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Summary

  1. Germany rejects Greece extension request
  2. Air France-KLM to accelerate cost cuts
  3. Centrica shares slump after dividend cut

Live Reporting

By Rebecca Marston

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    Rebecca Marston

    Business reporter, BBC News

    Business Live is withdrawing for the night. Fresh blood will arrive tomorrow to restart at 06:00.

  2. Greek-German phone call

    Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and German chancellor Angela Merkel held a "constructive" phone conversation on Thursday, a Greek government official told Reuters. It is said to have lasted 50 minutes.

  3. Public Service Broadcasting

    Public Service Broadcasting clip featuring Lesley

    Britain punches well above its weight when it comes to musical exports. The winners of the Music Export Growth Scheme from the BPI and UK Trade and Investment include Public Service Broadcasting, whose Spitfire track features Lesley Howard's sonerousness. The funding will help the acts tour abroad and raise their profile.

  4. Greece stand-off

    Yanis and Wolfgang

    A top European official said the stand-off had come down to a clash of personalities with Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble furious at the negotiating style Greece's "fast-talking" Yanis Varoufakis. "There is a real problem of personalities and I understand that. Schaeuble is outraged by comments made by Varoufakis," the official said.

  5. Greek banks

    Tensions mount ahead of Friday's deadline for a Greek deal. Greece's central bank governor said outflows from its lenders were under control and the bank would aim to protect liquidity and the banking system. "We are here to prevent any accidents," Yannis Stournaras told reporters after a meeting the country's deputy prime minister.

  6. Currencies

    The Pound remains above €1.35 against the euro, it rose 0.13% to €1.3562 and against the dollar it was up 0.1% at $1.549.

  7. Via Blog

    Robert Peston

    Economics editor

    Blogs: "There is a paradox in Germany financial Puritanism... If Greece were to leave the euro, Gernany's losses would be greater than any other country's, as Greece's biggest indirect creditor via bailout loans and European Central Bank support."

  8. Market update

    Flat. That's how the FTSE 100 closed, down 1.83 points at 6896.25. -1.83 is down 36 points, or 0.5%, to 6,861, dragged down by Centrica, whose shares 8.5%. BAE Systems, an earlier faller, finished up almost 1% on comments defence spending might be about to rise. In Frankfurt and Paris, the Dax rose 0.36% to 11,000.85 and the CAC 40 was up 0.63%.

  9. Energy supplies

    Further indications there's a lot of energy lying about. Following reports US oil stocks have jumped, gas oil stocks held at the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam hub hit a new record high of 3.15 million tonnes this week.

  10. Wal-Mart staff boost

    Wal-Mart protests

    Wal-Mart has been under pressure for years to raise pay. Staff will now start on $9 an hour, $1.75 above the minimum US wage. Another important promise to improve staff conditions is to find ways to be able to schedule worker shifts further in advance. Campaigners have long complained about split shifts and late call-outs required of staff.

  11. Wal-Mart staff boost

    Endorsement for the Wal-Mart management from a fellow corporate American colossus, Marissa Mayer, the Yahoo chief. She tweets: "So happy for @Walmart associates and proud of @Walmart mgmt. A great leadership decision by Doug McMillon."

  12. Wal-Mart staff boost

    Doug McMillion

    Mr McMillon's letter to staff contains this emollient: "We... made a few changes aimed at productivity and efficiency that undermined the feeling of ownership some of you have for your business. When we take a step back, it's clear to me that one of our highest priorities must be to invest more in our people this year." It is well worth a read. And there's footage, too.

  13. Wal-Mart staff boost

    Wal-Mart's CEO Doug McMillon speaks to staff about the pay rise and educational opportunities it's affording them: "This company has given so many of us opportunities beyond our wildest dreams. We joined Walmart because we wanted a job but found much more than that. This company is a really special place." I feel the company dance coming on...

  14. Wal-Mart staff boost

    The climate underpinning Wal-Mart's move to boost pay and opportunities for staff is highlighted by weekly jobs stats from the US. The number of people looking for unemployment benefits last week fell sharply. Demand for labour is rising in the US.

  15. Air France - strike costs

    Air France planes

    Air France has said that a two-week pilot strike in September 2014 had an impact on its bottom line. In 2014 Air France-KLM made a net loss of €198m (£147m). Without the impact of the strike, the firm would have made a net profit of €296m. Shares are down 4.5%.

  16. BAE Systems

    The fight against terrorism and in particular Islamic State may could provide a boost to BAE Systems, which has suffered from years of government military spending cuts. "Defence and security is high on governments' priorities at the moment," Ian King, the chief executive, told reporters after BAE posted profit figures. He noted that, for the first time, Middle Eastern countries were deploying their military against Islamic State.

