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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Pound dips after UK names Article 50 date
  3. FTSE 100 closes at fresh record high
  4. New Indian phone giant created by Vodafone deal
  5. Lord Myners warns over 'garage sale' of UK firms

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good night

    BBC test card F

    Thanks for tuning in to Business Live. We'll be back at 6am sharp tomorrow.   

  2. Indyref and oil: Going with the flow

    Douglas Fraser

    Scotland business & economy editor

    Oil rig

    Oil can't be the only fuel for Scotland's economic case for independence. 

    Although there's plenty more oil out there in Scottish waters, experts believe it's much less than estimated in the 2014 debate

    Plus there's a big bill looming from the decommissioning of old rigs.

    Read more of Douglas Fraser's blog here.

  3. Trump meets Gates

    Bill Gates

    When Donald Trump released his budget plans last week, one of the most high-profile critics of its swingeing budget cuts to foreign aid was Bill Gates.

    In an article , the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist said the cuts would make the US "less safe".

    Earlier today, Gates - who has again topped the Forbes rich list, the 18th time in the last 23 years - met with the US president to discuss health and education programmes.

    He didn't speak to reporters afterwards, but the White House said the two spoke about their "shared commitment to finding and stopping disease outbreaks around the world".

  4. UK firms face 'Olympic' challenge

    Mo Farah wins 5,000m at Rio Olympics

    How to make UK companies - and their employees - more productive is one of the most pressing policy issues today, says Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane.

    There's no quick fix, he says, but businesses could learn from sport on the importance of marginal gains in the quest to improve.  

    One suggestion he has is a mentoring scheme between the most and least productive firms. 

    "As Olympic athletes have shown, marginal improvements accumulated over time can deliver world-beating performance," he concludes in a speech at the London School of Economics. 

    "Applying those marginal gains to the population of UK companies could significantly improve UK living standards, even if those are harder to measure than gold medals."

  5. As you were...

    Trader at New York Stock Exchange

    US stock markets have finished little changed after a day of light trading.

    The Dow Jones index closed almost flat at 20,905.86 points, as did the tech-heavy Nasdaq at 5,901.53 points.

    The broad-based S&P 500 was down 0.2% to 2,373.47 points.

    Among those that did ease back were banking stocks - after bond yields fell, which can hurt bank profits by pushing interest rates on loans lower. 

    Wells Fargo lost 1.8%, Bank of America dropped 1.7% and Goldman Sachs fell 0.7%.

  6. Pound could suffer from 'hostile' talks - UBS

    Europa building in Brussels

    With the prime minister triggering Brexit talks next week, analysts at Swiss bank UBS have said how those negotiations unfold will be crucial for the markets.

    "Constructive, collaborative negotiations could lead to a recovery of the pound closer to its long-term fair value," they say. That's $1.36 over the next 12 months, according to their estimates. 

    But they also warn: "The pound could suffer some weakness if negotiations are more hostile." The lowest level they see it reaching is about $1.18 - and that would seriously under-value the pound, they say.

    The pound fell 0.3% against the dollar to about $1.2360 today as news of the Brexit date emerged.

  7. Smells good to me

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfume

    French luxury goods giant LVMH is buying a majority stake in French independent perfume house Maison Francis Kurkdjian as it expands in fast-growing niche luxury fragrances. 

    The firm was founded in 2009 by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and its CEO Marc Chaya. Both will continue in their roles and remain shareholders. 

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian has estimated annual sales of between 15 and 20 million euros for its perfumes that cost up to 1,200 euros for 70 millilitres.  

  8. You spin me round

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter

    Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters at the Live 8 concert in 2005
    Image caption: Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters perform at the Live 8 concert in 2005

    This will gladden the hearts of some dad rock fans we suspect: Pink Floyd are releasing a single that has not been heard since it was recorded in 1966. 

    The 14-minute 57-second (count 'em) version of Interstellar Overdrive will be launched on April 15 to coincide with Record Store Day 2017. The instrumental track will be available on 12 inch, 180-gram black vinyl and come with a fold-out poster and a postcard image of the band taken as they recorded their debut single, Arnold Layne, in 1967. 

    Originally recorded at the Thomson studio in Hemel Hempstead, a shorter version of the track appears on the first Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. 

  9. Luck of the LTIP

    Times property correspondent Tom Knowles tweets that Persimmon executive Nigel Greenaway will pocket about £12m courtesy of its long-term incentive plan.

    He retired last year after spending three decades at the housebuilder.

    View more on twitter
  10. Ultra-low rates helped save jobs - Haldane

    Andy Haldane (centre left)

    Ultra-low UK interest rates since the financial crisis have probably taken a modest toll on productivity, but were a price worth paying to avoid heavy job losses, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane will say. 

