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Live Reporting

Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Post update

    That's all for another live page. We'll be back as usual from 6am tomorrow. Good night.

  2. Trump-target Nordstrom sees sales rise

    Ivanka Trump with her husband

    US retailer Nordstrom, which came under fire from President Donald Trump, has reported a 2.4% rise in quarterly sales, sending its shares up 3.6% in after-market trading.

    The company's net income rose to $201m in the fourth quarter ending 28 January, from $180m in the same period last year.

    Net sales increased to $4.24bn from $4.14bn.

    The retailer was criticised by Trump this month for saying that it would stop selling his daughter Ivanka Trump's fashion line, citing a drop in demand. 

  3. Full stream ahead for Universal

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter


    Univeral Music - one of the big three global record labels - chalked up revenue from recorded music of €4.2bn last year - an increase of 1.8%. 

    And for the first time, revenue from streaming (almost €1.5bn) outstripped that from physical sales of CDs and the like (€1.22bn).

    Downloads continue their death spiral: the total for Universal fell 26% to €755m.

    Drake, Rihanna, Justin Beiber, Ariana Grande - and the Rolling Stones - were the Vivendi-owned label's biggest moneyspinners last year.

  4. Tax cut hopes bolster shares

    The Dow Jones and S&P 500 edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by energy stocks and a renewed pledge by President Donald Trump to chief executives of major US companies to bring back millions of jobs to America through an overhaul of the tax regime.

    At the closing bell, the Dow was up 34.24 points, or 0.16%, to 20,809.84, and the S&P 500 gained 0.96 points, or 0.04%, to 2,363.78. However, the Nasdaq dropped 25.12 points, or 0.43%, to 5,835.51.  

  5. UniCredit moves stop closer to plugging financial hole

    UniCredit bank branch

    UniCredit's bid to bolster its balance sheet has taken a big step forward. 

    The Italian bank has that its record €13bn share issue had been almost fully subscribed, a boost for new boss Jean-Pierre Mustier's strategy to relaunch the country's biggest bank. 

    In a statement, the bank said the cash call had been 99.8% subscribed. 

    UniCredit will use the money to rebuild capital after a balance-sheet clean-up led to a €13.6bn fourth-quarter loss.

  6. Razor wars

    Belgian hairdresser Piet Satter

    Here's a story that should interest men fed up with having to take out a bank loan every time they buy a razor.

    Procter & Gamble has said it will sharply reduce prices of its Gillette brand. From April, prices will fall by as much as 20%. 

    The move looks like a response to online rivals like Dollar Shave and Harry's, which have been eating in to Gillette's dominant market share.

    You may also have noticed that there are also more beards around these days.

    Sales of men's disposable razors fell 5.9% last year, according to data company Nielsen.

    "We'll soon be making pricing interventions to better position our brands at all levels of the pricing ladder," finance chief Jon Moeller told a conference in Florida. The average price cut will be double-digits, he said.  

    In case you're wondering about the picture. Nothing to do with Gillette, but it's a impressive 1.95-metre beard worn a few years ago by Belgian hairdresser Piet Satter.

  7. Safran fires back at TCI hedge fund

    Aero engine developed by Safran and GE

    A war of words involving French jet engine maker Safran and a big UK hedge fund has intensified.

    Safran has proposed a $9bn agreed takeover of Zodiac to create one of the world's biggest aerospace suppliers.

    Last week The Children's Investment Fund (TCI) run by Sir Chris Hohn, launched a bid to block the takeover, saying it had "no strategic rationale".

    Now Safran has fired back with a six-page rebuttal that accuses TCI of waging a public campaign to undermine it.

    "The board is not for turning," Safran Chairman Ross McInnes told Reuters later.

    It sounds like this row is far from over.

  8. VW executive appears in US court

    Oliver Schmidt

    A Volkswagen executive who was arrested in the US before he could fly home to Germany has appeared in Detroit federal court on charges related to the company's emissions scandal.

    A not-guilty plea was entered Thursday on Oliver Schmidt's behalf. He is charged with conspiracy and other offences in Volkswagen's scheme to sell nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that did not meet US pollution standards.

    Schmidt was manager of a VW office in Detroit from 2012 to 2015. He was arrested at the Miami airport on 7 January after a holiday in Florida and Cuba. 

    His lawyer plans to seek his release. Five other VW executives charged in the case are in Germany.      

  9. Boeing 'not competitive'

    Trump at Boeing

    Boeing is one company that appears to be firmly on board the Trump wagon. 

    Chief financial officer Greg Smith says its commercial plane division is "not competitive" under current US tax rules and the company is using its access to the Trump administration to press for changes. 

    Tax reform is "going to drive growth, it's going to drive our US economy, it's going to create jobs, it's going to allow us to make more investments in our people, in our factories, in our products", he told an investor conference organised by Barclays today. 

    "We're not competitive today ... and we're thankful to have the opportunity to have the podium and talk about it and, hopefully, help the administration think that through as they're deciding on where they want to go with this."  

