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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Wall Street pares losses
  3. FTSE 100 ends falls 1.3%
  4. Pound just over $1.38
  5. Express sold to Trinity Mirror for £126m
  6. Industrial output falls 1.3% in December

Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

Good night!

That's all we have time for on Business Live today and this week - thanks for reading.

We are back bright and early on Monday at 06:00 so do join us then.

Russian nuclear scientists arrested for 'Bitcoin mining plot'

The arrested scientists worked at the secret factory which made the USSR's first nuclear bomb
Getty Images
The arrested scientists worked at the secret factory which made the USSR's first nuclear bomb

Russian security officers have arrested several scientists working at a top-secret Russian nuclear warhead facility for allegedly mining crypto-currencies.

The suspects had tried to use one of Russia's most powerful supercomputers to mine Bitcoins, media reports say.

The Federal Nuclear Centre in Sarov, western Russia, is a restricted area.

The centre's press service said: "There has been an unsanctioned attempt to use computer facilities for private purposes including so-called mining."

The supercomputer was not supposed to be connected to the internet - to prevent intrusion - and once the scientists attempted to do so, the nuclear centre's security department was alerted. They were handed over to the Federal Security Service, the Russian news service Mash says.

Read more here.

Wall Street recovers - sort of...

Another rollercoaster ride in New York today, but all three main indexes reversed earlier losses to end the day higher.

The Dow Jones and the Nasdaq both closed up 1.4%, while the S&P 500 gained 1.5%.

However, the Dow and S&P have both ended the week 5.2% lower - the biggest weekly declines for both since January 2016.

The Nasdaq only did slightly better, posting a 5.1% decline for the week.

'Sloppy territory'

Confused about what's been happening on Wall Street today? You're not alone.

The S&P 500 has gone from being up 1.5% to down 1.9% in the space of a few hours on Friday, echoing the big swings of the past week, while the Dow moved in a range of more than 800 points.

"I just think the market has to find new footing here," says Peter Tuz at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. "We are in very sloppy territory, until we're not in sloppy territory."

Sweeney vs Rollins

On the basis that the music industry is very much part of the business world, we bring you this tweet from our colleagues on BBC2's Newsnight:

View more on twitter

Oil prices slide

oil pump
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US crude oil ended the day down 3.2% at $59.20 - the lowest since just before Christmas, while the price of a barrel of Brent crude dropped 3.1% to $62.79.

The falls means both US and Brent crude have lost more than 11% from this year's peak late last month.

Japan raids cryptocurrency exchanges

Hands type at a laptop keyboard
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Japan has expanded raids on cryptocurrency exchanges following the world's biggest digital currency theft.

Authorities are checking whether adequate security systems are in place.

Officials plan to inspect more exchanges after searching the offices of Coincheck last week. Thieves stole $534m (£382m) from that exchange in January.

Another Tokyo exchange, MtGox, collapsed in 2014 after admitting that $400m had been stolen from its network.

Delivery firms shares slide on Amazon report

A UPS van in London

The online retailer is reportedly planning a new service called "Shipping With Amazon" that will allow it to pick up packages from businesses and deliver them to consumers. The service is expected to start in Los Angeles in the coming weeks, before it is rolled out more broadly as soon as this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shares of shipping companies FedEx and UPS slipped on Friday in the wake of the report. Amazon, which has been edging into the delivery business for some time, did not issue a denial. Kristen Kish, an Amazon spokeswoman, said: "We're always innovating and experimenting on behalf of customers and the businesses that sell and grow on Amazon to create faster lower-cost delivery choices."

An Amazon entry into the delivery business would "send shivers down the spines of the traditional delivery companies", said Neil Saunders, the managing director of GlobalData Retail.

He wrote: "The danger for the traditional delivery firms is two-fold. Firstly, they are likely to lose business from Amazon; this will be slow at first but will accelerate as Amazon rolls out more of its own delivery services. Secondly, if Amazon starts offering delivery to businesses, it will likely do this at a reduced rate."

Amazon has made other forays into delivery. In August 2016, the company unveiled its first branded cargo plane, one of 40 jetliners that were expected to make up its own air transportation network.

Shares of UPS and FedEx fell more than 2% in today's trading.

All about the IPO...

Back to the Waymo settlement for a moment, Kate Conger at Gizmodo offers this take - and @dkhos is Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi, by the way.

View more on twitter

More moolah for BoA boss

Brian Moynihan
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It's going to be a good weekend for Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan: The board has given the nod to increasing his incentive scheme by $3m to $21.5m for 2016.

But poor Mr Moynihan had to get by last year with no cash bonus and no pay rise either, meaning his base salary remains at a meagre $1.5m. Shall we have a whiparound?

Wall Street woes

US flag
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Speaking of things going down, the Wall Street selloff seems to be gathering pace.

The Dow Jones is now 1.3% lower, while the S&P 500 has shed 0.9% and the Nasdaq Composite has fallen 1.8%.

That sinking feeling...

Oh dear - sterling is now almost 1% lower at $1.3786.

