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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. Trump calls for a "strong dollar"
  3. Pound falls back on Trump comments
  4. ECB holds interest rates at 0%
  5. US revives post-Brexit trade deal hopes
  6. Sky signals the end of the satellite dish

Live Reporting

By Daniel Thomas

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's it for tonight, thanks very much for reading. We'll be back tomorrow from 0600.

Dow and S&P hit fresh records

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit record highs on Thursday as investors found plenty to cheer in the US earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5% to 26,392.79, the S&P 500 gained 0.06% to 2,839.25 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.05% to 7,411.16.

Analysts suggested that Donald Trump's call for a "strong dollar" took some of the steam out of Wall Street's rally.

Soros takes aim at Google and Facebook

George Soros
Reuters

The billionaire investor George Soros has criticised tech "monopolies" such as Facebook and Google, calling them a threat to democracy.

At his annual dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Soros warned that social media platforms were "obstacles to innovation".

He raised concerns about their power to shape people's attentions.

However, he predicted their days were numbered because tax policy and regulation would catch up with them.

The BBC has approached Google and Facebook for comment.

Toyota issues South Africa recall

A crash test dummy
Getty Images

Toyota has issued a recall of more than 700,000 vehicles in South Africa over airbag safety concerns.

The Japanese car firm said it needed to replace front airbag inflators produced by parts maker Takata, as they had the potential to burst.

"In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, striking and possibly injuring the occupants in the event of an accident," Toyota said in a statement.

The company said no injuries or fatalities had been caused by the fault, which in some cars dates back 15 years.

Last year Japan's Takata agreed to pay $1bn (£820m) in penalties in the US for concealing dangerous defects in its exploding airbags.

In June 2017 it filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Japan.

Is the US headed for another shutdown?

Trump's dollar comments

Donald Trump
Getty Images

As we have reported, the dollar has bounced back after Donald Trump said he wanted to see a strong dollar - contradicting comments made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin one day earlier.

The US president told CNBC: "The dollar is going to get stronger and stronger and ultimately I want to see a strong dollar."

He also suggested Mr Mnuchin's comments had been taken out of context and that the dollar's value should be based on the strength of the economy.

"It should be what it is, it should also be based on the strength of the country - we are doing so well," Mr Trump, who is at Davos, said.

Government responds to Goldman's Brexit warning

Canary Wharf
Getty Images

The government has stressed the EU and UK are in agreement over a Brexit transition period after the head of Goldman Sachs questioned whether one would be delivered.

Lloyd Blankfein also said that at some point the bank's Brexit contingency plans would become irreversible.

The government told the BBC:

"Both the EU and the UK are in agreement to a strictly time-limited implementation period which would be mutually beneficial. "We have been clear that this should be based on the existing structure of EU rules and regulations, during which the UK and the EU would continue to have access to one another’s markets on current terms, and the UK would take part in existing security measures. "An implementation period also means that both businesses and public services will only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU. The business community has been clear on the importance of this to their planning."

Pound and euro fall as dollar rises

Pound and dollar notes
Getty Images

Both sterling and the euro have lost ground after climbing earlier in the day.

The pound is trading at $1.4133, having passed $1.43 earlier on Thursday. The euro, which spiked to $1.25 after the ECB said it would keep rates on hold, is now trading at $1.2377.

It comes after Donald Trump said he ultimately wants the dollar to be strong, contradicting comments made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin one day earlier.

Marlboro-maker's shares fall on regulation jitters

Packets of Marlboro
Getty Images

Shares in tobacco giant Philip Morris fell almost 7% after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel rejected claims that its tobacco heating devices were less risky than traditional cigarettes.

The findings could affect an FDA decision on the products due on Thursday.

Phillip Morris, which makes Marlboro, fell 6.9% before paring loses to trade 2.6% lower.

The firm says its IQOS device, which heats tobacco rather than burning it, reduces most of the health risks surrounding traditional cigarettes.

