That's all we have time for on Business Live today and this week - thanks for reading. We are back at 0600 on Monday for the first five-day trading week of April. Do join us then and have a good weekend.
- Carrefour reports healthy quarterly sales
- Samsung to start selling latest flagship phone
- BG Group warned over payout to chief executive
One of the stories of the day has been GE's decision to substantially shrink its lending arm, GE Capital. GE chief executive Jeff Immelt says the company aims to generate 90% of its profits from industrial operations by 2018: "We just think the market timing is very good vis-a-vis the value of financial service assets. There have been moments in the past when there weren't a lot of buyers. Now there are." Times have changed indeed.
Google has been granted a patent for a new system that could stop web users seeing spoilers for the plots of TV shows (such as Netflix's the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, pictured) and movies before they have watched them. However, Google says it is not necessarily planning to create a product. "We hold patents on a variety of ideas; some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't," a spokesman said.
Charles Arthur, technology journalist
Not great news for Ukraine: ratings agency Standard & Poor's has cut the war-torn nation's credit rating by one notch - even further into junk territory - because of its intention to restructure foreign currency debt. The move is "tantamount to default", S&P said. "We are lowering our long-term foreign currency ratings on Ukraine to CC from CCC-", with a negative outlook.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb has commented on today's surprise news that Majestic Wine hadbought its online rival Naked Wines for £70m and installed its founder, Rowan Gormley, as chief executive. "Given the pressure on its core business from the supermarkets, Majestic Wine needed to inject new management and a new online approach, but buying Naked Wines seems an expensive way of killing two birds with one stone, so we hope that Majestic's experienced chairman Phil Wrigley knows what he's doing," Mr Bubb says.
Aviva has cut the potential long-term bonus payout for chief executive Mark Wilson and chief financial officer Tom Stoddard after pressure from an unnamed shareholder group. Mr Wilson's maximum payout under the LTIP scheme has been cut from a maximum of 350% of his base pay in five years time to 300%, with a similar reduction for Mr Stoddard from 250% to 225%. Patricia Cross, chairman of the insurer's remuneration committee, said: "The board was disappointed to receive feedback this week from a shareholder voting agency which expressed concern over the proposed LTIP awards, despite the tangible progress made by the management team and the award being within the company's remuneration policy."
Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein's total compensation hit $24m last year - up 4.3% on 2013. The investment bank boss's base pay was unchanged at $2m, but his cash bonus jumped by more than $1m to $7.33m, according to aregulatory filing. Mr Blankfein was awarded shares and options worth $7.33m each. Not far behind was chief financial officer Harvey Schwartz, whose annual compensation rose about 4.8% to $22m.
Richard Solomons, chief executive of InterContinental Hotels Group, has been appointed as a non-executive director of Marks and Spencer. Robert Swannell, M&S chairman, said: "He is a CEO with a proven track record in a global consumer business and will bring a wealth of relevant experience." He takes up the role on Monday.
Juliet Samuel, Wall Street Journal reporter
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research's monthly GDP estimate suggests that the UK's economy expanded by 0.6% in the three months to March - the same pace as the three months to February. "Our calculations suggest that the recent weak performance in the production and construction sectors have weighed down on economic growth in the first quarter by approximately 0.15 percentage points," NIESR notes.
Bombardier, the Canadian company making thecarriages for London's Crossrail, is looking at selling some or all of its transportation unit, according to Reuters. Its report says that a sale or IPO could be worth as much as $5bn. The move has been sparked by huge cost overruns in its aircraft business.
Facing a dull Friday afternoon? Fear not - Yanis Varoufakis hastweeted a link to an hour-long YouTube video of him speaking with American economist Joseph Stiglitz at an event in Paris on Thursday organised by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. The Greek finance minister and the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics discuss the eurozone - and Greece.
In case you've been living under a rock, orders for the Apple Watch open today. It may not be the first thing that springs to mind, but there will be an online share trading app tailored to the smartwatch from IG Group. The app will automatically install itself onto the watch if it has already been downloaded to users' iPhones,IG said. I hope it is able to respond to yells of "buy!" or "sell!".
Hello from me, Chris Johnston, and thanks to Tom Espiner and Ben Morris for this morning's coverage. I'm here with the rest of Friday's business news and views until 1800.
BBC World Service Business reporter
Armed with maths,BBC head of statistics Anthony Reuben has been hacking through political statements to find out what's really going on. Today it's Labour's claim that it will protect 10,000 police jobs, which would otherwise have been lost over the next three years.
Austria is to ban smoking in cafes and restaurants from 2018 after many years of debate. "We have at last joined Europe in terms of protecting non-smokers," health minister Sabine Oberhauser said. Smoking is already banned in public places in Austria, but restaurants and cafes are exempt.
