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  1. Get in touch:
  2. New car sales up 10% in April
  3. BA shares surge on strong profits
  4. Norwegian says it rejected two IAG takeover bids
  5. FTSE 100 climbs
  6. BT 'to cut thousands of jobs' - report

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's all for the Business Live page for another week. Do join us again from Tuesday at 06:00, after Britain's public holiday weekend.

Wall Street closes higher helped by Apple boost

Wall Street traders
Getty Images

Wall Street stocks jumped on Friday after a mixed US jobs report mitigated fears over inflation, as Apple shares rocketed higher after Warren Buffett increased his stake in the company.

The Dow Jones ended 1.4% higher to close the week at 24,262.5 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.3% to end at 2,663.4, while the tech-rich Nasdaq advanced 1.7% to 7,209.6.

Masked staff protest against company family

Protestors with masks

Hundreds of Korean Air employees, many wearing masks to hide their identity, have taken to the streets of Seoul to vent their anger about the company's controlling family.

Passersby joined in as they shouted slogans demanding the resignation of the airline's chairman, Cho Yang-ho.

A slew of incidents of bad behaviour have put his family among the country's most notorious super-rich.

In the latest episode, his younger daughter lost her temper at a meeting.

Cho Hyun-min denied throwing a drink at an attendee but admitted shoving the advertising agency manager, when police questioned her on Tuesday.

Some of those joining Friday's protests were incensed as it emerged that prosecutors had rejected a police request to arrest her over claims there had been attempts to influence witnesses.

Don't hold back, Jim

Jim Holder of Haymarket Automotive tweets...

Brazil airforce flies Venezuela migrants to cities

The Brazilian airforce has flown a second batch of Venezuelan migrants from a remote border region to other cities to defuse a growing humanitarian crisis.

Some of the two-hundred-or-so migrants were flown from Boa Vista in the Amazon region to Manaus in the north, others to Sao Paulo in the south.

In April a similar number were taken to cities further south. Brazil's police say more than ninety- thousand Venezuelans have entered the country in the past year, fleeing severe economic hardship.

Car industry on alert over 'hybrid ban'

Hybrid car

The UK's car industry has hit out at the government over unconfirmed reports ministers will target hybrid vehicles as part of a new emissions crackdown.

New cars unable to do at least 50 miles on electric power may be banned by 2040, a ruling that would hit the UK's best-selling hybrid, Toyota's Prius.

The SMMT car trade body said "misleading" government messages were damaging the industry.

In a short statement, the Department of Transport denied it would ban hybrids.

Read more here.

Fishing nets

Kevin Keane

BBC Scotland's environment correspondent

The draft white paper sets out proposals for a framework on quota talks involving devolved institutions.

Read more

France: KLM must find way out of crisis

Air France airliner
Getty Images

The French government says it is up to the board of Air France-KLM to work out how the airline deals with a "crisis" after its chief executive announced his resignation over a pay dispute with trade unions.

The French state is the biggest shareholder in Air France-KLM.

"It is up to the board to define how the company gets itself out of this current crisis," the French finance and transport ministries say in a joint statement.

'Hybrid investment needed'

Theo Leggett

BBC Business News Reporter

If the government really is planning to include hybrids as part of its 2040 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars, it makes that policy much more ambitious - and potentially much more of a headache for the industry.

By 2040, it is reasonable to assume that nearly all cars will be hybridised in some way, because of ever tightening emissions legislation. That makes a ban that only covers conventional, non-hybridised cars likely to be pretty irrelevant.

But if the government stipulates that all cars must be able to travel at least 50 miles on electric power, then a whole swathe of current machines will be outlawed.

Even the performance of most so-called plug-in hybrids, which can already travel at least some distance on battery power, will not be good enough.

That means a lot more investment will be needed, both to make cars more efficient, and to beef up charging infrastructure. And car buyers will need to be encouraged to buy the right vehicles.

The proposed ban might be 22 years away - but arguments over who pays for what are likely to begin raging sooner rather than later.

North Korea changes time zone to match South

Scottish leg

Air France-KLM boss to resign

ir France-KLM's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Janaillac
Getty Images
Jean-Marc Janaillac

Air France employees rejected a pay deal on Friday, a setback for the company in a dispute that has seen more than a dozen strikes and cost the company about €300m.

That prompted chief executive Jean-Marc Janaillac to say he would resign.

