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  1. May and Juncker: No deal today
  2. Pound eases back from $1.35 and €1.14
  3. MPs call for probe into SSE-Npower deal
  4. Toys 'R' Us to close 26 UK stores
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Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good night

Test card F

That's it for tonight - thanks for reading. Do join us from 06:00am tomorrow when we'll have news on rail fares as well as a series of hearings on the impact of Brexit on leading UK industries.

Tech stocks miss out on tax bump

Wall Street sign

Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet and Apple all suffered falls, as investors moved money out of tech stocks and into shares that stand to gain more from US tax cuts.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index finished 1% lower at 6,775.37 points, with analysts saying tech firms have become relatively expensive after leading the market's gains this year.

The big driving force on Wall Street at the start of the week was the US Senate's approval of the biggest tax law change since the 1980s.

It saw the blue chip Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes hit record highs during trading, before easing back slightly.

The Dow Jones eased to a record closing high of 24,290.05 - a rise of 0.2% - but the S&P 500 finished down 0.1% at 2,639.44.

Uber setback


An appeal by Uber against a decision on drivers' employment rights will be heard by the UK's Court of Appeal, rather than the Supreme Court.

The ride-hailing firm lost a challenge at the Employment Appeals Tribunal last month over whether drivers were workers rather than self-employed.

Uber hoped to "leapfrog" the next stage in the process by appealing to the Supreme Court - but it has been told it must go to the Court of Appeal instead.

One of the claimants, Yaseen Aslam, said: "Now that Uber has been denied permission to go straight to the Supreme Court, they should take this opportunity to work with their drivers instead of fighting them at every stage."

How easy is it to buy something with Bitcoin?

BBC World Service

We reported earlier on the rollercoaster ride that Bitcoin has been on this year. But how does it live up to the original goals of its creators as a "peer-to-peer electronic cash system"?

BBC Newshour reporter Paul Coletti tries to find somewhere in central London that accepts the digital currency, with little success...

Oprah's 'aha moment'

Oprah Winfrey
Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey has a reputation as one of the savviest women in US television, building up a fortune of $3bn (according to Forbes).

The chat-show-host-turned-diet-guru has now added to that with a deal to sell a stake in her own TV network.

Media giant Discovery has paid $70m to increase its holding in the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Oprah will retain a minority interest and continue in her role as chief executive of OWN, Discovery said.

Deal or no deal

Deutsche Bank shareholder probe

Deutsche Bank logo
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Germany's financial watchdog is investigating the stock market disclosures of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, the biggest shareholder in Deutsche Bank with a near-10% stake, according to a German newspaper report.

Bafin is examining whether HNA correctly disclosed its Deutsche shareholdings while building a stake earlier this year, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Bafin was not immediately available for comment.

HNA said its disclosure of Deutsche Bank shareholdings have been and are correct.

In November Switzerland's Takeover Board said HNA gave partially untrue or incomplete information during the takeover of Swiss airline catering firm Gategroup last year.

UK mulls Bitcoin regulation

Getty Images

One of the big stories last week was Bitcoin's value breaking through $10,000, swiftly followed by $11,000, before yo yo-ing down to $9,000 and back again.

The digital currency is currently trading at about $11,500 - just below its record high. Its staggering rise of more than 1,000% this year has prompted regulators to take a closer look.

The BBC's tech desk has a story that the UK Treasury believes anti-money laundering regulations should be updated to include Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police says criminals are using crypto-currency cash machines to launder money in London, and are making illegal purchases on dark market websites.

Sterling steadies

Let's take a quick look at the currency markets - the pound has settled down after a see-saw day.

It pushed higher in the morning on reports that the UK and EU would agree to move to the next stage of Brexit talks, before slumping again when the deal failed to materialise.

Sterling is now trading at $1.3465, pretty much where it started the day; and is still slightly higher against the euro at €1.1360.

Here's a reminder of how the pound lost its gains after Theresa May's crunch talks with EU commission president Jean Claude Juncker ended without an agreement.

Pound against the dollar

Working it

BBC World Service

Some 2,000 teenagers are homeless in Mozambique's capital Maputo, where unemployment is rife.