But the independent panel said there was not enough evidence to show they would substantially reduce disease or deaths.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Philip Hammond at odds over Brexit

Jacob Rees Mogg MP
Getty Images

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg will call for a fundamental change in ministers' tone on Brexit later, accusing UK negotiators of being "cowed by the EU".

The Eurosceptic backbencher will say "close alignment" with the EU after Brexit will be unacceptable.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, meanwhile, has said he hopes the UK and EU economies will only move "very modestly" apart after Brexit.

He said they were already "completely interconnected and aligned".

Read more

Government orders financial assessment of fracking firm

Kirby Misperton
Getty Images
The company is waiting for final approval to frack for shale gas at Kirby Misperton

Business minister Greg Clark has ordered a financial assessment of Third Energy before deciding whether to allow the firm to frack in North Yorkshire.

The company is waiting for final approval to frack for shale gas at Kirby Misperton, which has been the focus of ongoing protests.

Mr Clark said that all technical requirements had been met, but "an equivalent assessment should be undertaken of the financial resilience of companies proposing to carry out hydraulic fracturing".

This was so stakeholders could have confidence in a company's ability "to meet its commitments".

Third Energy's financial accounts are overdue, with Mr Clark saying they had yet to submit accounts for the period ending December 2016, despite a statutory deadline of September 2017.

McCartney calls for responsible consumption

FSA 'must clarify meat company shutdown'

A Russell Hume steak
Russell Hume

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed "extreme concern" about the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) investigation into meat supplier Russell Hume.

On Wednesday the FSA said it had ordered a recall of meat supplied by the firm over concerns about its hygiene standards.

Tony Lewis of CIEH said: “It is essential that the FSA comes out and provides clarification about what exactly has been going on regarding Russell Hume.

"The public has been kept in the dark about the extent of the problem, and the statements made by the respective parties simply do not add up.

"It now transpires that Russell Hume has been under investigation for 12 days, and the public will want to know what the FSA has been doing in that time frame. Can the FSA now guarantee that no unsafe meat has already entered the food chain from this source?"

Goldman Sachs boss warns on irreversible Brexit plans

Sales up 20% at Louis Vuitton-owner

Louis Vuitton bag
Getty Images

Profits jumped at the world's number one luxury goods maker in 2017 as its Chinese market bounced back.

LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, saw operating income climb 18% to 8.3bn euros. Revenue was up 13% at 42.6bn euros.

The firm credited renewed demand in China after stock market turbulence hit consumer sentiment in 2015-16.

It also reported strong sales of its wines and spirits (which include Moët Hennessy).

Other pubs used meat supplier under investigation

Wetherspoon's menu
PA

Two pub groups have admitted to using a supplier under investigation for food hygiene standards, after Wetherspoon did so yesterday.

Marston's and Greene King said that Russell Hume supplied some products to their sites. Both have stopped serving the meat.

Yesterday, the Food Standards Agency said it had stopped any meat leaving Russell Hume plants and unused meat had been withdrawn from its customers.

The Birmingham-based firm supplies restaurant chains such as Jamie's Italian, schools, and care homes.

On Wednesday it emerged Wetherspoon pubs had removed steak from the menu on their weekly steak night.

FTSE 100 closes lower

The LSE
Getty Images

The FTSE 100 ended 0.4% lower at 7,615.84 points as the pound continued to climb.

Among the worst performers were Shire, down 3.2%, Paddy Power Betfair, down 3.1%, and Just Eat which shed 3%.

A strong pound affects the profits of FTSE-listed firms as they are worth less when they are converted back into sterling.

The FTSE 250 was flat at 20,521.74, with construction group Kier the best performer. It climbed almost 15% after the firm said contracts that it picked up from defunct rival Carillion were performing well.

Pound hovers around $1.43

Pound coins
Getty Images

The pound is hovering at around $1.43 ($1.4275) against the dollar, having passed that mark earlier. That's the highest it's been since the EU referendum.

