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Live Reporting

Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

  1. Hold - Good night

    That's all from the Business Live page for tonight. See you bright and early tomorrow at 06:00.

  2. Dow and S&P rise

    The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes advanced on Thursday to halt a two-session losing skid, buoyed by gains in industrial and energy shares.

    The Dow Jones rose 164.7 points, or 0.66%, to 24,962.4, the S&P 500 gained 2.63 points, or 0.10%, to 2,703.9, and the Nasdaq dropped 8.14 points, or 0.11, to 7,210.09.

    Industrial shares climbed 0.59%, led by a 3% gain in Quanta Services after its quarterly results, and a 3.34% rise in United Technologies after the aero parts maker said it is exploring a breakup of its business portfolio.

    Energy stocks, up 1.08%, also helped support gains, as oil prices advanced.

  3. Blow for Dyson in EU vacuum cleaner case

    James Dyson

    A top European court advisor has rejected a complaint by British vacuum cleaner firm Dyson that EU energy labels underplay the efficiency of its bagless devices.

    Dyson says the EU's energy efficiency labels fail to recognise that ordinary cleaners become less energy efficient as their bags become clogged with dust, unlike the company's bagless cleaner.

    In a separate case, Dyson has challenged the labelling system itself. Advocate general Henrik Saugmandsgaard Oe was giving an initial opinion as part of that process.

    He said EU law made the energy label compulsory and also set out its format and the information to be included in it. The methodology of the test was not part of that information. He concluded that EU law precluded the use of supplementary labels on energy efficiency as these would undermine the aim of the law -- to standardise information for consumers.

  4. Bud and breakfast

    Marijuana leaves

    A marijuana entrepreneur is pulling in more than $1m per year with his "Bud and Breakfast" hotel in Colorado, says Business Insider.

    The drug is legal to possess in the US state for people over 21 years old.

    Joel Schneider's innovation is providing a space to smoke/ingest it - most hotels ban the drug.

    Rooms cost between $300 and $400 per night, and include breakfasts of bacon, eggs, waffles, and weed, the article says.

  5. Volkswagen 'a disgrace' says MP

    Volkswagen cars

    An environment minister has said Volkswagen should "hang their heads in shame" for the company's role in tests where humans and monkeys inhaled diesel fumes for hours.

    Therese Coffey told MPs the tests were "disgusting", adding that Volkswagen's role in cheating emissions tests was "a disgrace".

    Volkswagen launched an inquiry last month when it was reported that it was one of three car manufacturers funding scientific tests in which monkeys and humans were exposed to diesel fumes.

  6. Booze cruise? Think again...

    Victoria Fritz

    BBC transport correspondent

    Cross channel ferry

    UK drivers licences may not be recognised by the EU after Brexit, the Daily Telegraph reports.

    British vehicle registration documents and certificates of professional competence may also become invalid in the EU.

    The result could be that travellers would be unable to hire cars or take out insurance.

    The warning was issued in presentation slides released by the European Commission today, the Daily Telegraph article says.

    The Department for Transport says ministers are “confident” a deal will be agreed and that the government has already begun taking steps to mitigate the impact if discussions fail.

    Plan B is signing up to the United Nations convention on road traffic. It allows drivers to apply for an International Driving Permit.

    That document would enable UK drivers to drive in the EU. But its more paperwork and more cost, and it's a paper-based system. The RAC and AA charge £5.50 for it.

  7. Mexico turns to Brazilian grain

    Mexican buyers imported ten times more corn from Brazil last year amid concern that Nafta renegotiations could disrupt their US supplies, a Reuters analysis of government data and grain merchants finds.

    Mexico is on track to buy more Brazilian corn in 2018, which could have an impact on a US agricultural sector already struggling with low grain prices and the rising competitive threat from South America.

  8. Phoenix 'in talks to buy Standard Life Aberdeen unit for £3bn'

    Phoenix Group Holdings is in talks to buy Standard Life Aberdeen's insurance business for about £3bn, Reuters reports.

    The deal for the unit could be announced as soon as Friday, when Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) publishes its first set of annual results.

    Insurer Phoenix would fund the transaction with a rights issue of about £1bn, Reuters says.

  9. Elon Musk quits AI ethics research group

    Elon Musk

    Technology billionaire Elon Musk has quit the board of the research group he co-founded to look into the ethics of artificial intelligence.

    In a blog post, OpenAI said the decision had been taken to avoid any conflict of interest as Mr Musk's electric car company, Tesla, became "more focused on AI".

    He has been one of AI's most vocal critics, stressing the potential harms.

    Mr Musk will continue to donate to and advise the group.

  10. Universities 'making money from strikes'

    Striking staff

    A fascinating post from the Financial Times Alphaville blog.