  17. Oil falls

    US stock piles are thought to be at a record high. American Petroleum Institute figures showed stocks rose by 14.3 million barrels last week. Is that a lot? Oh wow, yes. The biggest jump since 1982.

  18. Oil falls

    WTI chart

    Oil is down around 4% a barrel - both the UK's benchmark Brent and US WTI. West Texas is just above $50 a barrel in early US dealings.

  19. Market update

    The US markets open lower. Falls in oil and gas company shares are leading the way down. The Dow Jones is 0.5% lower at 17,936, the S&P 500 is 0.4% lower at 2,092 points and the Nasdaq is 0.11% lower at 4,901.02.

  20. Wal-Mart staff boost

    Wal-Mart store

    It appears Wal-Mart is taking steps to help its employees. It just announced a plan to boost wages and educational opportunities for its half a million US workers. Both full and part timers are getting a pay rise this year and next.

  21. Ukraine gas

    Ukraine has had to suspend gas supplies to its eastern regions, says the state gas firm Naftogaz. It says fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government forces has left the gas network damaged. It's not yet safe to fix it, it says.

  22. Post update

    Rebecca Marston

    Business reporter, BBC News

    Hello. I'm back in place as your afternoon Business Live host. Brace yourself.

  23. 'Rift' between Germany and EC

    Mark Lowen

    Germany and the European Commission appear to be divided over Greece, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Athens. The German rejection of the Greek proposal after an encouraging EC statement suggests "a rift between Brussels and Berlin at the very highest level on this," he says. "It's not yet clear which side will prevail, and which side will give ground, but clearly the hopes that Greece was moving towards a deal... have been thrown into doubt once again."

  24. Asda sales down

    Asda logo

    Asda reported a 2.6% fall in like-for-like sales over the Christmas trading quarter, which comprised the 12 weeks to 4 January. Asda is owned by US retail giant Walmart. The big supermarket chains struggled over Christmas. Tesco reported a 2.9% sales fall, Sainsbury was down 1.7%.

  25. ECB divided over QE

    Euro notes

    The European Central Bank has released minutes from the policy meeting where the governing council decided to launch a massive bond buying scheme to lift European economies (also know as quantitative easing or QE). It confirms what we suspected, that there were divisions at the ECB over whether to launch the programme. "In the view of some members there appeared to be no urgent need for monetary policy action," the minutes say.

  26. Germany rejects Greek proposal

    German parliament

    The German finance ministry rejected a new proposal from Athens on Thursday for an extension of its bailout programme, saying it fell short of the conditions set out by Greece's eurozone partners. "The letter from Athens is not a proposal that leads to a substantial solution," ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said in a statement. "In truth it goes in the direction of a bridge financing, without fulfilling the demands of the programme. The letter does not meet the criteria agreed by the Eurogroup on Monday."

  27. Market update

    FTSE 100

    After early losses the FTSE 100 has crept into positive territory. Following a recent bad run, shares in Rolls-Royce are leading the FTSE higher, up 2.5%. Centrica is still the biggest loser, down 8.5% after cutting its dividend.

  28. EC: Greece request 'positive'

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

    Greece's request for a debt extension is a positive step towards a compromise, an EC spokesman has said. "(European Commission) President Juncker sees this letter as a positive sign, which, in his assessment, could pave the way for a reasonable compromise in the interest of the financial stability in the euro area as a whole," Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news briefing.

  29. Via Blog

    Centrica boss urges UK - stay in Europe

    Kamal Ahmed

    BBC Business editor

    Iain Conn, Centrica's chief executive, told me: "In my view Britain is better off inside Europe". "There are some new competitors who we haven't seen for 100 years, such as China and India and they are very big, as big as Europe in total or bigger.

  30. CBI manufacturing data

    Car manufacturing

    Manufacturers have "more of a spring in their step" this month, according to a report from the CBI employers' group. Growth in output volumes is the highest level for seven months, and export orders are at a six-month high. "The drop in oil prices is good news for the manufacturing sector in the UK, bringing with it lower operating costs, but North Sea producers are clearly suffering," said CBI economics director Rain Newton-Smith.

  31. Lenovo computers

    Lenovo computer

    China's Lenovo Group, the world's largest PC maker, has been forced on the defensive today amid claims it pre-installed a virus-like software on its laptops that makes them more vulnerable to hacking. Cybersecurity experts say the Superfish programme is malicious software. Lenovo has told the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones that it has removed Superfish from new PCs, disabled it on existing PCs and is "thoroughly investigating all and any new concerns".