Pension fail

Financial Times pensions correspondent Josephine Cumbo tweets:

View more on twitter

Worst week in two years for the FTSE

The FTSE 100 is now down about 9% from its record high hit on 12 January, making it the worst week since 2016 for the blue-chip index.

But is this correction the start of a bear market? "If we look at other indicators it doesn't look the case," says Rory McPherson at Psigma Investment Management in London.

"Interbank lending rates are still pretty low, credit spreads have moved up slightly from record lows but haven't blown out, and earnings season is coming along pretty well," he adds.

Barnier comments dent sterling

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Sterling is trading under $1.38 after the European Union's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned the UK that a post-Brexit transition deal was "not a given".

The pound had risen sharply on Thursday when the Bank of England said interest rates probably needed to rise sooner and by more than previously thought, as global growth helped the UK economy.

Sterling slid 0.8% against the dollar to $1.3795, and was down 0.7% against the euro at €1.1280.

Barnier's comments have "raised the risk that a transition deal may not be as easy to achieve as the market had expected", said Lee Hardman, analyst at MUFG in London.

Neil Jones, at Mizuho Bank, said the pound "was pushing lower as the pendulum shifts from a soft to a hard Brexit".

Uber 'to pay $245m'

Uber sign
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Tech site Recode reports that Uber has agreed to pay Alphabet, which owns Waymo, the equivalent of $245m in equity.

"The agreement specifically requires Uber to give Alphabet 0.34% of Uber’s latest funding series. Sources involved in the negotiations say it’s based on a $72bn valuation," Recode reports.

'Big climbdown'

BBC technology correspondent is a little surprised by the sudden settlement in the Waymo/Uber case today:

View more on twitter

BreakingFTSE 100 sinks

The London blue-chip index has ended the day 1.3% lower at 7,078 points after volatile trading on Wall Street this afternoon.

Step by step

Dara Khosrowshahi

Uber had been accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo, Google's former autonomous driving unit.

In his statement, Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi (pictured) said that "while we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber ... we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work".

Everything you ever wanted to know about the somewhat complicated case is here from our north America technology reporter Dave Lee.

BreakingUber and Waymo settle

Uber car

Uber and Waymo have reached an out-of-court settlement four days after a trial began in the US.

The ride-sharing firm was being sued by Waymo, the self-driving company spun out of Google.

Uber was accused of stealing and using trade secrets relating to Lidar (light detection and ranging) - one of the technologies that enables an autonomous car to understand what is happening around it.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has posted a statement here.

Dow turns negative

That US market rally is fast losing steam: the Dow is now in the red, down 0.2%, although the far broader S&P 500 is still almost 0.9% higher.

US crude oil has also fallen under the $60 mark.

HomePod day

Apple shares are up 1.4% - although that is probably not directly related to the HomePod going on sale in the UK today we admit.

Ben Wood, a mobile analyst at CCS Insight, says the gadget is proving popular at one Apple store at least.

View more on twitter

Oil heads south

Oil pump
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Oil prices are down for the sixth day and are on track for their biggest weekly loss in 10 months, as record US crude output added to concerns about a sharp rise in global supplies.

Brent crude is down 81 cents at $64 a barrel after earlier falling as low as $63.70, while US oil fell 80 cents to $60.35 a barrel.

Both are down more than 9% from this year's highs late last month.

Sterling still struggling

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Speaking of things going down, sterling is still hovering around the $1.38 level against the dollar, down 0.7% on the day.

Two Dow laggards

GE logo

There are just two fallers among the 30 stocks on the Dow Jones thus far: Exxon Mobil and General Electric.

UPS is the biggest faller on the S&P, meanwhile, shedding 3.7% as investors worry about a report suggesting Amazon plans to launch its own delivery service.

BreakingWall Street rebounds

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US stock markets opened sharply higher as technology and financial stocks rose, but the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average remained on course for their biggest weekly losses in at least six years.

The Dow and the S&P both jumped almost 1%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.1%.

'Legal bar' on RBS report

RBS logo
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The Financial Conduct Authority says it is legally prevented from publishing a report into misconduct by Royal Bank of Scotland during the global financial crisis that has been requested by a parliament committee.

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey says it is "highly unlikely" that it would be able to publish the report into RBS's treatment of small businesses by a 16 February deadline set by the Commons Treasury committee earlier this week.

Mr Bailey will give MPs a copy of the report - extracts of which have already been leaked - by that date if they made a further formal request, but urged them against publishing it themselves.

"If the committee decides itself to publish the report, it will no doubt want to consider carefully the precedent of publishing a document obtained from the FCA under parliamentary privilege where the FCA considers that it is legally constrained from publishing the document itself," he said.

What is the Vix index?

The current market volatility means that investors are suddenly interested in the Vix again. But what exactly is it? Click on the video below if you want to know.

An investor's guide to the 'fear index'


US President Donald Trump has been at the tweet button again.

US lawmakers vote to pass a two-year budget, means the government's second shutdown in three weeks should end before the working day begins.

View more on twitter

Thumbs up or down?