    Due to the economics of tuition fees and the employment of lecturers, universities could actually be making money from widespread staff strikes over pensions, the article says.

    Pay is docked from striking lecturers, but students are not reimbursed fees.

    Neat, eh? Everyone's a winner, apart from the staff and the students.

  11. Reality Check

    KFC shortage: How much do we spend on fried chicken?

    KFC logo

    KFC outlets across the UK have closed temporarily this week as delivery problems led to a shortage of chicken.

    The fried chicken chain switched its delivery contract last week to DHL, which blamed "operational issues" for the disruption.

    Nearly half of the restaurant's 900 outlets were closed on Tuesday night - down from 575 on Monday.

    The fast food giant expects disruption to its restaurants to continue for the rest of the week.

    Read more here.

  12. Snap shares sink after redesign and Jenner tweet

    Kylie Jenner

    Snap shares have sunk about 7% in the third session of losses in a row after a poorly received redesign for Snapchat.

    The redesign, which separated "friends" from content feeds, did not impress some users, including Snap "influencer" Kylie Jenner, the half-sister of celebrity Kim Kardashian.

    On Wednesday, Ms Jenner - who has almost 25 million Twitter followers - tweeted: "sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad."

    Summit Insights Group analyst Jonathan Kees says: "She's one of the Snapchat divas... it's not good if one of the main symbols for your app says 'I'm not going to use the app'" -

  13. Airbnb looks to luxury holidays and hotels for growth

    Airbnb app

    Airbnb is rolling out new services aimed at attracting travelers looking for luxury accommodations and traditional hotels, the latest move to contend with sputtering growth in its original home-renting business.

    Regulators in key cities such as Berlin, London, New York and San Francisco, its home town, have cracked down on short-term rentals, blaming Airbnb for exacerbating already tight housing markets.

    The company has been forced to slash its listings in certain popular cities as part of its concessions to regulators.

  14. Barclays' gender pay gap 'shocking' says Morgan

    Nicky Morgan

    The gender pay gap at Barclays is "shocking", says Treasury chair Nicky Morgan.

    "On average, women at Barclays International are paid half as much as men. For this to be the case in 2018 is shocking," she says.

    "Barclays has signed up to the Women in Finance Charter, which commits signatories to supporting the progression of women into senior roles in the financial services sector.

    "One way of reducing the gender pay gap is to increase the proportion of women in more senior roles, so it appears that Barclays is on the right track."

  15. Tech giants face new UK tax clampdown

    Facebook logo

    Some of the world's largest technology firms are facing hefty new bills as the UK government moves to fundamentally change the way they are taxed.

    Google and Facebook are braced for significant changes in the tax system after the Treasury told the BBC that a new tax on revenues was the "potentially preferred option".

    It would open up the firms' huge UK sales numbers to the tax authorities.

    At the moment, tax is levied on profits, a much smaller figure.

    Read more here.

  16. May holds crunch Brexit talks at Chequers

    Government cars arriving at Chequers

    Theresa May and her senior ministers are meeting at the PM's country retreat in the latest attempt to settle the government's approach to Brexit.

    The group of 11 are at Chequers to decide how closely the EU and UK should align after exit day in March 2019.

  17. Snap chief gets $638m pay for float year

    Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr

    Snap chief executive officer Evan Spiegel received $637.8m total compensation during 2017, the year the company went public, according to an SEC filing.

    The figure is based on stock-based awards worth $636.6m and salary and other compensation worth about $1.2m.

  18. Ford names Kumar Galhotra as North America chief

    Kumar Galhotra

    Giant US car maker Ford has appointed company insider Kumar Galhotra as president for its North America business, filling the gap left by the abrupt departure of Raj Nair on Wednesday after an internal investigation.

    Mr Galhotra has worked for Ford for 29 years and previously led its luxury Lincoln Motor Company arm.

    He will report to Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets.

    The appointment will be be effective from 1 March.

    Ford said on Wednesday that Mr Nair was leaving the company immediately after an investigation found his behaviour was "inconsistent with the company's code of conduct."

    It did not give any details on what that behaviour was.

    A company spokesman said the review was launched in the past few weeks after Ford received a report of inappropriate behaviour.

    Mr Galhotra, who has also been Ford's chief marketing officer since last year, will take charge of a business that generates about 90% of Ford's global profits.

  19. Flybe shares take off as Stobart weighs up takeover bid

    Flybe plane

    Shares in Flybe have soared by more than a quarter after the owner of London Southend Airport said it was weighing up a potential swoop for the regional airline.

    Flybe was up about 26% in afternoon trading on the London Stock Exchange.

    Stobart Group is looking at "alternative structures" for its airline and leasing business.

    The company, which spans infrastructure, energy and aviation, said one option was to take a "non-controlling interest in a vehicle to acquire 100% of Flybe".