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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Lloyd's of London insurance will open an office in Brussels as a result of Brexit
  3. Palm oil or coconut oil could be used instead of animal fat in new bank notes
  4. US economic growth rate for the final months of 2016 revised higher
  5. Oscars organisers will continue using PricewaterhouseCoopers despite the best film mix-up.

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

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  1. Fraud rise down to increase in smaller amounts of cash being stolen

    Colletta Smith

    Radio 5 Live presenter

    £770m was stolen last year in financial fraud.

    Despite all the warnings we hear about keeping our personal data safe, that's more than the amount taken in 2015. 

    Impersonation and deception scams, as well as online attacks to compromise data, continued to be the primary drivers behind financial fraud losses in 2016. 

    Katie Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, told me that the rise in cases of fraud was due to an increase in smaller amounts of money being taken.

  2. Wall Street holding on to gains

    Wall Street's main markets are holding on to gains in afternoon trading - just. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all up just over 0.3%. Revised GDP growth data gave stocks a boost after markets opened, although there has been little news since to drive shares.

    "Equities are ending the first quarter in a reasonably good place," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management. "I do think equities trend sideways, probably for the next month. 

    "The rally since the election has centered around improved sentiment regarding tax reform and infrastructure spending, and that's still a work in progress,' he said.' 

  3. Brussels has got talent

    Lloyd's of London building

    The chairman of Lloyd's of London, John Nelson, has told the Financial Times he expects other insurers to follow them to Brussels.

    The firm confirmed on Thursday they would be opening a subsidiary in the Belgian capital to ensure business-as-usual when Britain leaves the EU.

    "I’d expect a little ecosystem to gradually develop there. I think some [companies] could follow us," he told the FT. 

    He said there were several reasons they'd chosen Brussels over other possible locations, one of which was the "good talent pool" they could recruit from there.  

  4. Wall Street Update

    A quick check on the US share market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is 0.3% higher at 20,723.

    The S&P is 0.27% higher at 2,367.

    And the Nasdaq is up 0.24% at 5,911.

    The market has been choppy in the past few days as investors assess the impact of the Republicans' failure to pass a healthcare bill on tax reform and the rest of President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda, hopes for which have helped drive stocks to record highs.

  5. H&M to launch new 'more upmarket' fashion brand in London

    H&M shopping bag

    Maybe H&M's motto should be: "you can never have too many brands". 

    The Swedish fashion company says its launching its eighth High Street brand later this year, with the first outlet opening in London this autumn.

    The new brand, Arket, will provide "simple, timeless and functional designs" according to the company's statement. 

    The clothes will be priced a bit higher than the stuff in their H&M branded stores and you will be able to grab some "Nordic food" from on-site cafes in many of the branches. Arket will also stock some "external" brands.

    The move comes as competition online and on the High Street is squeezing profits at the fashion giant. The company admitted it was in response to "very tough market conditions".

  6. Budget clothing retailers 'look set to expand'

    BBC Radio 5 live


    Expect to see more budget clothing retailers on the high street, says analyst Paul Thomas.

    The consultant at Retail Remedy says a decision by discount chain Poundland to sell clothes in more branches could be just the start.

    He told BBC 5 live Drive: "Ultimately, the customers always decide if they need another value retailer or not... it seems to be something that's wanted."  

    More than 100 Poundland stores will be selling clothing by the end of the year - enabling the chain to take on the likes of Asda and Primark - with the firm aiming to double that over the next three years.

    Many of the budget clothing retailers have moved in to former Woolworths or M&S stores, Thomas said. "These are stores that previously sold clothing - and now they're bringing it back. It's a good thing." 

  7. Pound perky

    The pound has pushed higher, boosted by investor relief in the wake of Article 50, as well as a weaker euro following disappointing German inflation figures. Sterling rose 0.8% to 1.164 against the euro, which wobbled after German harmonised consumer price inflation came in below economist expectations at 1.5%, knocking hopes the European Central Bank might trim its stimulus programme.

    The UK currency also gained some ground against the US dollar, rising 0.4% to 1.248. 

  8. HSBC gives transgender customers choice of 10 new titles

    HSBC building

    HSBC is to let customers choose more non-gender specific titles for their retail bank accounts. Instead of Mr, Mrs, Ms or the gender neutral Mx, customers can choose from nine honorifics including "M" and "Misc", the banking giant said. 

    The prefixes are designed to give non-binary people more choices if they don't want to be identified by gender. HSBC added that it had simplified the process that lets customers change their gender on an account. The titles will be applied across a customer's account, including their bank cards and correspondence.

