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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Sterling rises to $1.42 on jobs and weaker dollar
  3. Countrywide shares jump on boss's exit
  4. WPP cuts ties with the Presidents Club
  5. WH Smith store sales fall on book dearth

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

Good night

And that's it for tonight. Thanks for reading. We'll be back tomorrow from 06:00, so do join us then.

Dollar dive

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on December 2, 2017
AFP/Getty

The US dollar has fallen sharply after the US Treasury Secretary said its weakening is "good" for the US.

"Obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities," Steven Mnuchin said at a press briefing in Davos.

The dollar index swooned almost 1% after the remarks, extending steep declines that started last year.

Wall Street catches its breath

Wall Street bull
Getty Images

After days of posting multiple record highs, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have retreated on Wall Street.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.6% to 7,415.06, while the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.1% at 2,837.56 amid weakness in airline and computer chip shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to close at a 26,252.19, eclipsing the record set on Monday.

'Trump slump' for US tourism?

Tourists in the US
Getty Images

The number of tourists visiting the US is falling, according to official figures.

The drop has provoked a debate in the US, with some dubbing it a "Trump slump".

Critics point to the president's America First rhetoric and anti-immigrant comments, as well as tighter visa rules for some countries and other restrictions.

"When people travel, they're looking for a pleasant emotional experience," said Vincent Wolfington, former chair of the World Travel and Tourism Council.

"The perception is it's probably too much trouble at this point in time to visit the US."

Brazilian shares hit new record on Lula ruling

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Getty Images

A court in Brazil has unanimously decided to uphold – and increase – a jail sentence against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The court ruled that Lula, as he is known, gained personal advantage from a corrupt relationship he held with a major construction company. His sentence was increased from 9.5 to 12 years.

Brazilian stocks in Sao Paulo urged 3%, pushing the Ibovespa index above the 83,000 points mark for the first time in its history. Markets believe the court’s unanimous decision is a major blow to Lula’s chances of running for President again in October.

He currently leads all polls and promises to revert the economic reforms being implemented by the current government.

Blue chip stocks like Petrobras and Vale surged 5% and 2% respectively.

Lula may still file a final appeal – but the unanimous decision could pave the way for him to be jailed. While the hearing took place in the town of Porto Alegre, Lula told crowds in Sao Paulo that he is innocent.

Grumpy Cat wins $710,000 payout in copyright lawsuit

Grump Cat
Getty Images

A cat made famous online because of its permanent scowl has been awarded $710,000 (£500,000) in a copyright case by a California federal court.

Grumpy Cat Limited sued the owners of US coffee company Grenade for exceeding an agreement over the cat's image.

The company only had rights to use the cat to sell its "Grumppuccino" iced drink, but sold other Grumpy products.

The cat, real name Tardar Sauce, went viral in 2012 after photographs of her sour expression emerged online.

Read more

Tesla cancels sale of car auctioned by Presidents Club

A Tesla car
Getty Images

Tesla has said it will no longer supply a luxury electric car that was auctioned at the Presidents Club dinner yesterday.

The US electric carmaker described the events of the evening, during which women were allegedly groped, as "disgusting”.

The Presidents Club bought the Model X car following the auction, but Tesla said the sale had now been cancelled.

BMW has also cancelled the sale of car auctioned at the event.

World Bank chief economist steps down after 15 months

Paul Romer, economist
Getty Images

Paul Romer, the World Bank's chief economist, is leaving after just 15 months on the job, according to an internal announcement seen by the Financial Times.

According to reports, Mr Romer had clashed with staff economists since his arrival in October 2016 over things like the way the bank’s reports were written and the methodology used.

Said to be difficult to work with, he was last May stripped of his management control of the organisation’s research arm.

In a message to staff sent on Wednesday, Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s president said Mr Romer had decided to step down and return to his position as a professor at New York University.

"Paul is an accomplished economist and insightful individual, and we have had many good discussions on geopolitical issues, urbanisation, and the future of work. I appreciated Paul’s frankness and honesty, and I know he regrets the circumstances of his departure,” Mr Kim said.

Conviction against former Brazilian PM upheld

Ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
EPA

An appeals court in Brazil has upheld a conviction for corruption imposed last July on ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

While he can still take his appeal to a higher court, the decision could rule Lula out as a candidate for October's presidential election.

The ex-leader, who governed from 2003 to 2011, had been favourite to win.

Ahead of the ruling, Lula said he would continue fighting "for the dignity of the Brazilian people" until he died.

Brazilian stocks in Sao Paulo surged 2% to hit fresh record highs.

'UK can't have its cake and eat it on Brexit payments'
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says the UK must pay for EU market access.