Meanwhile the Euro has surged after the ECB kept interest rates on hold but acknowledged that the eurozone was growing faster than expected.

It's up 0.7% at $1.2493 having passed $1.25 earlier.

50 Cent forgot he had a stash of Bitcoin now worth $8m

50 Cent
Getty Images

Rapper 50 Cent has discovered that he is a Bitcoin millionaire, thanks to some long-forgotten album sales.

In 2014, 50 Cent released the album Animal Ambition and became the first artist to accept Bitcoin as payment.

The rapper received more than 700 Bitcoins under the deal, but then forgot about the cryptocurrency,according to celebrity newsite TMZ.

The hoard is worth $7-$8m, although the currency's price volatility means that could change fast.

Read more

The Presidents Club: Are charities allowed to return money?

Reality Check

Charity messages
BBC

Following the reports of sexual harassment of women working as hostesses at the men-only dinner held by The Presidents Club, some of the charities that would have benefited from the money raised have released statements.

For example, children's hospital Evelina London, has said it will not accept funding from The Presidents Club, and will also return previous donations, while Great Ormond Street will also give back money donated to it from these events in the past.

Can they do this?

Mixed picture for US stocks

US traders
Getty Images

After opening higher the Nasdaq and S&P 500 have both pared their gains.

A short while ago the indexes were up 0.1% and 0.03% respectively, at 7,424.03 and 2,838.88 points. The Dow had gained 0.4% to 26,349.28.

Peter Costa of investment firm Empire Executions suggested investors had been "taking profits and pulling money out" of the market.

And breath...

Katie Hope

BBC business reporter

People meditating
Getty Images

It's not just high powered meetings, networking and speeches at the World Economic Forum, some attendees are also taking part in meditation sessions.

"There's always a quiet place in your mind," says Rick Goings, the boss of Tupperware Brands.

Despite being at the helm of a company valued at a whopping $3bn - yes plastic box sales really are worth that much - he religiously spends 20 minutes twice a day meditating.

Sometimes he does it in bed, other times in the car on the way back from a meeting or on an aeroplane, as well as in the office.

Read more

Appreticeship levy 'not increasing apprentices'

Fiat Chyrsler profits nearly double

Fiat cars
Getty Images

Italian-US carmaker Fiat Chrysler says its net profit nearly doubled in 2017, but the firm downgraded its sales forecast for the current year.

During the year net profit soared by 93% to 3.5bn euros as it sold some 4.74 million vehicles. Sales were 110.9bn euros, little changed from 2016.

The firm downgraded its 2018 sales forecast to 125bn euros from 136bn euros previously, but said it expected net profit of around five billion euros.

Nestle and Atari settle Kit Kat feud

Kit Kat bars
Reuters

Food giant Nestle has settled claims it used the hit Atari video game "Breakout" without permission to sell Kit Kat bars.

"Breakout", a follow-up to the classic game "Pong", was created by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in the 1970s with help from fellow co-founder Steve Jobs.

It required a player to knock down rows of coloured bricks with a paddle.

Atari accused Nestle of replacing the bricks with Kit Kat fingers and using them in a commercial that showed adults and children using paddles to knock the bars down.

Nestle said in an email to Reuters: "The action was resolved through a mutually acceptable confidential settlement agreement."

Atari has not commented on the settlement.

Trump promises 'great increase' in trade with UK

Donald Trump and Theresa May
Reuters

President Donald Trump has predicted a "tremendous increase" in UK-US trade, after talks with Theresa May.

He also said the US and UK were "joined at the hip" on military matters, while Mrs May said they stood "shoulder to shoulder" in facing shared threats.

He said: "One thing that will be taking place over a number of years, will be trade. Trade is going to increase many times and we look forward to that... The discussions...that will be taking place are going to lead to tremendous increases... between our two countries, which is great for both, in terms of jobs... We are starting that process pretty much as we speak."

