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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. House of Fraser asks for rent cut
  3. FTSE 100 ends week at new record high
  4. Trump hails Wall Street rally
  5. UK car sales in first fall for six years

Live Reporting

By Dan Macadam

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night!

    That's all from Business Live for today and indeed the first week of 2018 - thanks for reading.

    Do join us again on Monday from 06:00.

  2. New highs for Wall Street

    US flag

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged further above 25,000 points on Friday as investors shrugged off disappointing US jobs figures.

    The Dow ended 0.9% higher at 25,295.8 points - its third consecutive record close.

    The S&P 500 gained 0.7% to 2,743.1 and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.8% to 7,135.5, both setting new closing records for the fourth straight day.

  3. Morgan Stanley's tax hit

    Morgan Stanley

    Morgan Stanley has become the latest US firm to outline the impact of President Donald Trump's tax reforms, pointing to a one-off $1.25bn (£922m) hit.

    The US banking giant follows the likes of Goldman Sachs, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Barclays and Deutsche Bank in booking short-term hits following the change. All are expected to benefit in the longer term.

    Mr Trump signed the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul into law last month, cutting tax rates for businesses and also offering temporary cuts for some individuals and families. It includes slashing corporation tax in the US from 35% to 21%.

  4. Long-term visas for China top 'talent'

    Simon Atkinson

    Asia Business Reporter

    A younger Simon Atkinson
    Image caption: Thinner, but no expert...

    Almost 20 years ago, working as an English teacher in China, the most useful document to have was the Foreign Expert Card. It carried all sorts of perks (including, I seem to remember, free entry to museums).

    It wasn't particularly hard to obtain. I was definitely foreign. And apparently speaking English also made you an expert in teaching it (which my former students will attest is not necessarily true).

    Anyway these days Beijing is far more picky and has categorised jobs foreigners do to try and weed out the low-skilled laowei (foreigners) and attract the ones who really add something to the economy and society.

    The latest step announced by Beijing is long-term visas valid for up to 10 years - which are free to get and quick to process.

    Technology leaders, entrepreneurs and scientists from in-demand sectors are among those China hopes will be tempted to come and play a part in the country's development.

    Clueless would-be teachers need not apply.

  5. What problems is House of Fraser facing?

    House of Fraser

    Turning back to House of Fraser - Moody's credit agency set out some of its concerns last month when it downgraded the retailer's credit rating.

    At the time Moody's pointed to the company's weak results in the first three quarters of the financial year, which it said were due to "both challenging market conditions and company-specific factors".

    The disruption from House of Fraser's new web platform and the underperformance of its in-house brands had weighed on the business, Moody's said.

    "Absent an unexpected general uptick in consumer demand, a recovery in HoF's profitability is dependent upon either an improvement in the company's product offering or in cost savings initiatives, which each involve execution risks," it added.

  6. Don't fly with me

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter, BBC News

    You know things are grim when the private jet has to go, but let's face it, things are indeed pretty grim for Steinhoff International, the owner of chains including Poundland and Harveys.

    Bloomberg reports that the South African conglomerate is in talks to sell its Gulfstream G550 that it only took delivery of last April for just under $25m.

    Steinhoff confirmed plans to sell the plane but did not comment further.

    Its shares crashed last month after announcing a probe into accounting irregularities and the departure of chief executive Markus Jooste.

  7. Big week for retailers

    House of Fraser

    The news of House of Fraser seeking a rent cut comes just days before it's expected to reveal how it fared during Christmas trading.

    Next week we'll also get figures from Marks & Spencer and John Lewis on the all-important festive period.

    So far there's been a mixed picture from retailers. Next reported better-than-expected Christmas results, but that was largely due to its strong online performance.

    Debenhams - one of House of Fraser's biggest competitors - fared much worse, and said profits would be lower than forecast because of poor Christmas trading.

    It comes as retailers are already facing continued cost rises, with moves like rent reduction being explored as a way of easing those pressures.

  8. A cannibalistic cannabis investment?

    Chris Johnston

    Business reporter, BBC News

    Cannabis

    Robert Sands, chief executive of Constellation Brands, said on Friday the company was seeing no real impact on alcohol sales following the legalisation of recreational cannabis in six US states.

    Nevertheless, it recently took a near-10% stake in Canada's biggest cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp, becoming the first major beer and spirits company to invest in legal cannabis.

    Mr Sands said it was too early to tell whether Constellation's investment in the Canadian company would be "cannibalistic or complementary", adding: "There's just not enough information I think to really say how that's going to affect beverage alcohol in general going forward."

    Constellation missed estimates for third quarter revenue on Friday and said wine and spirit sales for the full-year would be at the low end of a previous forecast, sending its shares lower.