Meat firm fails on food hygiene

Steak and chips
BBC

A food company that supplies Wetherspoon's, Jamie's Italian and Butlins among others has been accused of "serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations".

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it had found issues at a number of Russell Hume facilities and had stopped any product from leaving its sites until the business could give assurances it was producing "safe food".

There is no indication people have become ill from eating meat supplied by the firm, but the FSA is "continuing to assess the situation".

Birmingham-based Russell Hume also supplies schools, catering businesses and care homes.

Times change

Geo-political commentator tweets...

US stocks lose steam

US trader
Getty Images

All the major US share indexes have given up their gains after the US Commerce Secretary hinted at trade action against China.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Wilbur Ross said US authorities were investigating whether there is a case for taking action over China's infringements of intellectual property.

It comes a day after the US slapped tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, prompting fears of a tit-for-tat trade war.

A short while ago the Dow was flat at 26,211.10, the Nasdaq was down 0.8% to 7,401.70, and the S&P 500 was 0.2% lower at 2,833.53. All had opened in positive territory.

Davos jargon: A crime against the English language?

A woman, surrounded by question marks
Getty Images

The annual World Economic Forum takes place amid freezing temperatures in snowy Davos, but inside the myriad meeting rooms and conference halls, there's more than a little hot air.

Some of this is generated by a form of English unique to this gathering, which can be mystifying - even to the seasoned WEF watcher.

To help, we've compiled a short list of bewildering terms and phrases overheard or read at Davos, and attempted to decipher them, with limited success.

Read more

Macron 'warming up'

FT foreign affairs commentator tweets...

Macron calls for new EU strategy

Emmanuel Macron at Davos
WEF

President Macron says to stop "fragmentation" around the world, "we need a stronger Europe, it's absolutely key".

He calls for a new 10 year strategy to make Europe a stronger economic, scientific, green and political power.

"We need more ambition to have a more sovereign and democratic Europe."

Presidents Club 'will stop hosting charity dinners'

People gathered outside a hotel
TOLGA AKMEN/FT

The Presidents Club will stop hosting fundraisers after women reported being groped at one of its dinners last night.

In a statement it said: "The trustees have decided that the Presidents Club will not host any further fundraising events. Remaining funds will be distributed in an efficient manner to children's charities and it will then be closed."

Polish PM says Britain will have to pay for EU access

BBC economics correspondent tweets...

Macron 'sounds like a technocrat'

FT foreign affairs commentator tweets...

Macron promises more investment in training

Mr Macron also says he wants to make France more competitive and prosperous to finance a "fairer system".

One "key pillar" if his plan is education, he says. France will invest billions of euros in training its workforce to adapt to the changing global economy. It will also invest more in innovation and research and development.

Other plans afoot include cutting corporate tax, attracting more foreign investment, making it easier to do business and building a greener economy.

Globalisation in crisis - Macron

Emmanuel Macron
WEF

Globalisation is going through a "major crisis", French President Emmanuel Macron has told the World Economic Forum at Davos.

He says it requires "collective effort from international organisations, states, companies, civil society in order to find and implement solutions".

He says he has come to Davos to make a call to action. He says he wants France to be both prosperous and open to the world, but also "capable of recognising and standing alongside those who have been left behind by globalisation".

UK stocks slide

Traders
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 was more than 1% lower at the close tjhsanksto the soaring value of the pound.

The blue-chip index lost 1.2% to 7,643.43 points. The worst performers were Sage Group, down 7%, Shire 4% and Mondi, down 3.5%.

The pound is currently trading above $1.42, a level not seen since the EU referendum. However this impacts on the international profits of FTSE-listed firms which are worth less when converted back into sterling.

How people were persuaded to fall for pensions scams

CMI boss 'unsurprised by Presidents Club allegations'

BBC correspondent tweets...

Anne Franke, boss of the Chartered Institute of Management, says she's not surprised by the claims of harassment at last night's Presidents Club Charity Dinner.

The men-only event was attended by a host of high profile business people, many of whom said they saw no untoward behaviour.

View more on twitter

Chote comments a 'damning indictment' - Labour

John McDonnell
Getty Images

Responding to Robert Chote’s comments, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “It is another nail in the coffin for this government’s economic credibility when the head of the independent watchdog whose job is to monitor our public finances is admitting that the central economic policy since 2010 is harming growth.

“He further confirms that more infrastructure spending, as Labour has consistently called for, would instead help economic growth; and that the Chancellor is not doing all he can do to support our economy."

Economy 'weak and stable' - OBR chief

Robert Chote, head of the OBR
BBC

The UK economy is “weak and stable”, and there is a 50-50 chance of another recession over the next five years, the head of Britain's parliamentary spending watchdog has said.

