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Summary

  1. US stock markets open lower
  2. Inflation stays at 3%
  3. Sterling rises, FTSE 100 struggles
  4. Thomas Cook resumes Tunisia flights
  5. Call for energy bill price cap

Live Reporting

By Dearbail Jordan

All times stated are UK

Tim Cook is 'not a fan' of special dividends

Apple chief executive Tim Cook
Getty Images

Anyone hoping for a nice big windfall if Apple decides to repatriate some of its $285bn overseas cash pile might be disappointed.

There has been much speculation that Apple could bring some of that money back to the US following the country's recent tax changes.

However, at Apple's annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, Mr Cook said: "Special dividends, I'm not really a fan of.

"But in terms of annual increases in the dividend, it is something that this board and management are committed to doing."

US markets close up

US stock market traders
Getty Images

The US markets ended Tuesday in positive territory after trading began in the red.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.16% at 24,640 points.

The S&P 500 was up 0.26% at 2,663 points, and the Nasdaq was up 0.45% at 7014 points.

That Marmite question...

Virgin Atlantic in Palestinian couscous row

Virgin Atlantic
Getty Images

Virgin Atlantic has found itself at the centre of a social media row after removing the word Palestinian from an in-flight meal following complaints.

A couscous-style salad had been described on a menu as "inspired by the flavours of Palestine".

Pro-Israel social media users called for a boycott of the airline, saying it pandered to Palestinian supporters.

However, the airline's decision to remove the terms sparked a fresh backlash from Palestinian sympathisers.

Read more here.

Macron full of praise for ECB president

Mario Draghi
Getty Images

Emmanuel Macron doesn't care what nationality the next president of the European Central Bank is - as long as they are as competent as the current chief Mario Draghi (pictured).

Mr Draghi, an Italian, isn't going anywhere just yet - his term runs until October 2019.

But it's nice to know he has the confidence of the French president.

Love in the digital age

BT Sport to pay more per match

Premier League Football
Getty Images

BT Sport is paying £9.2m per football game under its new broadcasting deal with the Premier League.

This compares to £7.6m per match in its existing agreement.

The company said: "BT has remained financially disciplined during this process and remains in a strong position to make a return on this investment through subscription, wholesale, commercial and advertising revenues, especially following the acquisition of EE, which more than doubled BT's customer base."

Wall Street reverses earlier falls

Wall Street
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US stock markets have reversed earlier falls and are now trading ahead.

Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 81.70 points at 24,682.97.

The S&P 500 is up 9.07 points at 2,665.07 while the Nasdaq is 32.91 points ahead at 7,014.87.

How the Premier League deal breaks down

More on the Premier League auction.

BT Sport will pay a total £885m to broadcast 32 football matches per season on Saturday with kick-off at 12.30pm between 2019/20 and 2021/22.

Under its previous agreement with the Premier League, BT paid a total £960m over three years to show 42 games per season.

Sky Sports is paying a total £3.5bn to screen 128 matches per season under its new deal.

Its rights include 32 games on Saturday beginning at 5.30pm.

Last time, Sky paid a total £4.1bn to show 126 matches per season.

'Status quo' reaches ceiling in games auction

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion
Getty Images
Chelsea's N'Golo Kante and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion battle it out at Stamford Bridge

Paolo Pescatore, vice president in multiplay and media at CCS Insight, says: "As we predicted, there was only one likely scenario, the status quo."

BT and Sky have agreed to pay £4.4bn to screen 160 Premier League games per season over three seasons.

There are a total 200 matches for broadcast with two packages of 20 games each still being bid on.

In the last auction, BT and Sky paid £5.1bn to show 168 games.

Mr Pescatore says: "Despite more games being available, the Premier League has failed to maximise its prized asset. This suggests that there is clearly a ceiling that consumers are willing to pay for watching Premier League games and subsequently what providers’ are willing to bid for.”

Premier League raises £4.4bn from broadcasting rights

BT Sports
Getty Images

The Premier League says it has so far raised £4.4bn from auctioning off five of the seven broadcasting rights packages to BT Sports and Sky Sport.

It says that there are two live packages still to be sold "with interest from multiple bidders".

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore, says: "To have achieved this investment with two packages of live rights remaining to sell is an outcome that is testament to the excellent football competition delivered by the clubs."

BreakingBT and Sky win Premier League UK live broadcasting rights

The Premier League has announced that BT and Sky have won five of the seven live broadcasting rights packages up for auction for seasons 2019/20 – 2021/22.

More details to follow....

US weighs up tariffs on imports

Donald Trump says he is considering a range of options to address steel and aluminum imports that he said are hurting US producers.

The US President said: "What we're talking about it tariffs and/or quotas.

"Part of the options would be tariffs coming in. As they dump steel, they pay tariffs, substantial tariffs, which means the United States would actually make a lot of money."

All about inflation

'Dollar Signs' 1980- 1982 by Andy Warhol,
Getty Images

Economists are expecting US inflation to show a rise of 0.3% in January when new data is announced on Wednesday.

In December, the rise was a modest 0.1% and for the 12 months it reached at 2.1%.

Mike Terwilliger, portfolio manager at the Resource Credit Income Fund, says: "After years of pronouncing inflation 'dead,' the market is now suddenly focused on and dreading inflation, which of course was at the cornerstone of this most recent period of market volatility."

Watch: The robot that can open doors

Is this a delightful toy?

Or a terrifying glimpse into a bleak future where robots dominate mankind?

You decide.

Boston Dynamics' latest SpotMini robot opens doors
A lorry crosses the Irish border

John Campbell

BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

A study produced for the Irish government suggests the country's economy would take a 7% hit.

Read more

The problem with confidentiality agreements

Financial Times journalist Madison Marriage details her experience at the Presidents Club dinner

More news on the Presidents Club scandal.

The Financial Times, which broke the story in January, reports that the agency which originally hired women to work at the charity dinner in London has told them they can disregard a confidentiality agreement they signed if they want to report criminal behaviour to the police.

It is a distinct change of tack from the message these women were given before the event at the Dorchester Hotel.

Oil falls on supply/demand imbalance

US oil industry
Getty Images

Oil prices fell after the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) said that supply could outstrip demand in 2018.

Brent crude is down 0.5% at $62.30 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate is off 0.9% at $58.77.

The IEA lifted its forecast for oil demand growth to 1.4 million barrels per day from previous expectations of 1.3 million.

However, it said that growing output, particularly in the US, could outweigh demand.

It said: "Today, having cut costs dramatically, US producers are enjoying a second wave of growth so extraordinary that in 2018 their increase in liquids production could equal global demand growth."

London markets close lower

The FTSE 100 has ended Tuesday down 9.05 points at 7,168.01.

The FTSE 250 is also lower at close, off 59.25 points at 19,320.08.