  9. House of Fraser looks to cut rent bill

    House of Fraser

    UK department store chain House of Fraser has written to the landlords of some of its stores asking for rent reductions, the BBC understands.

    Sky News first reported that the company made an "informal" request to an undisclosed number of owners of its 59 UK stores.

    “We can confirm that we have contacted some of our landlords asking for their support as we drive forward with our transformation programme," the company said.

    It comes at a difficult time for High Street stores, with rival Debenhams this week issuing a profit warning after weaker-than-expected Christmas sales.

  10. Netflix gets Letterman boost

    Barack Obama and David Letterman

    The US talk show host David Letterman is making his TV comeback in a new Netflix show later this month, with former President Barack Obama as his first guest.

    It'll be called "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction" - and investors clearly agree. Shares in the TV streaming service are up nearly 2% to $209.64, valuing the company at more than $90bn.

    The six-episode series will also feature interviews with actor George Clooney, rapper Jay-Z, radio shock jock Howard Stern, comedian Tina Fey and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, the streaming service said.

    Letterman left his job as host of "The Late Show" in May 2015 after more than 30 years on late night television.

  11. Ousted Uber boss 'sells 30% of his stake'

    Travis Kalanick

    Reports continue to come in that Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick is selling off a chunk of his stake in the taxi-hailing company.

    Kalanick was ousted as chief executive last year but remained on the firm's board.

    The Wall Street Journal is the latest media outlet to report that he's selling nearly 30% of his shares as part of a broader investment deal led by Japanese tech group Softbank.

    Kalanick owns 10% of the company - and the stake up for sale would earn him about $1.4 billion, according to the WSJ.

  12. How does the FTSE compare?

    We mentioned earlier that the UK's FTSE 100 share index has lagged other major global stock indexes.

    Here's a handy chart from BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed comparing it with Germany's Dax, the US Dow Jones and Japan's Nikkei.

    View more on twitter
  13. Watch: The 'latte levy' explained

    MPs are calling for coffee chains to charge 25p on disposable cups to help reduce waste. Caffeine lovers told us what they think...

    Video content

    Video caption: 'Latte levy': Would you pay 25p for your coffee cup?
  14. Is the PPI boom behind slowing car sales?

    Car forecourt

    Here's a novel explanation for why UK car sales have seen their first annual fall in six years.

    Michael Bills, a director at financial advisers Duff and Phelps, says demand is waning because the payouts for PPI claims are slowing down.

    "The banks have paid out [about] £28bn pounds since 2011 which is now coming to an end," he told the BBC.

    "And we feel there's no real surprise as that's running its course, we are starting to see a softening in consumer demand for cars."

  15. ...but the UK index lagged behind Europe

    Deutsche Boerse

    Yes the FTSE 100 finished the week at a new record high. But its 0.4% rise today was smaller than the gains seen by major European stock markets.

    Germany's Dax and France's Cac enjoyed bigger increases, as they have done for most of the week - the Dax rising by 1.2% and the Cac finishing the day 1.1% higher.

    "International stock markets are riding high at the moment, driven by continued strength in the US and the prospect of global growth picking up," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf.

    "However the FTSE was held back compared to European counterparts thanks to two of the biggest companies in the market, HSBC and Shell, exerting downward pressure to the benchmark index."

  16. BreakingFTSE ends week at record high

    City of London

    The FTSE 100 saw a late surge as it closed at a new record high of 7,724.22 points.

    The index of leading UK shares rose by 28.34 points, or 0.4%, on the back of optimism about the economy and a rally in US stocks.

    British Gas owner Centrica was the biggest winner - rising 3.1% - after it was upgraded by analysts. Insurance group Admiral saw the heaviest fall - dropping 2.9% - following an analyst downgrade.

  17. Sound of fury

    White noise

    The sound of white noise - indistinct electronic hissing which helps to block out other sounds - has driven a group of litigants to distraction.

    A musician who made a 10-hour long video of continuous white noise has said five copyright infringement claims have been made against him.

    Sebastian Tomczak, who is based in Australia, said he made the video in 2015 and uploaded it to YouTube.

    The claimants, which include publishers of white noise intended for sleep therapy, are accusing him of infringement.

    "I will be disputing these claims," he told the BBC.

  18. Deustche Bank takes Trump tax hit

    Deutsche Bank

    Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank has warned it will make a "small" loss this year, largely due to recent changes in the US tax system led by Donald Trump.

    The bank said it would take a €1.5bn hit as a result of the tax changes, which came into effect at the start of the year.

    Although the tax reform slashes the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, several large firms such as BP and Goldman Sachs have reported that it will bring short-term pain.

    That's partly because the lower rate means that some tax breaks for companies will be correspondingly smaller.

    Deutsche Bank shares have fallen more than 4% on the back of the news.