China and US trade talks: What the two sides proposed

Top officials from China and the US reached a consensus on some aspects of the countries' trade row, but disagreements over other issues remain "relatively big", Reuters reports.

The talks over the past two days have involved a US trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior Chinese officials, and followed months of threats and counter-threats from both sides over trade practices.

So what was proposed?

Key points include China saying it would lower tariffs on some US products, including cars, Reuters reports.

The US wanted China to cut tariffs on all products to US levels.

The two sides gave opinions on solving tariff issues.

On trade:

China said it could increase US imports, but it asked the US to let its government and companies freely buy Chinese tech, products and services. The US has been leery of the threat of Chinese cyber espionage.

China also asked for imports of cooked poultry into the US to be allowed.

The US wants China to cut its trade imbalance immediately, and to cut its trade surplus in goods with the US by at least $200bn by 2020.

It also asked China not distort trade through investment restrictions.

The two sides exchanged opinions on expanding US exports to China and bilateral services trade, said Xinhua.

There were also discussions on bilateral investment, intellectual property, telecoms firm ZTE's appeal on sanctions, and agriculture, Reuters reports.

US deficit cut of $200bn by 2020 'unrealsitic'

Jonathan Josephs

BBC business producer

UK 'to specify new hybrid minimum electric mileage'

Toyota Prius
Getty Images

The UK is going to ban the sale of new cars that can travel less than 50 miles on electricity from 2040, car news publication Autocar says.

The FT says that this includes many hybrid cars that currently rely on conventional engines, such as the Toyota Prius.

However, the Business Live page imagines that car manufacturers will tailor future hybrids - including the Prius, if it's still around in 2040 - to conform to the government specification.

Will Argentina's rate hike work?

Daniel Gallas

BBC South America business correspondent

Argentina's Finance Minister Luis Caputo, speaks during a press conference at the Ministry headquarters in Buenos Aires
Getty Images
Argentina's Finance Minister Luis Caputo speaks during a press conference at the Ministry headquarters in Buenos Aires

Argentina’s hike in interest rate to 40% is apparently having some effect.

The trend of the strong devaluation of the peso was slightly reversed in early trading today after the measures were announced.

Argentina may be the first international victim of new winds coming from the US.

Investors believe interest rates will rise abroad – prompting money to flow from risky emerging markets to the US.

But many of Argentina’s economic problems are home grown.

The main one was bringing down inflation – which is the highest among G20 economies.

Mauricio Macri’s government has been trying to normalise prices in the economy, but that meant removing subsidies that made utility and energy tariffs increase.

Also Mr Macri is facing opposition in Congress to further increases in tariffs.

Argentina`s main task right now is to regain investor trust – so it announced it will make further spending cuts in the budget and do whatever it takes to “stabilise the market”.

Buffett buys more Apple

Apple logo
Getty Images

Apple shares have risen more than 3% after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in the iPhone maker.

The billionaire investor recently sold out of an unsuccessful investment in IBM, at the same time he was buying Apple.

Berkshire Hathaway bought 75 million additional Apple shares in the first three months of the year, Mr Buffett told CNBC.

Berkshire's initial investment in Apple was small, but with the latest stake purchase, it has grown to 240.3 million shares worth $42.5bn.

Fifty crocodiles seized at Heathrow

Saltwater croc
Getty Images

Seize those crocodiles, and make it snappy!

UK border officials have seized 50 crocodiles - very carefully, we imagine - being imported illegally into the UK.

The year old saltwater crocodiles were bound for a farm in Cambridgeshire, where they were to be bred for their meat.

There was a certificate in place to import them, but they were packed 10 to a box in five boxes, rather than the permitted four to a box.

Grant Miller, head of the national Border Force CITES team at Heathrow, said: "It is just not acceptable for reptiles to be transported in this way.

"The crocodiles had started to fight each other during the flight as space was limited, so little attention had been paid to their welfare."

The Home Office added that one crocodile has died "and the remaining animals are being cared for and will now be re-homed."

Wall Street opens lower after US jobs data

Wall Street traders
Getty Images

US stock indexes have opened lower after data showed weaker-than-expected US jobs and wages growth in April, while the unemployment rate dropped to a 17-and-a-half year low.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 64.93 points, or 0.27%, at the open to 23,865.22.

The S&P 500 opened lower by 8.28 points, or 0.31%, at 2,621.45.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 22.48 points, or 0.32%, to 7,065.67 at the opening bell.

