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Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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Over and out...

That's all we have time for today on Business Live - thanks for reading. We are back tomorrow at 0600 - do join us then.

Wall Street close

US stocks ended the day lower, with the

Dow Jones down 0.5% at 18,105 points, and the
S&P 500 similarly off 0.5% at 2,105 points, while the technology-dominated
Nasdaq slipped 0.2% to 4,993 points.

Google cars

Google self driving car
Justin Sullivan

Google's self-driving cars, of which more than 20 are on California roads, have been involved in about 11 minor accidents - none of which were their fault, apparently. "We've been hit from behind seven times, mainly at traffic lights but also on the freeway," Chris Urmson, the head of Google's autonomous car program, said in an online post. "We've also been side-swiped a couple of times and hit by a car rolling through a stop sign... Even when our software and sensors can detect a sticky situation and take action earlier and faster than an alert human driver, sometimes we won't be able to overcome the realities of speed and distance."

Shell's Arctic plans

US regulators have promised to subject Royal Dutch Shell to "rigorous safety standards" after the oil major cleared a big bureaucratic hurdle to its Arctic drilling plans. After approving Shell's exploration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says: "We have taken a thoughtful approach to carefully considering potential exploration in the Chukchi Sea, recognizing the significant environmental, social and ecological resources in the region and establishing high standards for the protection of this critical ecosystem, our Arctic communities, and the subsistence needs and cultural traditions of Alaska Natives."

Wall Street update

US stocks are drifting lower in late-afternoon trading, on course to shed some of the gains made last week. Falling oil prices pulled down energy stocks. The

Dow Jones is down 0.34%, while the
S&P 500 is off 0.35%. The tech-rich
Nasdaq slipped 0.07%.

Greek debt talks

Greek and EU flags in front of Parthenon
Getty Images

Europe's Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, has been talking about today's debt talks with Greece. There was, apparently, "constructive discussions" on VAT reform, improving tax collection, and how to deal with none-performing loans. Areas of "divergence" included pensions and labour market reforms.

Shell's Arctic plans

arctic ocean

Royal Dutch Shell's plans to re-start oil drilling in the US Arctic for the first time since 2012 took a big step forward on Monday when the Department of Interior gave its conditional approval. Shell must now get several permits from the federal government and the state of Alaska in order to begin drilling this summer.

Greek debt talks

People hold a placard depicting the Greek flag and 'not for sale' during a massive protest rally against austerity measures organized by Universities lectors in front of the Athens university 31 May 2011
AFP / getty images

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has played down speculation throughout Monday that the country could hold a referendum on any new bailout deal agreed with creditors. "A referendum is always available... It is a tool available to the Greek government," he says, adding: "At the moment it's not on the radar as far as we are concerned."

Via Twitter

Greek debt talks

Robert Peston

Economics editor

tweets: So @yanisvaroufakis implies Greece has two weeks to receive additional bailout credit or default inevitable

Via Twitter

Picasso auction

World Service

Getty Images

Picasso painting that "ticks all the boxes" may become world's most expensive at auction in New York tonight. Listen to the story from World Business Report


More on Greece

Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Getty Images

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chair of the eurozone finance ministers, said Greece could start receiving some emergency funding if it starts reforms agreed with its creditors - but warned that a referendum could delay that process. "It is vital that we not only get an agreement on paper but that implementation starts. Presumably if you have a referendum you will not start implementing before you have done it and then it doesn't seem to make sense," he said in Brussels on Monday.

Ministers push Athens

Eurozone finance ministers hailed the progress made by Greece in its bailout talks with its creditors from the EU and IMF creditors, but also urged Athens to speed up work to reach a deal. "We welcomed the progress that has been achieved so far ... At the same time, we acknowledged that more time and effort are needed to bridge the gaps on the remaining open issues," the ministers said in a statement after meeting in Brussels.

Volvo in the US

Volvo Cars is to build a $500m plant in the US, its first in the country, the Swedish company has announced. The factory in South Carolina will eventually employ up to 4,000 people. The first cars are expected to roll of the production line in 2018.

Citigroup settlement?

Citibank sign
Getty Images

More on that Citigroup regulatory filing over a possible settlement of claims that it rigged the huge foreign exchange market. Citigroup says it is in "active" discussions to settle the forex probe and that "a resolution with the Department of Justice could include a guilty plea on an antitrust charge". There's speculation that a settlement with US and UK regulators could be announced on Wednesday.