The Business live page has drawn Dolatulo in the Grand National sweep. "More chance of the Liver Birds laying eggs than this fellow winning," says Sky's Ed Chamberlin, in his form guide.
With uncertainty over the outcome of next month's election, the pound hasfallen to around 1.46 against the US dollar, its lowest level since June 2010. Figures showing industrial production grew by just 0.1% in February may also have had an impact on sterling.
TheFTSE 100 share index is hovering around 7043.25, quite near its 7065.08 record intra day high. Its record closing high of 7,037.67 was reached last month. Shares in drugs firm Shire are leading the index after the US Food and Drug Administration granted a priority review to the firm's dry-eye disease treatment Lifitegrast.
People who were affected by the French air traffic control strikes on Wednesday and Thursday have been writing in to BBC News. Sheryl Sinden in Doncaster said that many UK Taekwondo competitors were not able to make it over for the Spanish Open Championships for the martial art in Pontevedra. "This is a qualification tournament for selection to represent GBR in major competitions later this year," she said. "When people realised the flight was cancelled everyone tried to book on others but there was little availability..."
High frequency trading allows some traders to beat the market, cheating ordinary investors of a small sum per trade,author Michael Lewis tells BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed. "To me it's offensive that you have rich traders skimming off middle class savers, and the skim is very small, it's pennies a transaction, but when you add it up, it's billions of dollars. Weaving that unfairness into the financial markets, especially at a time when inequality is a problem, seems crazy to me."
General Electric is to sell off most of its GE Capital property portfolio for $26.5bn (£18bn),it has announced, to investors including Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo. Its board has also authorised a share buyback program of up to $50bn.
"The US Treasury paints a positive picture of trends in the British economy. It is highly critical of Germany, China, Japan and Korea (in that order) for generating huge current account surpluses. It implicitly accuses them of yet again exporting big debts to the rest of the world, to deficit countries like the UK and the US. "
A giant project to build a ring road around Sao Paulo has run into trouble, reports the BBC's South America business correspondent, Daniel Gallas. The situation is so bad that the state government is considering opening the bidding process all over again. The construction company building the new road is one of many firms caught up in the investigation of allegations ofcorruption at state oil giant, Petrobras.
Senior UK Economist, Capital Economics
"We doubt that today's weak production figures signal that the economic recovery is beginning to hit the buffers. The initial official estimates are often revised and recent amendments have more often been up than down. Meanwhile, the stimulus provided to the non-oil sector from lower crude prices, cheaper credit and somewhat stronger demand in the euro-zone all suggest that the recovery is poised to gain rather than lose pace this year."
French and Indian officials have reportedly been working through the night on a deal that would see France supply 63 Rafale combat jets to India in a €7.2bn deal. That'saccording to Le Monde newspaper. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is visiting Paris on Friday and Saturday and the newspaper says the deal could be announced during the visit. The Rafale is made by Dassault Aviation. Its shares are up 2.8%.
UK industrial output rose by just 0.1% in February,official figures show. Construction output fell by 0.9%. There was a dramatic fall the output of North Sea oil and gas, down 12% in February compared with a year earlier.
UK interest rates are not going up "any time soon" says Colin McLean of SVM. "What we're seeing is very low inflation, particularly in the shops, retail price inflation now negative over the last couple of months, so that's not going to give the Bank of England any scope for raising rates any time soon."
US authorities are investigating high frequency trading, which involves computers buying and selling shares in fractions of seconds. Michael Lewis, who has written about the phenomena tells BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed that "pretty much everybody, even the more hopeful characters... have completely given up on regulators." He is encouraged though by the success of the IEX marketplace, which he says is a market answer to the problem.
The new Samsung S6 solves a "short-term" problem for Samsung, says electronics analysts Pelham Smithers on Bloomberg TV. "Looks were killing them", and the new phone looks as nice as its Apple rival, he says. From here they are going to have to turn the phone into "something they can sell in the mass market". He also points out that there is not much loyalty to Android phones.
Crunch time for Greece will come this month, Colin McLean of SVM tells Business Live. Although it made a €450m repayment deadline to IMF and EU creditors yesterday, there are other payments later this month he says. "Greece is really caught between its own electors and the European bankers," he says. "It's going to have to let one or the other down in the course of this month."
Carrefourposted a 3.2% rise in first quarter sales, which was better than analysts were expecting. "Excellent" was how Bruno Monteyne, a retail expert at Bernstein, described the performance. Growth in Latin America and at its French hypermarkets were behind the rise. However, Mr Monteyne cautions: "While the patient is out of the emergency ward, it is now in the sick ward and we do not see its return to rude health yet. "