Read more

Draghi 'playing it safe'

Commenting on today’s ECB interest rate decision, Nancy Curtin of Close Brothers Asset Management, says:

Euros, pounds and dollars
Getty Images

Draghi is playing it safe. Growth has exceeded expectations, but there remains slack in some parts of the Eurozone economy and the ECB is clearly reluctant to use better growth as a springboard for any drastic monetary policy changes. The growth improvement is encouraging, and extremely strong PMI readings point to continued expansion, but we can’t ignore the disappointing wage growth. If that improves, ECB hawks could win out and gradual interest rate rises over the next couple of years become much more feasible.

ECB members 'concerned by Mnuchin dollar comments'

Some ECB members are concerned about US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's comments that a weaker dollar was good for US trade.

The greenback has fallen steadily against the euro over the last year.

Mr Draghi said: "Several members of the Council expressed concern, not just about exchange rates but about overall policy... If all this were to lead to an unwanted tightening of our monetary policy which is not warranted, then we will have to think about our monetary policy."

Mr Mnuchin qualified his comments on Wednesday, saying a strong dollar was favourable in the long term, and there were pros and cons to where the exchange rate is now.

View more on twitter

Euro passes $1.25 on Draghi comments

The euro has spiked after the ECB said it would keep rates on hold but acknowledged that the eurozone was growing faster than expected.

Euro vs dollar
BBC
Euro vs dollar - 25 January

'Draghi's message hawkish'

The market sees Mario Draghi's message today as hawkish, says James Athey of Aberdeen Standard Investments.

"The ECB’s got a bit more confidence in inflation and Draghi has not rowed back on any of the more bullish prognosis banded around for the region lately," he says.

“His main task was to try to keep a bit of a lid on the rally in the euro. But that hasn’t really worked ... Instead eurodollar has breached the $1.25 level and still doesn’t show much sign of slowing its inexorable rise."

Why the euro is climbing - Draghi

Euro vs dollar over last 12 months
BBC
Euro vs dollar over last 12 months

The euro has been climbing against the dollar for two reasons, says ECB chief Mario Draghi.

One, the eurozone economy is improving, and two there has been "heightened sensitivity" to the bank's communications.

Dollar weakness has also played a part, he adds.

Trump readies for his audience

BBC business presenter tweets...

The US president has arrived at Davos - here's a snap from BBC business presenter Sally Bundock.

View more on twitter

Too early to declare victory - Draghi

ECB chief, Mario Draghi
ECB

Despite the Eurozone strengthening, it's too early to "declare victory", Mr Draghi says.

He says underlying inflation isn't rising fast enough, prices remain "broadly stable", and while wages have started to rise, it's too early to say they'll keep doing so.

"Basically very little has changed," he says, which is why the ECB has kept rates on hold.

Not just a conduit

Draghi predicts inflation stability

Mario Draghi is giving his press conference after the ECB kept interest rates at record lows.

On inflation, Mr Draghi says: "Looking ahead, on the basis of current futures prices for oil, annual rates of headline inflation are likely to hover around current levels in the coming months."

May: We need to harness technology

US says illicit activity is top cryptocurrency concern

Steven Mnuchin
Getty Images

The US government's main concern about the rise of cryptocurrencies is to make sure they are not used by criminals, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.

"My number-one focus on cryptocurrencies, whether that be digital currencies or Bitcoin or other things, is that we want to make sure that they're not used for illicit activities," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We encourage fintech and we encourage innovation, but we want to make sure all of our financial markets are safe," Mr Mnuchin said.

"We want to make sure that the rest of the world - and many of the [G]20 countries are already starting on this - have the same regulations."

UK 'will continue to be an advocate for free trade'

End of the paper tenner

Draghi under the spotlight over the euro

ECB president Mario Draghi
Getty Images

The ECB also confirmed that its asset purchase programme will fall to €30bn from €60bn in January.

Analysts and economists will now look to ECB president Mario Draghi who will hold a press conference to see if he will make a comment on the stronger euro.