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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FTSE 100 falls as pound gives up gains
  3. Kingfisher shares slide on cautious outlook
  4. Crude oil prices fall
  5. Thames Water fined £20m for river pollution

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodnight

    Testcard F

    Thank you for joining us on Business Live.

    We'll be back tomorrow at 6.00am sharp with breaking news and analysis.

  2. Wall Street regains ground

    The Dow Jones clawed back some ground on Wednesday to finish 6.71 points at 20,661.30.

    The S&P 500 edged up 6 points to 2,348 and the Nasdaq rose 27 points to 5,821.

  3. Oil keeps head above $50

    Oil

    The oil price is just hanging on to the right side of $50 a barrel.

    Brent crude is currently $50.64 after the International Energy Agency reported that oil inventories climbed by almost 5m barrels to 533.1m. There had been forecasts that it would rise by 2.8m barrels. 

  4. US businesses suspend Google advertising

    Verizon

    US companies have joined the stream of businesses  pulling their advertising from Google and YouTube.

    The Times is reporting that the telecom giants Verizon and AT&T and car rental company Enterprise have suspended their adverts after it was discovered that content was appearing on extremist videos on YouTube, which is owned by Google.

    The newspaper also states that GSK, the UK pharmaceutical giant, has suspended its advertising.

  5. Starbucks goes big

    Seattle Times business reporter Janet Tu tweets

    You've got to hand it to America. At their investor meetings, they really push the boat out. At Starbucks's gathering today, the extraordinarily talented singer Leon Bridges is performing.

    In the UK, you're lucky if you get a dried-up old sandwich and a cup of tea. 

    View more on twitter
  6. Courage and coffee

    Howard Schultz

    Stirring stuff from Starbucks's Howard Schultz at his final investor meeting.

    Commenting of the coffee chain's reasoning behind plans to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years , he says: "Not every business decision is an economic one."

    He also says: "Leadership and moral courage is not a passive one."

    And he adds: "We know there's a better America because we see it in our stores."

  7. Sears shares fall further

    As we reported earlier shares in the US retailer Sears are falling, now down around 14%, as doubts about its survival persist.

    Read more about those doubts here

  8. Swapping hot drinks for politics?

    Howard Schultz

    It will be an emotional day at Starbucks' shareholder meeting today.

    Howard Schultz, co-founder, chairman and chief executive, is giving his final address before chief operating officer Kevin Johnson takes over. 

    This poignant moment aside, there is some speculation that Mr Schultz may emerge as a Democratic contender for the White House in 2020.

    Stranger things have happened...

  9. Snap Inc gets confidence boost

    Snap Inc

    In a day of falling or static stock markets, there is a ray of light - Snapchat-owner Snap.

    Shares in the company rose 5.7% to $21.55 after In the newest vote of confidence for Snap, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White made a "buy" recommendation on its stock.

    In the most anticipated stock market debut so far this year, Snap Inc listed its shares at the beginning of this month at $17.   

  10. Markets test Trump's tough talk

    US stock market trader

    The Dow Jones industrial average has pared back earlier falls but remains in negative territory.

    It fell 26.36 points to 20,641.65, with Nike leading the biggest losers after its third quarter results missed analysts expectations.

    However, the S&P 500 nudged up 2.84 points to 2,346.86 and the Nasdaq rose 2.84 points to 2,346.86.

    Ryan Larson, head of US equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management, said: "Most of what we're seeing this morning is uncertainty on the outcome of the (healthcare reform) vote tomorrow or if the vote will even happen tomorrow.

    "The market was giving Trump some leeway. It was supportive of what the administration was talking about. We're starting to get into a phase where that grace period is coming to an end and what the market wants is to see more walk-the-talk as opposed to talk-the-talk."

  11. Dodd-Frank will be overhauled 'this year'

    Jeb Hensarling

    The Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee is confident that the Trump administration will act to overhaul financial regulations introduced following the global banking crisis this year.

    Jeb Hensarling told Reuters: "Every conversation I've had with the president, the vice president and the speaker is that [Dodd-Frank] remains a priority this year."

  12. US home sales slow

    US home for sale

    US home sales fell by more than expected in February.

    The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said re-sales were down 3.7% to 5.48 million houses. Economists had been expecting a 2% decline.

    NAR's chief economist and senior vice president Lawrence Yun, said: "The significant shortage of listings last month along with deteriorating affordability as the result of higher home prices and mortgage rates kept many would-be buyers at bay."

  13. Eurogroup chief regrets 'Dutch directness'

    Jeroen Dijsselbloem

    The Dutch head of the eurozone group of finance ministers is clearly feeling a little more conciliatory today after claiming some indebted nations had spent their money on "drinks and women".

    Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem who on Tuesday appeared reluctant to apologise, said today: "I regret it if one is offended by the remark. It was direct, and can be explained from strict Dutch, Calvinistic culture, with Dutch directness."

    "I understand that this is not always well understood and appreciated, elsewhere in Europe. That is another lesson I take on board.

    "At the same time, I think I am appreciated for keeping my own style and that I with some strictness I address all ministers, and I have to be strict sometimes. And yes, my style is direct and again if people take offence in that I am sorry of course." 

    He added: "I have no intention to step down."

  14. Pension age should rise sooner to 68

    Pensioners

    An independent review has recommended that the state pension age should increase to 68.

    John Cridland, the former director of the Confederation of British Industry who is leading the review, proposes increasing the retirement age from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039. 

    The age is already expected to rise, heading to 67 by 2028 and to 68 by between 2044 and 2046.

    However, the review said an accelerated rise provides greater "intergenerational fairness", and helps the fiscal sustainability of the state pension.

    The report will help the Government's review of the state pension age which is due in May.

  15. UK markets close lower

    London stocks finished the day lower on Wednesday.

    The FTSE 100 closed down 53.62 points at 7,324.72.

    The FTSE 250 tumbled 155 points to 18,832.94.

  16. UBS charges for deposits

    UBS

    Swiss bank UBS will start charging customers who deposit more than a million euros, as negative interest rates hit banks' profits.

    The annual 0.6% charge will take affect from May.

    UBS already imposes charges for large accounts held in Swiss francs by companies and some wealthy clients.

    Banks' profits have been hit by the European Central Bank's policy of stimulating growth through negative interest rates and increased liquidity.

    Read more here.

  17. Trump trade goes both ways

    The Dow Jones industrial average over 12 months

    Commenting on the stock markets' downwards trend, Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist at JP Morgan Private Bank, says: "The markets were reminded yesterday the 'Trump trade' is not a one-way trade and there's room for disappointment as actions on tax cuts and infrastructure spending might not materialize as quickly as we want."

    Ian Lyngen, head of US rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets, adds: "People are losing confidence in a swift moving set of congressional reform."

    The graphic shows just how far the Dow Jones industrial average has climbed since Donald Trump was elected as US President on 9 November and his promise to cut tax and invest in infrastructure .