    Keeping rates at historic lows has kept alive some heavily indebted, unproductive "zombie" companies, Mr Haldane (centre left) is due to say in a speech.

    But raising rates by a large amount "comes at a hefty employment cost".

    If the Bank had held rates at 4.25%, rather than cutting them to 0.25%, then 10% more companies could have gone bankrupt and 1.5 million people could have lost their jobs, he will say.

    "Should monetary policymakers have sacrificed 1 ½ million jobs for the sake of an extra 1 or 2% of productivity? Hand on heart, I can tell you this one would not knowingly have done so."

  11. 'Quiet day on the markets'

    London Stock Exchange

    As reported earlier, the FTSE 100 closed at a new record high - but it hardly shot the lights out. The UK's main share index rose less than 5 points to finish at 7,429.81.

    "It’s been a pretty quiet day on the markets," says Laith Khalaf, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. 

    The slight fall in the pound - which dropped 0.4% to $1.2346 - gave the FTSE a little boost. 

    But he adds: "When you’ve got such a slim movement it’s hard to attribute it to an over-riding theme."

  12. Uber boss 'has no plans to quit'

    Travis Kalanick

    Uber's co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick has no plans to resign, a spokesperson for the company has told the BBC.

    Earlier this month, Mr Kalanick announced Uber was looking for a chief operating officer (COO) after he admitted he needed "leadership help" in the wake of being filmed arguing with a driver over falling rates. 

    Two separate, well-placed sources at the company had told the BBC that Mr Kalanick could possibly step down as chief executive soon after the new COO was in place - but that has now been denied by the company.  

    It comes as Uber president Jeff Jones announced he's leaving the company after less than six months.  

  13. Listen: Battle for digital India

    BBC World Service

    Vodafone is merging its Indian unit with local mobile phone company, Idea Cellular, to create the largest telecoms operator in India.

    The BBC's Rahul Tandon has been out on the streets of Kolkata to gauge how people use their mobiles in India's cut-throat telecoms market.

    Video content

    Video caption: Vodafone is merging with Ideal Cellular to create India's largest telecoms firm.
  14. This is the end...?

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter

    Jeroen Dijsselbloem

    Jeroen Dijsselbloem's role as head of the eurozone finance ministers is in doubt following last week's Dutch elections.

    "My party lost the elections and the chances of us being part of the next coalition government are extremely slim. So, let's be realistic, my term as minister of finance will most likely come to an end. I don't know when that is," he said.

    "My [Eurogroup] term now ends in January 2018. Whether there is a gap between the end of the caretaker period and January, I don't know. What should happen at that moment is not for me to say." 

    In case you're wondering, Mr Dijsselbloem is in the Dutch Labour Party, which came seventh in last week's election.

  15. Trump slips down Forbes rich list

    Donald Trump

    Donald Trump has slipped down Forbes' annual list of the world's richest people.

    The US president fell 220 spots to 544 and must now make do with $3.5bn, according to the magazine's rich list.

    Forbes said the $1bn fall in his wealth was due to the sluggish Manhattan property market.

    Microsoft founder Bill Gates again topped the list - in a year when the number of billionaires worldwide rose 13% to 2,043.

  16. Are we headed for a bond market bloodbath?

    Simon Jack

    BBC Business Editor

    Bank of England

    Shares are at record highs but investors are selling off bonds.

    "The greatest bull market in history is over," says BBC Business editor Simon Jack. "Last week's rise in US interest rates confirms the reversal of a 30-year trend" for bonds - IOUs issued by governments, banks and companies to raise money.

    "It's important to recognise that every few months for the last five years someone has said they think it's all over. Every few months they have been wrong and borrowing costs have headed down again.

    "But there are reasons to think that this recent fall in bond prices means it is over now.

    "Folks are selling bonds and buying shares," he says.

    "So what? - all perfectly normal and part of cyclical nature of economies? Perhaps not.

    "Such has been the magnitude of the bond buying binge, there are real concerns that its reversal will not be orderly."

    Read more of Simon's blog here.

  17. Pound fall 'helps FTSE'

    FTSE 100

    So what helped the FTSE 100 close at another record high?

    Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex, thinks the fall in sterling "helped to nudge" the share index into making a gain.

    The FTSE 100 is largely made up of firms with business outside the UK. When sterling falls, those companies' profits are worth more when converted back into pounds.  

    The pound hit three-week highs this morning, but dropped after the date for the start of the Brexit process was set for 29 March.

    "The news was hardly a surprise – however the reminder that the UK is facing years of difficult and likely hostile trade negotiations seemed to suppress investors’ appetite for the currency," Mr Campbell said.

  18. BreakingFTSE closes at fresh record

    The UK's flagship share index has closed at a record high for the third day in a row.

    A late surge saw the FTSE 100 finish nearly 5 points higher at 7,429.81, having spent most of the day in negative territory.