The BBC's Kim Gittleson meets some of the country's keep-fit entrepreneurs who have offered young people a way out of poverty.

What on earth happened?

Laura Kuenssberg

BBC political editor

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker

Meetings in Brussels often run over. Maybe it's the witty repartee, or the chest-beating, or the fact that the institutions here are in the business of trying to get nearly 30 countries to agree on complicated issues. It is political rocket science.

But when Theresa May's lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker went on, and on, and on, and on, a whiff of doubt started to do the rounds.

I'm told 20 minutes after [DUP leader Arlene] Foster's press conference, she received a call from the prime minister, in which it was made plain that the DUP could not support the proposed deal.

They were not prepared to put up with something that looked like it was a victory for Dublin that was, in the DUP's view, ambiguous on Northern Ireland.

Theresa May had broken off her talks with Jean-Claude Juncker to hear that she would not be able to claim victory today. She then went back into the meeting, and shortly after made her grim statement alongside him.

Number 10 sources insist that it was not all about the DUP, saying citizens' rights are still to be completely resolved, as well as the issue of the border.

Read more here.

Barclays whistleblower ruling 'next year'

Jes Staley

An investigation into Barclays chief executive Jes Staley's attempts to deal with a whistleblower will not be finished this year.

The Financial Conduct Authority will conclude the investigation in early 2018, after some sources had suggested it could finish this month, according to a Bloomberg report.

The regulator and bank declined to comment about the probe, which started in April this year.

BBC Newsnight business editor Helen Thomas tweets...

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Even Lamborghini now has an SUV...

Lamborghini Urus
Getty Images

If you can't beat em, join em. Lamborghini - the Italian sports car maker best known for outlandish designs and huge price tags - has revealed its first sport-utility vehicle as the Volkswagen-owned brand seeks a slice of the fast-growing market.

Lamborghini believes the Urus could double its annual sales volumes, which stood at just under 3,500 last year.

"It is a true Lamborghini in terms of design, performance, driving dynamics and emotion as well as drivable every day in a range of environments," says chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

That's all well and good - but what does it cost? Brace yourself: it's well over €200,000 including tax.

You get a 4 litre V8 twin-turbo engine with 650 horsepower and a top speed of 305 km/h for your cash at least...

Balance of trade

Reality Check

Owen Paterson saying: The amount of trade is really quite small between the two countries: the Republic of Ireland and the UK. It's 5% of Northern Ireland's exports - it's 1.6% of the Republic of Ireland's exports.

Owen Paterson told the Today Programme that there's only a small amount of trade between the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland is the fifth biggest customer for UK exports. The UK is the second biggest customer for Irish exports.

And the Republic of Ireland is a much more important destination for exports from Northern Ireland than Mr Paterson's figures suggest. It doesn't buy 5%, it buys 37%.

But Northern Ireland does indeed buy 1.6% of the Irish Republic's exports.

You can read the full Reality Check here.

Powdair delays take off

Man skiing
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Start-up airline Powdair has abandoned plans to operate flights from six UK airports to Sion in Switzerland this winter after its main investor walked away.

Since then it has had a new investment offer from alternative investors, which Powdair says will secure its financial future.

However, the paperwork needed to finalise the new investment will take at least a month, meaning Powdair won't launch this winter, but next year instead.

"The company will continue to exist, albeit with a longer timeline for getting planes in the air," it says in a statement.

Any customers who have already booked will receive full refunds.

More pension problems

View more on twitter

Patrick Hosking, financial editor at The Times, adds on Palmer & Harvey:

View more on twitter

Facebook like?

Facebook's vice president for Europe, Nicola Mendelsohn, has told our business editor Simon Jack that she's "very excited" about its new London office.

The social network's expansion will create 800 new UK jobs in 2018.

Ms Mendelsohn defended Facebook's tax affairs in the UK, and said many of the new roles would be engineers working on products like its virtual reality headset Oculus.

Slam dunk for US betting?

Slam dunk by LeBron James
Getty Images

In the UK, sports fans can bet on pretty much anything - from red cards in football through to the chances of a wardrobe malfunction at half-time in the Super Bowl.

It's a different story in the US, where betting on sports is banned in most states.

But a case has just got underway in the Supreme Court which could overturn that.