Via Twitter


Michelle Fleury

BBC business correspondent, New York

tweets: Citigroup could plead guilty to settle US Justice Dept probe into its foreign exchange dealings, according to its latest regulatory filing

FTSE 100 close

FTSE 100 graph

Shares dipped in late afternoon trading, having been in positive territory for most of the day. After jumping more than 2% on Friday following the Conservatives' election victory, the

FTSE 100 closed 16.97 points lower at 7,029.85. Mining shares were lifted by news of an
interest rate cut in China, the world's largest importer of raw materials. Shares in
Glencore were up 1.1%, while
Anglo American was also 1.1% higher.
Royal Mail was the top riser in the FTSE 100, climbing 3.9% to 497.60p on news that rival Whistl is cutting back operations.

European stock markets

Europe's main stock markets have closed lower, with London's benchmark

FTSE 100 index slipping 0.24% to end the day at 7,029,85 points. The
Cac 40 in Paris fell 1.23% to 5,027.87 points, while the
Dax 30 in Frankfurt slid 0.31% to 11,673.35 points.

Greek debt repayment

Greek and EU flags in front of Parthenon
Getty Images

Greece has begun the transfer of €750m owed to the International Monetary Fund one day before the payment is due, the finance ministry said on Monday. It comes as European finance ministers try to agree a deal with Greece over its debt mountain amid fears that Athens in running out of money.

Greek debt talks

The latest from Brussels is that the Eurogroup of finance ministers are preparing a short statement for release later saying that progress is being made with Greece over its debt talks. Also, Reuters is reporting that Athens has paid another tranche of money owed to the International Monetary Fund. Watch this space.

Greene King/Spirit pub merger

Pub group Spirit says it does not expect the Competition and Markets Authority's probe into its takeover by Greene King to be de-railed. "The parties are now putting proposals to the CMA to address its concerns,"

Spirit says in a statement. "The parties are confident that these proposals will enable the transaction to be approved." Greene King said much the same earlier.

Via Twitter

Scotland's economy

Douglas Fraser

Business and economy editor, Scotland

tweets: Economics prof @davidnfbell on full fiscal autonomy: claims made for it "would require a miraculous turnaround": …

Wall Street open

Wall Street is off to a lacklustre start. Stocks were little changed at the start of trading as investors awaited further news of talks between Greece and international creditors. About 30 minutes into trading, the

Dow Jones was down 0.08%, while the
S&P 500 was off just 0.01%. The tech-rich
Nasdaq gained 0.19%.

Whistl stops

Whistl sorting office

Unions are reacting to news that postal service

Whistl is suspending deliveries, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk. Dave Ward, general secretary-elect of the Communication Workers Union, says it reflects the regulator's attempts to introduce competition at a time when the market is shrinking. "Ofcom needs to pay attention to the impact of competition in the postal market which is not only causing job losses but playing a leading role in driving terms and conditions downwards. The sad truth is, if Whistl had been successful then it would have been at the expense of even more job losses in Royal Mail."

Greene King/Spirit merger

Greene King's boss says the Competition and Market Authority's decision to probe its planned merger with rival pub group Spirit shouldn't be too much of a problem. Responding to the CMA's announcement, Rooney Anand says: "This is a sensible decision by the CMA, reflecting a small number of local areas where competition may be diminished... We are confident we will be able to offer suitable undertakings, which will keep the number of pubs we need to sell to a minimum."

FTSE 100 update

fTSE 100 graph

Royal Mail shares continue to bask in
the news that rival service Whistl is retrenching. The stock is up 3.65%, taking it to the top of the
FTSE 100, which is just in positive territory with a rise of 0.07%. Investment firm
St James's Place, down 2.23%, is the main loser.

Greek referendum in focus

Wolfgang Schaeuble
Getty Images

Arriving in Brussels for the Eurogroup meeting, Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says it could be helpful for the Greek government to hold a referendum on a cash-for-reform deal with its creditors to stay in the eurozone. "Maybe this would be the right measure to let the Greek people decide if it is ready to accept what is necessary or if they want to have the other thing," he says.

Green King/Spirit merger hits hurdle

Greene King pub
Greene King

Greene King's plan to take over the Spirit Pub Company has hit a hurdle. The
Competition and Markets Authority says the deal will be referred for an in-depth investigation unless "acceptable undertakings are offered". The CMA says in a small number of areas, Greene King's pubs, which including Eating Inn and Farmhouse Inns, are the only competitors to Spirit Pub's brands, and the loss of competition here could mean a hike in prices or that quality deteriorates.