Argentina hikes rates up to 40%

While rates are on hold in the UK, the EU, and other countries around the world, Argentina is trying to get inflation under control through huge hikes.

The country's central bank sharply raised its monetary policy rate to 40%, and said it would keep using all tools at its disposal to try to hit the country's 15% inflation target this year. Inflation has been up at 40% in the country.

The bank said in a statement that the rate hike was also aimed at stabilising Argentina's peso, which has weakened dramatically in recent days.

The central bank has increased rates three times - on 27 April, Thursday and again on Friday, yanking it up from 27.25%.

The earlier hikes failed to stop the local peso from weakening 7.83% on Thursday to 23 per US dollar.

No boneheads please, we're Tesla

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive of Tesla, has popped up on Twitter to explain why he vetoed "boring, bonehead" questions during a conference call with analysts about the electric car maker's first quarter results.

View more on twitter

You can check out Mr Musk's full thread at @elonmusk

Elliott wins seats on Telecom Italia board

Arnaud de Puyfontaine
Getty Images

Activist fund Elliott Management has won a significant victory against Telecom Italia's key shareholder Vivendi after securing two-thirds of the board seats at the Italian company.

It follows a shareholder vote on Friday.

Vivendi will still have five board members, including current Amos Genish, director and general manager at Telecom Italia, and Arnaud de Puyfontaine, chief executive of the French media group (pictured).

Some 49.84% of the shareholders present at the meeting voted in favour of Elliott's candiates while 47.18% voted in favour of Vivendi.

US earnings rise

The US Labor Department said that average weekly hourly earnings rose 2.6% year-on-year but increased by 0.1% between March and April.

BreakingUS creates fewer jobs than expected in April

US non-farms payrolls rose by 164,000 in April. Analysts had expected an increase of 194,000 jobs last month.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% from 4.1% - the lowest since 2000.

BT non-executives to step down


BT has announced that Karen Richardson and Tony Ball will step down as non-executive directors at the telecoms group's Annual General Meeting on 11 July.

Ms Richardson has been on the board since 2011 and is a member of BT's audit and risk, remuneration and technology committees.

Mr Ball is leave the board after nine years during which he served as chair of the remuneration committee.

He will be replaced in that role by Nick Rose, BT's senior independent director.

BT is planning to announce thousands more jobs, according to the Financial Times, when it announces it full-year results next week.

Watch: Four decades of rubbish in your inbox

It is 40 years since the first spam e-mail was sent, by Gary Thuerk.

Thanks Gary.

The world's first spam email was sent to 400 users...

NIESR cuts UK economic forecast

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) expects the UK economy will grow less than previously forecast in 2018.

It follows GDP growth of just 0.1% in the first quarter.

NIESR has cut its expectation for full-year growth to 1.4% from 1.8%.

Economist Amit Kara said: "It’s not clear at this stage if it’s a soft patch or the start of a prolonged period of weakness. Our central forecast assumes that economic growth recovers.”

TSB: Online banking still 'farcical' and a 'nightmare'

BBC personal finance correspondent tweets...

BT unions prepare for thousands of job losses

BT logo
Getty Images

Unions representing workers at telecoms and broadcast giant BT have issued statements responding to speculation it is planning to cut 6,500 jobs.

Prospect national secretary, Philippa Childs said: "Our priorities are to ensure that our members' jobs and livelihoods are protected and with that in mind Prospect's Industrial Relations Committees will expect to be consulted and heavily involved in any staff changes that are being proposed.

"Prospect will be waiting to hear further details from BT next week."

The CWU, which represents largely non-management workers, says it is confident any job losses will have little impact on those it represents.

BT has not commented on the reports which first appeared in the FT.

Difficult trading and legacy issues hit Calvetron

Jacques Vert
Jacques Vert

Commenting on the reasons behind clothing retailer Calvetron's administration, Philip Duffy, Duff & Phelps, said: “Inflation and wage freezes have been major concerns for many fashion retailers and have been a driving force behind decreased spending."

However, he said Calvetron, which owns the Jacques Vert brand, "has also been carrying a number of legacy issues".

"In the difficult retail environment we are facing today Calvetron simply could not restructure its cost base quickly enough or create the necessary economies of scale to succeed."

BreakingSales rise at Alibaba but profits fall

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba group, dancing to a medley of Michael Jackson songs during the Alibaba Annual Party in 2017
Getty Images
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba group, dancing to a medley of Michael Jackson songs during the Alibaba Annual Party in 2017

China's Alibaba has reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue, driven by steady sales in its core e-commerce and cloud computing businesses.