The state of New Jersey is challenging the 1992 federal law that largely outlawed sports gambling, saying that states should have the right to decide.

New Jersey, which includes Atlantic City, has lost a string of cases on the issue, but that won't stop UK gambling firms - like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Betfair and 888 - or US sports fans watching it closely.

Pulling an all nighter?

The Sun political editor tweets

Pound dips

Pound coin and notes
Getty Images

The pound fell below €1.14 and $1.35 on news of those last-minute obstacles in the Brexit talks, but it has since stemmed the decline.

It's currently hovering around the €1.1360 mark against the euro - a 0.3% rise on the day. Against the dollar, it's down nearly 0.2% on the day at $1.3455.

"Sterling has dipped more than fallen off a cliff," said Societe Generale macro strategist Kit Juckes.

"No deal today doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world if we've got a couple more days left," he said.

'Keep up the momentum'

Shipping containers

The British Chambers of Commerce - which represents firms employing over 5 million workers - has called on Theresa May and the EU to reach an agreement this week to move onto trade talks.

Adam Marshall, head of the business body, says it's "imperative to keep up the momentum", so that the two sides can start talking about the "most important" issues for companies.

Theresa May and European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker had been expected to reach such a deal today - but said they were still confident of agreeing one later this week.

Today’s statements enhance the prospects of finally securing a much-needed transition deal and moving on to the issues that are most important to business, investment and economic well-being on all sides. It is imperative to keep up the momentum, as it’s high time to answer the huge practical questions on regulation, customs, standards, tariffs and taxes that lie at the heart of what businesses need to know in order to plan for the future.”

Adam MarshallDirector general of the British Chambers of Commerce

Brexit talks 'getting very tight'

The president of the EU council - which represents the bloc's remaining 27 countries - tweets:

View more on twitter

Not coining it

Chris Johnston

Business reporter, BBC News

US flag
Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission's new Cyber Unit (sounds exciting doesn't it...) has filed its first charges, alleging that a privately held company called PlexCorps and its top two officials had defrauded investors.

The US watchdog said it had frozen assets to halt an initial coin offering, or ICO, fraud that raised up to $15m from thousands of investors since August by promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month.

Remember investors: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

What scuppered the Brexit talks deal?

The BBC's political editor suggests that resistance from Northern Ireland's DUP - which supports Theresa May's minority government - wasn't the only obstacle to a deal being struck in Brussels.

The prime minister is seeking to reach an agreement on certain issues so the UK and EU can start talking about post-Brexit trade.

View more on twitter

FTSE finishes higher

Trader at ETX Capital in London
Getty Images

The UK's 100 share index has finished 0.5% higher, rebounding from a two-month low.

The FTSE 100 gained 38.48 points to 7,338.97 as it joined in a broader rally in global stock markets.

Analysts said that progress in US tax reforms had given stock markets a boost worldwide, with Wall Street rising to record highs in early trading.

Shares in UK banking stocks were among the big winners, with Barclays up 2.4% and RBS 1.5% higher.

Sky shares finished nearly 3% higher following reports that Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has re-opened talks with Walt Disney. It's thought that Fox's stake in Sky might be part of a potential sale.

Portugal wins Eurogroup race

Mario Centeno
Getty Images

Some other big news out of Brussels earlier - Mario Centeno, Portugal's finance minister, was named the new head of the EU finance ministers' body, also known as the Eurogroup.

The 50-year-old former Bank of Portugal analyst has been finance minster since December 2015.

Mr Centeno, who saw off competition from Luxembourg, Slovakia and Latvia, replaces Dutchman Jeroen Dijsselbloem in mid-January.

Portugal needed an EU bailout in 2011 but the economy has been expanding at its fastest pace in at least a decade this year.

Pound problems

Pound against the dollar

The pound has given up the gains it made before Theresa May's talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Heading into the lunchtime meeting, sterling rose against the dollar to break above $1.35.

However, the news that Mrs May and Mr Juncker hadn't reached an agreement to move on to trade talks sent the pound back down again - as the chart above shows.

DUP 'sunk Brexit talks deal'

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg suggests that resistance from Theresa May's political partners in Northern Ireland - the Democratic Unionist Party - derailed a deal on the first round of Brexit talks.