  10. Pounded

    Simon Gompertz

    The new 12-sided pound coin is launched next month.

    The Royal Mint is already striking them and has been showing them to our personal finance correspondent.

    Video content

    Video caption: Mint unveils new 12-sided pound coin
  11. Wall Street falters


    Wall Street has lost ground in afternoon trading, with the Dow Jones still just in positive territory, up 24 points at 20,799, while the S&P is also in the black at 2,363 points.

    The Nasdaq Composite, however, is down 0.4% and set for its worst day this month. 

  12. John Lewis axes jobs

    John lewis store

    John Lewis has announced plans to cut hundreds of jobs in a reorganisation of its soft furnishings retailing business and the way it runs its in-store restaurants. 

    Britain's biggest department store group said it would be creating 386 other jobs, which will be offered to the 773 staff who face redundancy.

    Its estimation and fitting service for curtains and carpets will move out of individual stores to a central location that can also serve online customers. 

    It will also reduce on-site preparation of foods in its restaurants.

  13. Trump plots policies to return jobs from China

    Donald Trump

    After his meeting with chief executives from some of the biggest names in corporate America, it was clear President Trump still has China and Mexico in his sights.

    Promising to get companies to bring back jobs to the US, he singled out the two countries. "The United States lost one third of our manufacturing jobs since NAFTA, an unbelievable number," he said, pointing to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    He added that "70,000 factories closed since China joined the WTO (World Trade Organisation)." 

     "When I used to hear that statistic, I used to talk about it, and I always thought it was a typo; I said 'it has to be a typo'."

  14. Tax reform and jobs

    General Electric chief Jeff Immelt tweets:

    Not much detail has emerged so far from President Trump's meeting on Thursday with the bosses of major US companies. Trump has been telling them how he plans to stop companies shifting work abroad. Now, one of the biggest of America's big corporate chiefs who was at the meeting has suggested what may have been top of the meeting's agenda.  

    View more on twitter
  15. Ex-IMF boss sentenced

    Rodrigo Rato

    Former International Monetary Fund chief Rodrigo Rato was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison by Spain's High Court on Thursday following a scandal over the widespread misuse of company credit cards during his tenure at lender Bankia.

    Rato, who was economy minister in Spain and a prominent figure in the ruling People's Party before moving to the IMF, chaired Bankia for two years until just before its state bailout in 2012.

    Rato, seen here in 2015, had been on trial along with 64 other executives and former board members of Bankia and its founding savings bank Caja Madrid.

    The case is one of several high-level corruption investigations now coming to fruition and seen as a test of whether Spain's rich and powerful are accountable to the law.

    Last week, a Spanish court found the king's brother-in-law guilty of using royal connections to overcharge regional governments through public contracts. 

  16. Trump meets corporate chiefs

    Donald Trump

    President Donald Trump told about two dozen chief executives of major US companies on Thursday that he plans to bring many millions of jobs back to the US.

    He held a meeting with chief executives that included bosses from General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, Ford, United Technologies, Dell, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

    Trump is expected to roll out a series of proposals that could have big ramifications for companies, including a plan to overhaul the tax code that he has promised within weeks and an infrastructure package that was part of his 2016 presidential campaign promises.  

  17. BHS: Court needs time to consider Retail Acquisitions winding up

    BHS store

    The High Court has adjourned a bid by the administrators of BHS to take control of the company that Dominic Chappell used to buy the failed department store chain.

    Duff & Phelps is calling for Retail Acquisitions to be wound up. Mr Chappell used the company to buy BHS for £1 from Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green.

    The administrators argued there was "overwhelming evidence" that the company was insolvent and the petition to wind up should proceed. 

    But, following an application by Mr Chappell's legal team, a judge in London ruled there should be an adjournment for further evidence to be filed.  

  18. FTSE 100 closes down

    The FTSE 100 closed down 0.42%, or 30.88 points, at 7,271.37 after having drifted lower in afternoon trading.

    There were, however, some big movers.

    Intu Properties was the biggest riser, finishing 6.75% better. EasyJet and Rio Tinto, down 6.1% and 5.2%, were the main losers. Both went ex-dividend on Thursday. 

    In Paris, the Cac 40 was almost unchanged at 4,891.2 points. Frankfurt's Dax finished 0.42% lower at 11,947.8 points.

  19. Parking sector fears over new pound coin

    BBC Radio 5 live

    New pound coin

    There's a month to go until the new 12-sided pound coin comes into circulation, and not everyone is happy about it. 

    David Smith, head of the British Parking Association, tells Radio 5 live: "It's a concern for our members and we have been working with the Royal Mint for about 18 months to get the parking sector ready for this." 

    The challenge will be the cost and hassle of upgrading machines, he says. The fact the new polymer £5 note has also just entered circulation doesn't help matters. 

    However, he says it may also spur the rise of contactless payments in the sector. 

    "Motorists are demanding this a lot more, and it's much easier when the technology works."