Facebook thumbs up
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Facebook has revealed that it is testing a new "downvote" button that will let people hide comments and provide feedback about them.

However, the social network has denied that the new feature is a "dislike" button, which many Facebook users have requested.

The downvote button is being tried out by a small number of US users.

The company has also announced a number of other measures aimed at improving the Facebook community.

"We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts. This is running for a small set of people in the US only," the company said in a statement.

Read more here

Amazon set to deliver its own parcels

Amazon logo
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UPS, FedEx and DHL beware - Amazon is apparently preparing to launch its own delivery service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The "Shipping with Amazon" service will see the internet giant delivering packages from businesses to consumers.

The service is expected to be rolled out in coming weeks and will initially only be available in Los Angeles.

Trinity Mirror shares still up

Star and Mirror papers

Trinity Mirror shares are still up 5% following this morning's announcement of a deal.

Analysts Peel Hunt says the £126.7m Trinity Mirror is paying for the publishing assets of Northern & Shell, is "a very modest price".

It has kept its "buy" rating on the shares and says it expects the deal to support the company's current valuation and its 190p target price.

Barnier blow

pound coins and notes
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Until Mr Barnier spoke the pound had been trading in positive territory, boosted by the Bank of England’s comments on Thursday that interest rates would probably need to rise sooner, and by more than it had previously thought.

Against the dollar, sterling is now at its lowest level since mid-January.

Sterling hit by EU comments

Michel Barnier

Sterling is still down against the pound and the euro this morning. It's currently 0.8% lower against both the dollar and the euro at $1.38050 and €1.12680 respectively.

OFX analyst Hamish Muress has linked the fall to comments from Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator warning that a transition period immediately after Brexit in 2019 is "not a given".

"Over half of the gains that the pound made since the start of the year against the dollar have been wiped out.

"The losses against the euro are even more pronounced. With Brexit once again moving back onto the markets’ radar, risk of a sterling downturn has returned and even the Bank of England’s aggressive policy outlook hasn’t provided much support to the pound," he notes.

Eurostar launching new high-speed rail service

Eurostar train
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Eurostar is launching a London-Amsterdam service that will take just 3hr 41 minutes, and a London-Rotterdam service that will take 3 hours.

The new service launches on 4 April and there will be two trains a day.

“The launch of our service to the Netherlands represents an exciting advance in cross-Channel travel and heralds a new era in international high speed rail," said Eurostar's chief executive Nicolas Petrovic.

"With direct services from the UK to The Netherlands, France and Belgium, we are transforming the links between the UK and three of Europe’s top trading nations."

UK economy grew 0.5%, says NIESR

UK economy

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) also said it believes the British economy grew by 0.5% for the three months to 31 January 2018.

Earlier this week, NIESR forecast that Britain's economy would grow by 1.9% this year and next - slightly faster than the Bank of England predicted on Thursday. "

At this speed, the economy could start to overheat unless the Bank of England withdraws some of the stimulus that it has injected by raising the policy rate," NIESR economist Amit Kara said.

A failure of Brexit talks would cause "a marked slowdown with damaging longer term consequences", she added.

France and Germany call for G20 action on crypto-currencies

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Financial regulators in France and Germany are calling for crypto-currencies to be put on the agenda for the upcoming G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Central bank governors and finance ministers have called for an international report on the implications of virtual currencies, as well as a report on crypto-currencies' financial stability implications by the International Monetary Fund.

They also want to see the start of "transboundary" action towards regulating virtual currencies.

"We believe there may be new opportunities arising from the tokens and the technologies behind them," wrote French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, his German counterpart Peter Altmaier, French central bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau and his German colleague Jens Weidmann.

"However, tokens could pose substantial risks for investors and can be vulnerable to financial crime without appropriate measures. In the longer run, potential risks in the field of financial stability may emerge as well."

Ford of Europe applies for German banking licence

Ford factory
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Ford of Europe has applied for a German banking licence, in case the carmaker's bank is unable to offer services across Europe after the UK leaves the European Union.

“The reason that Ford Credit Europe has submitted an application for a German banking license is to ensure it is able to provide ongoing support for Ford dealers and customers post-Brexit,” a company spokesman said in a statement.

UK data 'a more positive underlying picture'

UK economy
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Consultancy firm EY says the slew of data out this morning for December is mixed, but the overall underlying picture is more positive.

  • The positives were ongoing strength in manufacturing output and a pick-up in construction output
  • The negatives were a sharp drop in industrial production and a widening in the trade deficit. However, industrial production should benefit in January from a rebound in oil and gas extraction.
  • Overall, the data is consistent with fourth quarter 2017 UK GDP growth of 0.5% quarter-on-quarter, it says.

Pound slips against the dollar and euro

pound vs dollar
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The pound has slipped slightly against both the euro and dollar, losing some of Thursday's gains after the Bank of England said interest rates would probably need to rise sooner and by more than it had previously thought.

It's currently down 0.1% against both the dollar and the euro at $1.38990 and €1.13480 respectively.