    The banking giant will let people choose between: 

    • Mx (pronounced "Mix" or "Mux") 

    • Ind (abbreviation of individual)

    • M (abbreviation used in France) 

    • Misc (abbreviation of miscellaneous)

    • Mre (abbreviation of "mystery") 

    • Msr (combination of Miss and Sir

    • Myr (an abbreviation used in other parts of the world)

    • Pr (abbreviation of person, pronounced "per")

    • Sai (pronounced "sigh", used in Asia)

    • Ser (pronounced "sair", used in Latin America)

  9. FTSE 100 stages late recovery

    The FTSE 100 attempted a recovery in late trading and finished just 4.2 points - 0.06% - down at 7,369.5. The index had lost early gains by the late morning, but staged a comeback, helped by rises on Wall Street.

    Miners were among the gainers, led by a 2.9% rise for Antofagasta. The main loser was Mediclinic, down 3%.

    Europe's two other main markets, Germany's Dax and France's Cac-40, both finished 0.4% higher.

  10. Brexit: May goes big on the economy and security

    Kamal Ahmed

    Economics editor

    Theresa May at the dispatch box

    Philip Hammond was very visibly sitting alongside Theresa May as the prime minister made her statement on Article 50.

    And the push and pull between the UK's two most important addresses as Britain starts the process of leaving the European Union - No 10 and No 11 - was evident in every word of the statement and the following letter triggering our exit from the EU.

    Mrs May talked of prosperity, quite deliberately, more than once.

    She said that Britain would be a "magnet for international talent", that entrepreneurs would be welcome and that the UK would be a committed partner for the EU, which Britain wanted to flourish.  

    You can almost see the hand of the Treasury in every part, with its concern that the toughest economic period is not behind us, but is still to come. 

    Read the rest of Kamal's blog here.

  11. Palm oil in polymer bank notes 'must be sustainable'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    polymer bank notes

    Any use of palm oil in bank notes "has to be sustainable" to limit its environmental impact, according to an anthropologist from Durham University.

    It follows an announcement from the bank that it's considering using palm oil or coconut oil in the production of the new £20 note, following criticism of the use of animal fats in the plastic £5.

    The £10 note - which also contains tallow - is still scheduled for release in September this year. 

    Dr Jo Setchell, who's concerned about palm oil production because of deforestation and its impact on primate populations, told 5 live's Afternoon Edition that if the bank "can commit to sustainable palm oil they have a real opportunity here."

  12. US debt outlook gets worse

    Dollar bills

    US debt levels will surge above the record levels seen just after World War Two at some stage in the next 30 years, if current levels of tax and spending are maintained.

    That's according to the US budget watchdog, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

    Its latest projection shows debt mounting up more quickly than its estimate made last year.

    The CBO says debt will balloon to 150% of GDP by 2047.

    It blamed an acceleration in spending on health care schemes, social security and interest payments on government debt.

  13. VW makes another diesel settlement

    VW logo

    Volkswagen has agreed a $157.45m settlement over environmental claims from 10 US states following the diesel emissions scandal.

    The German carmaker's settlement covers states including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington, and also covers some consumer claims. 

    In 2016, VW reached a $603m agreement with 44 US states, but that settlement didn't cover claims resolved on Thursday.

    In total, VW has now agreed to spend up to $25bn in the US to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and to make vehicle buy-back offers. 

  14. New John Lewis boss says retailer needs reinventing

    Paula Nickolds

    The new boss of John Lewis says the department store needs re-inventing for a new generation of shoppers.

    Paula Nickolds is the first female managing director of John Lewis, having worked her way up the ranks as a graduate trainee.

    In an interview with BBC business correspondent Emma Simpson, Ms Nickolds says: "I've inherited a business in really good shape, but we need to change.", she says.

    Ms Nickolds has taken over the helm during what she describes as a "pretty challenging" time. You can read more of the interview here .

  15. Wall Street markets little changed at the start of trading

    Wall Street has opened little changed despite the revision of fourth-quarter GDP growth rate underlining the strength of the domestic economy. 

    A few minutes in to the trading day, the Dow Jones was down 0.5 points to 20,658.82, while the S&P 500 lost 0.46 points to 2,360.67. The Nasdaq dropped 0.81 points to 5,896.74.    

    Energy and financial stocks are among the main gainers. A stand-out loser is high-end sportswear maker Lululemon, down 21% after poor trading forecasts.