  32. Allan Leighton

    New Co-operative Group chairman Allan Leighton has the company running through his veins. "I grew up with this business, because my father ran the local Co-op," he says. "I have a very real understanding of the importance of the Co-operative to local communities."

  33. Allan Leighton

    Allan Leighton

    Allan Leighton, formerly of the Royal Mail and Asda, is to be the Co-operative Group's first independent non-executive chairman. He takes over straight way, the Co-op said in a statement.

  34. Greece debt talks

    Bild headline

    Feelings run high in Germany over giving more money to Greece. The mass market Bild features pictures of Putin and Tsipras with the headline: "The Russian or the Greek: who is more dangerous for us?" Meanwhile, a commentator in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: "The Greek government appears to believe it can treat its partners like fools."

  35. AWOL executives

    Naibu website

    This is an odd situation. British non-executive directors at Chinese sportswear maker Naibu, have had only minimal contact with the company's chairman and executive director in China. As a result they are not able to provide shareholders with an update on the company's financial position and they have called in auditors KPMG to prepare a report on the group's financial position. Naibu shares have been suspended on the AIM market since January.

  36. Greece debt talks

    AFP reports that the Eurogroup, which comprises eurozone finance ministers, the European Central bank and the European Commission will discuss Greece's loan request on Friday. At the moment we don't know exactly what Greece has proposed.

  37. Madoff: The TV show

    Richard Dreyfuss

    Actor Richard Dreyfuss (pictured) has agreed to play disgraced fund manager Bernie Madoff, according to reports. Bloomberg says the US network ABC is planning a four-hour mini-series about Madoff. In 2009 he was sentenced to 150 years in prison for masterminding a scheme that robbed investors of $65bn. HBO is also reportedly working on a show about Madoff, starring Robert De Niro.

  38. Mortgage lending falls

    The Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending was £14.3bn in January. This is a 14% fall from December's £16.6bn, and is 11% down on the £16.1bn lent in January last year.

  39. Greece debt talks

    News agencies are reporting that Greece has now formally asked the European Union for a loan extension which would buy the cash-strapped nation time to work on new anti-austerity reforms. "The request has been sent" to Brussels, a Greek government source told AFP.

  40. Newspaper review

    Newspaper review

    Greece will officially ask for a new six-month loan agreement today, says the lead article in the Telegraph's business section. The ECB has extended emergency funding for Greek banks, reports the Guardian business page. The Financial Times leads with the raid by Swiss prosecutors on HSBC offices in Geneva. The Times business section reports that the Competition and Markets Authority is looking at whether a ban on regional pricing in the energy market has hindered competition.

  41. Market update

    FTSE 100

    The FTSE 100 is down 36 points, or 0.5%, to 6,861, dragged down by Centrica and BAE Systems. They were down 8% and 1.9% respectively as investors reacted negatively to the companies' profits figures. In Frankfurt and Paris, the Dax fell 0.6% and the CAC 40 0.5%.

  42. Centrica woes - customer bills

    BBC Radio 4

    Centrica chief executive Iain Conn says there is "an awful lot of scepticism" about a 5% cut for customer bills in January, considering upsteam oil and gas prices halved in 2014. "I can assure you that that 5% really does represent the reduction in our view of overall costs coming down in 2015," he said.

  43. Centrica: Fuel bills

    BBC Radio 4

    Gas ring

    Centrica chief executive Iain Conn describes people who do not switch between suppliers to get the best prices as "inactive customers", rather than loyal customers. On Wednesday a report by the competition regulator found that customers who had not switched supplier were paying significantly more for their energy than new customers. Mr Conn explained that customers who switch benefit from fixed-price contracts that take advantage of "a falling market".

  44. Childcare costs

    Radio 5 live

    Child plays with train

    The average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two has risen 33% since 2010, according to The Family and Childcare Trust's annual survey. Caroline Price the Director of Nurseries at the Big Life Group tells Radio 5 live that it is hard to find suitably qualified and experienced staff. The government could help the sector find and train staff she says.

  45. French deflation

    Eiffel tower

    French year-on-year inflation turned negative for the first time in more than five years in January, the INSEE national statistics office said. Consumer prices fell -1.1% in January, giving a year-on-year inflation rate of -0.4%. The last time French annual inflation was negative was in October 2009, when it hit -0.2%. The figures will fuel worries about deflation across the eurozone.

  46. Centrica cuts investment

    BBC Radio 4

    BP platform in North Sea

    Centrica chief executive Iain Conn says North Sea capital investment will be cut by 40% between now and 2016 due to the falling oil prices. The firm will also "really pare down operating costs". "Other companies are doing the same thing. It's difficult, but it is what we have to do to position the company sustainably," he said.