Revenue jumped 61% to 61.9 billion yuan ($9.73 billion), beating analyst estimates of 58.9 billion yuan.

However, net income fell almost a third to 7.56 billion yuan.

The three months to the end of March is typically slow for Alibaba following its bumper sale event, Singles' Day, in November.

BreakingJacques Vert-owner goes into adminstration

Calvetron Brands, which owns the clothing brands Jacques Vert, Précis, Dash and Eastex, has appointed administrators.

It has retained Duff & Phelps to "review the options to sell the business as a going concern".

It employs 1,408 people: 997 in the UK, 155 in Ireland and 256 in Canada.

It has concessions in Debenhams and House of Fraser.

Eurozone retail sales falter

Getty Images

Eurozone retail sales grew slower than expected in March in the latest sign of stuttering growth in the bloc.

According to a flash estimate, sales climbed 0.1% month-on-month - although February's growth figure was revised upwards from 0.1% to 0.3%.

The eurozone's strong recovery has faltered in the first quarter as bad weather and high rates of illness led consumers to stay indoors.

Claus Vistesen, chief eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, called the latest figures "another soft headline", adding: "Notwithstanding the plunge in October last year, retail sales are now rising at their slowest pace since 2014.!

The precipitous fall of the Argentinian peso

As we have been reporting, Argentina's central bank has raised interest rates for the second time in a week to try stop a sharp fall in the country's currency, the peso.

As this chart shows, the amount of pesos needed to buy a dollar has climbed steeply in 2018.

BBC chart

China-US trade talks news hurts HK shares

News emerging from trade talks that China and the US still have large areas of disagreement in trade talks (what a surprise!) hit stocks in Hong Kong towards the end of trading.

The Hang Seng index fell 1.3% to end the week at 29,926.5.

It was also announced that personal computer maker Lenovo Group will be removed from the index as part of a quarterly reshuffle.

London market heads higher

LSE buildin
Getty Images

London's FTSE 100 has advanced thanks to strong earnings from IAG and Pearson and a rise in commodities stocks.

The index is 0.5%, or 39.87 points, higher at 7,542.56 points.

Pearson is the top performer, up 5.8%, after the troubled education publisher said it is on track to post higher annual profits for the first time in six years.

BA-owner IAG is close behind, up 4.7%, after it reported strong results for the first quarter - typically a slow time for airlines.

Miners, which represent some of the biggest companies on the FTSE 100, continue to do well thanks to a rise metals prices. BHP Billiton and Antofagasta are up 1.87% and 1.67% respectively.

Watch: From Norway with love

Cambridge Analytica - back from the dead?

Facebook/Cambridge Analytica
Getty Images

Are Cambridge Analytica and its parent SCL Elections as dead as they seem?

The businesses issued a statement on Wednesday, saying they had started bankruptcy proceedings, blaming a "siege of media coverage" related to the Facebook data-harvesting scandal for the decision.

The document added that staff were being laid off as a consequence.

But the role of two other London-registered operations has been questioned.

Read more here.

Bank unlikely to 'pull the trigger' on rates

Sterling v dollar
Getty Images

With the chances of a rise in the UK interest rate this month now looking less likely, sterling is continuing to dip on the dollar and is down 0.19% at $1.3549.

Paul Bednarczyk, head of G10 FX at Continuum Economics, says: "The pound is probably trading where it should be, but there is a fair bit of downside risk around."

But he adds: "It's going to take a lot of persuading, especially afterthe data, for the bank to pull the trigger."

HSBC banks on China infrastructure investment

Central business district of Guangzhou, China

Charlie Huggins, manager of the Hargreaves Lansdown Select UK Income Shares fund, which holds shares in HSBC, says that increased investment in its retail banking and wealth management divisions "suggests that management are feeling more confident in their prospects".

"However, it will weigh on near term returns," he says.

Shares in HSBC are trading down 3.04% at 699.4p on Friday after the bank revealed a fall in first quarter profits.

On the upside, he says: "HSBC’s vision is to become the premier bank for facilitating business between China and the rest of the world.

"Investment is being poured into China’s Pearl River delta region and early signs are encouraging. The vast expansion of Chinese infrastructure and industrial capacity seen in recent decades bodes well for the region’s future growth and HSBC should be well placed to benefit."