View more on twitter

'Tellingly brief'

The BBC's Europe Editor gives her verdict on Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker's joint announcement that they haven't struck a deal to move through to the next round of Brexit talks.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Watch: UK and EU fail to strike Brexit talks deal

May 'confident' of resolution

Theresa May

Prime Minister Theresa May said "some differences remain" on a couple of issues after her lunch meeting with EU commission president Jean Claude Juncker.

"We will reconvene before the end of the week, and I am also confident that we will conclude this positively," she said.

The PM is attempting to finalise a deal to move to the next stage of Brexit talks.

In a joint press conference, Mr Juncker expressed confidence that an agreement could be reached for an EU summit in 10 days' time.

Sterling slips

The pound has reacted to the news that the UK and EU will not strike a deal today to move through to the next round of Brexit talks.

Sterling has fallen slightly against the dollar and euro - easing back to $1.3465 and €1.1375 respectively.

BreakingJuncker: No Brexit deal

Jean Claude Juncker says it was not possible for the UK and EU to reach a complete agreement today on the end of the first round of Brexit talks.

However, he said both sides would resume the negotiations later this week, and expressed confidence they could iron out the remaining issues.

"This is not failure," he says, adding he is "very confident" of making enough progress later this week.

No deal today?

Theresa May and Jean Claude Juncker are holding a press conference after their lunch meeting in Brussels.

But the BBC's Europe Editor suggests they won't be announcing a deal.

View more on twitter

Pound above €1.14

Euro coin and pound note

A quick look at the markets, and the pound is hovering around the €1.14 mark - the highest level it's been against the euro in about a month.

Sterling has gained today on rising hopes that Theresa May will strike a deal on the first round of Brexit talks at a lunch with EU commission president Jean Claude Juncker.

The pound is up 0.8% against the euro - but has eased back slightly against the dollar, dipping below $1.35.

In case you're wondering, that lunch has now been going on for three and a half hours. Quite an effort.

A bad deal?

Big Six market share

The chart above shows how much of the market the UK's second biggest energy operator, SSE, and the sixth biggest, NPower, hold.

Rachel Reeves, head of parliament's business select committee, says merging the two firms "risks damaging the development of a more competitive energy market, reducing consumer choice, and threatening to be a bad deal for energy consumers".

The Competition and Markets Authority "needs to look at the potential impacts of this merger and launch a full investigation if there is any risk to competition within the energy market", she adds.

BreakingInvestigation into SSE and NPower deal?

SSE sign

The merger of UK energy firms SSE and NPower could be put under closer scrutiny.

MPs on the business select committee have called for competition regulators to investigate the deal - which would knock the country's "Big Six" energy firms down to five.

They have asked the Competition and Markets Authority to look at the potential impacts of the merger, and "undertake a full investigation if there is any risk of a lessening of competition".

Fancy some Venezuelan bitcoins?

Nicolas Maduro
Getty Images

This looks like an "interesting" investment proposition. Venezuela, the socialist country which is teetering close to bankruptcy, is launching its own virtual currency.

President Nicolas Maduro has announced the creation of the Petro - which will be backed by Venezuela's oil, gas, gold and diamond wealth - to ease the country's severe financial difficulties.

"The 21st Century has arrived!" Mr Maduro said in a televised announcement, to cheers from supporters - but opposition MPs have poured scorn on the plan.

Venezuela is struggling under a heavy debt pile, while many economic commentators have warned that digital currencies are reaching bubble levels. What could go possibly wrong?

Wall Street hits fresh records

US trader

The main US indexes have surged at the opening bell, as traders welcome the passing of a key tax bill in the Senate over the weekend.

The flagship Dow Jones Industrial Average index, which passed 24,000 points for the first time last week, has pushed further into record territory - rising 231 points, or 0.95%, to 24,462 points.

The S&P 500 gained 18 points, or 0.7%, to 2,661, while the Nasdaq Composite added 49 points, or 0.7%, to 6,897.

US senators passed their version of a tax overhaul bill on Saturday, bringing closer to reality President Donald Trump's promise of cutting corporate taxes to spur growth.