  47. Investment banking market under scrutiny

    City of London

    The market for investment and corporate banking is to be studied by the Financial Conduct Authority. A recent review of competition in the sector found "limited clarity over price and quality of services". Terms of reference for the study will be published in the Spring, the FCA said.

  48. Greece loan talks

    BBC Radio 4

    Flag on White House

    Randy Krozner, a University of Chicago professor of economics, tells the Today programme that US president Barack Obama is taking a keen interest in Greece's eurozone loan negotiations due to possible impacts on US trade and foreign policy. "The US is involved with Europe in some very nasty international challenges, so economic strength in Europe is crucial for overall success of foreign policy, and for security."

  49. Centrica woes

    BBC Radio 4

    Centrica chief executive Iain Conn tells the Today programme that a fall in upstream oil and gas prices and "rather unusual weather patterns" had contributed to a 30% drop in earnings last year. "Certainly 2014 was not the year we had planned," he said.

  50. Majestic boss steps down

    Majestic Wine Warehouse

    After 29 years at the business, the chief executive of Majestic Wine, Steve Lewis, is stepping down. Finance director, Nigel Alldritt will become interim chief executive. The company said that a "busy" phase of development will require leadership "commitment and continuity".

  51. BAE Systems results

    Eurofighter Typhoon

    Defence giant BAE Systems saw operating profit last year jump from £806m to £1.3bn. But sales fell to £16.6bn from £18.1bn, according to the company's latest results. Chief executive Ian King said there are signs that the key US defence market is improving.

  52. Centrica woes

    Gas ring

    After a "very difficult year" Centrica is cutting its dividend, costs and investment, chief executive Iain Conn said in a statement with the 2014 results. The owner of British Gas reported an adjusted operating profit of £1.746bn last year, a 35% drop on the previous year.

  53. Eurozone woes

    BBC Radio 4

    Parthenon

    In the midst of negotiations between Greece and the EU over Greece's loan, Gerard Lyons, economic adviser to mayor of London Boris Johnson, tells the Today programme that the situation in the eurozone should concern the UK. "The big problem globally is Europe. While Greece is the current focus of tension, the real issue in the eurozone is that the eurozone is suffering from a lack of demand, a lack of lending, and a lack of confidence."

  54. Air France-KLM

    Air France tailfins

    Air France is planning to accelerate cost cuts and is cutting investment. The news came along with the company's full year results which were hit by a lengthy pilots strike. The EBITDA measure of profits showed a fall of €266m to €1.598bn. Aviation analyst Norman Gage, from New Generation Technology, tells World Business Report that the falling oil price may offer some respite.

  55. US manufacturing

    BBC World News

    John Lundgren

    The man who runs Stanley Black&Decker, a firm synonymous in DIY circles with power tools, has been on World Business Report talking about re-shoring manufacturing back to the US. The company recently produced its first power tool in the US in 25 years. John Lundgren says the US labour costs are now as competitive as China's. What's more: "We've been pleasantly surprised by the customer reaction to products built in the US," he says.

  56. Japanese shares at 15-year high

    Radio 5 live

    Share price board, Tokyo

    Japanese shares have closed at a 15-year high. Confidence was boosted by strong Japanese trade data - exports surged 17% in January compared to the previous year. The Nikkei 225 closed 65 points higher at 18,264, the highest close since May 2000. Banks were among the biggest winners on Thursday.

  57. Fingerprint recognition

    Radio 5 live

    Fingerprint

    "The adoption is very rapid. You are going to see this everywhere," says Dave Birch, director of Consult Hyperion about fingerprint technology. From today RBS and NatWest customers can access their bank accounts on their smartphones using their fingerprints. "This technology is about convenience," he says, and it's "annoying" when websites don't accept fingerprint ID.

  58. Centrica results

    British gas van

    British Gas owner Centrica reports results at 07:00GMT. "They are going to be poor, that's been well flagged," said Colin McClean, Managing Director of SVM Asset Management on Wake Up to Money. "We might even see a dividend cut," says Mr McClean. There is also likely to be some cost cutting, he said.

  59. Strong pound

    Radio 5 live

    Pound euro

    The pound has held on to gains made on Wednesday against the euro, when it hit a seven-year high against the single currency. Colin McClean, Managing Director of SVM Asset Management tells Wake Up to Money that "with the ECB printing money" there's concern over the euro. Strong UK data on jobs and wages boosted the pound yesterday.

  60. Post update

    Ben Morris

    Business Reporter

    Good morning! We've got results from Centrica and BAE Systems this morning. If you want to get in touch email bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or tweet @bbcbusiness.