EU says it will persuade Britain to stay

Pierre Moscovici,
Getty Images

Arriving in Brussels for the Eurogroup meeting, Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, has said that the EU will work to ensure that Britain remains in the union. "My conviction, my true belief is that the place of Great Britain is obviously in the EU. It's in the interest of the EU, it's in the interest of Great Britain and when it's in the interest of both I'm not worried," he says.

Fitness First fights back

Fitness first gym
Fitness First

Fitness First, which runs 377 gyms globally, has reported profits fell 49% to £14.9m for the year to the end of October. But it's not all bad news. The gym chain,
which narrowly avoided administration in 2012, is now two years through its three-year "transformation programme" and says "signs of the turnaround of the group are clearly evident". It has now rebranded a third of its clubs and says these are performing well. "We reached the turning point during the latter part of 2014," says group chief executive Andy Cosslett.

The unsurprising rate decision

It is now the 75th month in a row that the Bank of England has held interest rates at 0.5%. As Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf points out: "The only surprise about today's interest rate decision is it came on a Monday rather than a Thursday". Mr Khalaf expects interest rates to stay low for "the foreseeable future".

Via Email

UK interest rates

Samuel Tombs

Senior UK Economist, Capital Economics

"It would take a major change in the inflation outlook for an interest rate rise to come back on the table this year. While one or two members might start to vote to raise rates soon, we continue to think that a majority will not be mustered to raise them until the second quarter of 2016."

Shadow chancellor confirmed

Daily Politics, the Economy Debate

Chris Leslie has been confirmed as shadow chancellor, filling the post that was opened when Ed Balls lost his seat. Mr Leslie had been serving as the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

UK rates unchanged

The Bank of England has left interest rates unchanged at 0.5%. We might get some hints about the future course of interest rates on Wednesday, when the Bank's governor Mark Carney presents his quarterly update on inflation and the economy.

Tesco shares rise

Tesco shares

Tesco's shares rose ahead of the announcement confirming Deloitte as its new auditor, and are still 2% higher. It's fairly impressive compared to the
FTSE 100 which is up just 0.1%. Joshua Raymond, chief market strategist at City Index, says the shares are also being boosted by speculation that the supermarket chain is looking for buyers of its mobile unit. He calculates that any sale should be "around the £700m mark or even as high as £850m given mobile contributes around £100m to Tesco profits each year."

Tesco confirms new auditor

Tesco bags

Supermarket chain Tesco, which last year rocked the city

after it admitted it had overstated its profits by £263m, has
confirmed that it has appointed Deloitte as its new auditor. PwC, its auditor for some 32 years, will stand down at the end of the company's annual meeting this year. Tesco said it and PwC had "mutually agreed" it would not take part in the tender process.

Pound stays up

pound coins and notes
Getty Images

The pound is holding onto its gains following Friday's post-election bounce - just. It's currently up

0.1% against the US dollar and
0.5% against the euro. But Jameel Ahmad, chief market analyst at FXTM, suggests the gains are now likely to be more muted. "Now that those ongoing election risks are finally out of the way, it is time for investors to begin concentrating on the economic aspects," he says.

EEF sets out its stall early

EEF, the manufacturers' organisation, has been quick off the mark to present its wishlist to new business secretary Sajid Javid, urging him to maintain funding for research and innovation as well as support "the big ticket infrastructure projects, from the new airport hub, to rail and road improvements". But top of the list is reminding him that "the vast majority of businesses he will now be representing in government want Britain to remain at the heart of a reformed Europe."

Greece not optimistic

Yanis Varoufakis
Getty Images

Greek finance minster Yanis Varoufakis is decidedly downbeat about the chances of it

securing a deal with its creditors today. Speaking ahead of today's meeting with European finance ministers Mr Varoufakis said it would be "difficult". "I think the solution will be given in the coming days and not necessarily today," he told Sto Kokkino radio.

More cabinet appointments

Priti Patel

Treasury minister Priti Patel - who had a high profile in the Tory election campaign - is to be employment minister at the Department for Work and Pensions. And Amber Rudd is the new secretary of state for energy and climate change.

Via Email

Simon Atkinson

Editor of BBC's India Business Report

Smartphone sales may be slowing in China but they're booming in India. And the devices are so popular for e-commerce that one of India's biggest online fashion retailers, Myntra says it's closing its website later this week and going app-only. Myntra is owned by the country's best-known ecommerce business Flipkart. It gets about 70% of its revenue and 90% of its traffic from apps on smartphones and tablets. Analysts expect others to follow suit.