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  1. Lloyds Bank retail share sale delayed
  2. UK economy expands 0.5% in fourth quarter
  3. EU Commission cracks down on diverted profits
  4. EU considers Google tax issues
  5. TSB annual profits plummet 60%
  6. SSE cuts gas price by 5.3% but leaves electricity prices unchanged
  7. Diageo half year sales rise 1.8%

Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

    That's it for another busy day on Business Live. We're back tomorrow morning from 06:00 - do join us then.

  2. Wall Street closes higher

    US stock markets have closed higher after wavering all day between gains and losses. Oil prices climbed for the third day this week as Russia and Opec discussed cuts in production, sending energy stocks higher.

    The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.8%, the S&P 500 edged 0.55% higher and the Nasdaq composite finished up 0.86%.

  3. Amazon shares slide

    After rising almost 9% today, shares in Amazon have sunk more than 10% in after-hours trading in New York after the e-commerce giant missed sales projections for the fourth quarter. 

    Net sales rose to $35.75bn - just short of analysts' predictions. 

    Net profit more than doubled to $482m for the three months to 31 December.

  4. Barclays sued for almost £1bn

    Amanda Staveley

    Barclays has confirmed it is being sued for almost £1bn by deal-maker Amanda Staveley (pictured) in connection with its emergency fundraising in 2008.

    The Financial Times reported that Ms Staveley's firm, PCP Capital Partners, had taken legal action against the bank in London.

    The fundraising at the height of the financial crisis aimed to bolster Barclays' financial health and prevent a UK government bailout. 

    The bank will contest the action, which it said was "misconceived and without merit".

    Read more here.

  5. Oil price above $40 'an aberration'

    Business Live page reader Vernon Hasley makes an observation about oil prices:

    Oil price chart adjusted for inflation
    Quote Message: It is plain that any oil price over $40 is an aberration and today’s levels are a true reflection of economic reality, rather than the unrealistic inflated pricing we have seen in the short-term past. American shale oil, which has been blamed in your pages, among others, for the present supply glut is uneconomic to extract at prices below $45. So Opec is hardly likely to want to support artificially inflating the price to help their biggest and most uncooperative competitor. from Vernon Halsey
    Vernon Halsey
  6. Barbie now comes in 'curvy, tall and petite


    Barbie is getting three new body types this year. 

    Mattel plans to add "tall, curvy and petite" body shapes to the doll line-up.

    Several skin tones, eye colours and hair styles will also be added.

    Barbie's figure has come under fire in recent years, with critics arguing it sets an unrealistic body image for girls.

    Read more here.

  7. Is LLoyds share sale delay bad news for investors?

    A Business Live page reader writes...

    Quote Message: Why is the delayed sale of Lloyd’s shares bad news for investors? Mr Osborne wants/needs to sell them at 74p. At the moment they are 64.53p. But at 74p less 5% (announced reduction) is a cost of 70.3p and then 10% to buyer after one year would give 77.33p, a gain of 7.03p per share. If you buy at 64.53p and they go to 74p then a gain of 9.47p; or 25.6% better than buying at 74p. Surely buying now is better for any investor wishing to buy shares is better than waiting? I know there are dealing costs but these will not be much on the £1000 suggested limit…" from David Hill
    David Hill
  8. Reports: EU offers UK 'emergency brake'

    The European union and Union flag

    The European Union is offering the UK an "emergency brake" rule that could help curb immigration from other EU states in a reform package before a UK referendum on EU membership, according to Reuters.

    The proposal would give any member state that could convince EU governments its welfare system was under excessive strain a right to deny benefits to new workers arriving from other EU countries for up to four years.

    David Cameron has been demanding a four year migrant benefit ban.

  9. France and Iran deals 'could reach €30bn'

    French President Francois Hollande and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

    France and Iran have signed a total of 20 agreements, including nine commercial deals, following the meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Francois Hollande and Hassan Rouhani.

    French and Iranian companies signed a series of agreements in the sectors of air and maritime transport, airports, health and agriculture.

    Oil and gas company Total signed an agreement with the National Iranian Oil Company on purchases of crude oil.

    The total value of the deals could reach up to €30bn, including the €22.8bn for the sale of 118 Airbus passenger aircraft to Iran Air, according to the French presidency.

  10. Labour writes to EU Commission over Google tax deal

    Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has written to the EU Commission to ask that the government's £130m tax deal with Google be investigated. Google is paying £130m in tax for a period covering ten years.

  11. Russia says Saudis proposing global oil production cut

    The Shaybah mega-project

    Russia said on Thursday that Opec's largest producer Saudi Arabia had proposed oil production cuts of up to 5% in what would be the first global deal in over a decade to help clear a glut of crude and prop up sinking prices.

    The deal, if implemented, would reduce surplus global output by 1 million barrels per day.

  12. Airbus sells Iran 118 planes

    CEO of European aerospace giant Airbus Group Thomas Enders (L) shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

    Airbus has signed a deal to sell Iran 118 passenger planes worth at least $25bn at list prices.

    But the planemaker said the deal, signed amid a raft of others during a visit by President Hassan Rouhani, was conditional on getting US export licences because more than 10% of their parts were made in the US.

    Airbus said the order comprised 12 A380s, 16 A350-1000S, 45 A320S, and 45 A330s. 

  13. Google's tax affairs 'are not private'

    A Business Live page reader writes...

    Quote Message: Google's tax affairs are not private as Kerry Stephens says. Google is a PLC and its tax affairs are audited and public. It is time for the government to change the rules so megacorps pay reasonable and proportionate tax. I do think there can be wriggle room depending on their value to society. So no discount for Sports Direct then. from Peter Brown
    Peter Brown
  14. Accused trader was 'unlikely to have caused flash crash'

    Navinder Singh Sarao leaves Westminster Magistrates Court

    A UK trader facing extradition to the US in a trial next week for allegedly helping trigger the 2010 "flash crash" probably had little, if anything, to do with the event, according to a draft academic research paper.

    It's "highly unlikely" that the actions of Navinder Singh Sarao caused the dramatic market plunge, the US researchers said. "Indeed, this paper suggests that the Flash Crash could have occurred even without Sarao's presence in the market."

  15. FTSE 100 closes lower

    The FTSE 100 has closed 1.06% lower at 5,931 points. Equipment rentals company Ashtead was the top faller on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, down 7.77% after investors were spooked by an underwhelming set of fourth-quarter results from US peer United Rentals.

  16. Wall Street wavers

    US stocks are wavering between small gains and losses following a sharp sell-off the day before.

    The Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.1%, at 15,928. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.14% to 1,885. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.46%, at 4,487.