Robert Chote, the chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility, made the comments in an interview with New Statesman.

“There’s an evens chance of a recession in any five-year period if you look back at the historical experience. We’ve not abolished boom and bust,” he told the magazine.

High stakes

Marijuana plants
Getty Images

Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis has agreed to buy medical cannabis seller CanniMed Therapeutics for about C$1.1bn (£630m).

The firm said it was gearing up to meet an expected surge in demand at home and globally.

Bank 'was unaware of Presidents Club Dinner'

Mark Carney, BoE governor
Getty Images

The Bank of England has issued a statement on last night's Presidents Club charity dinner, at which hostesses were allegedly groped and harassed. Part of the event included a charity auction, in which one of the prizes was the chance to have tea with the Bank's governor Mark Carney.

In its statement it said:

The governor is deeply dismayed that such an event could take place. At the request of the previous Lord Mayor, the Bank agreed to donate a tour of the Bank to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal for their charity auction... The Bank understands that the successful bidder in the Lord Mayor’s auction subsequently re-auctioned this prize at the Presidents Club Dinner. He did not consult or contact the Bank in any way before doing so. If he had, the Bank would have refused permission.... The unauthorised re-auctioning of the prize at the Presidents Club dinner was clearly against the spirit of the original donation. The Bank has therefore made clear that it has been withdrawn.”

Wall Street climbs

Stock prices on a screen
Getty Images

US stocks opened higher on Wednesday following a spate of strong results from the likes of General Electric and United Technologies.

A short while ago the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.6% to 26,355.43, the S&P 500 was up 0.4% to 2,851.46, and the Nasdaq had climbed 0.2% 26,355.43.

Apple promises fix for slowing iPhones

An iPhone
Reuters

Apple has announced changes that allow users to turn off a controversial feature that slows down iPhones when batteries are running low.

The firm was criticised in December after it admitted deliberately slowing down some ageing iPhone models to conserve battery life. It promised to rectify the problem but faces lawsuits over the issue.

On Wednesday it said a beta version of its iOS 11.3 operating system would add new features to show battery health and recommend if a battery needs to be serviced.

Users will also be able to see if the power management feature is on and can choose to turn it off.

Pound continues to climb

Pound coins
Getty Images

Sterling has continued to climb on the back of strong UK jobs data and a weaker dollar.

A short while go it was trading at $1.41940 having passed the $1.40 mark on Sunday - levels not seen since the EU referendum.

Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, said: "Investors who were itching for another opportunity to propel sterling higher were given the green light on Wednesday after UK employment data came in stronger than market expectations.

He added: "The battered Dollar extended losses against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, after US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said a weaker Dollar is 'good' for trade."

Toys R US to shut a fifth of US stores

Toys R us store
Getty Images

Toys R Us will shut about one-fifth of its stores in the US as the toy retailer attempts to recover from its bankruptcy.

It said the closure of about 180 US stores would begin in February.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection just before Christmas in the US and Canada under the weight of a huge debt pile.

The UK subsidiary of Toys R Us has also been struggling and in December said it would close a quarter of its around 100 stores.

Essex's world famous jam factory

Another sponsor cuts ties with Presidents Club

Dorchester Hotel
Getty Images

Property firm Frogmore has cut ties with the Presidents Club after women claimed to have been groped at a charity dinner held by the club at the Dorchester hotel.

It said: “Frogmore prides itself on its charitable efforts. The President’s Club is a small part of the charitable causes that Frogmore supports. The attendees at Frogmore’s table were unaware of any of the described events but in no way condone this behaviour. Frogmore will now end its association with the event.”

Advertising giant WPP, which also sponsored a table, earlier withdrew its future support for the dinner.

'Lads' culture has no place' - Philips

Merkel: Protectionism is not the answer

Angela Merkel
Getty Images

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that isolationism and protectionism is not the answer to the world's economic challenges.

Ms Merkel also told the audience that she was open-minded about what kind of partnership the European Union would develop with Britain after Brexit, but noted that there could be no compromise on the EU's core principles in those talks.

"We want a close partnership with the United Kingdom," she said.

Brazil markets watch Lula trial

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Getty Images

Markets in Brazil are operating close to record-high levels – as the country watches closely a trial that could land former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in jail.

Lula, as he is known, is appealing against a nine-year prison sentence for corruption involving state-controlled oil giant Petrobras.

Three judges are voting now on Lula’s fate. If there is a 3-0 decision against him, he may still file one last appeal but it is very likely he will not be able to run for President again in October.

Lula is widely seen as the anti-market candidate and leads all polls.

He promises to undo many of the economic reforms Brazil is currently undergoing.