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Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's all from the Business Live page for tonight. See you again tomorrow from 06:00.

  2. Wall Street closes higher

    Tech and financial stocks led a rally on Wall Street as President Donald Trump toned down his views on attacking Syria and investors focused on what could be the strongest earnings reporting season in seven years.

    "In the past few days, some of the worries that the market was fretting about - trade wars, Facebook, missile attacks - all of those have things have been walked back a little bit," said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

    At the closing bell, the Dow Jones was up 1.2% at 24,483 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 2,6631. The Nasdaq rose 1% to 7,140.2.

  3. New EU tests to tackle 'rip-off' food complaints

    Supermarket

    New EU food quality tests need to be strict enough to stop manufacturers selling some brands with inferior ingredients in ex-communist countries, a Euro MP shaping the new rules says.

    The EU Commission plans to collect data on a range of foods, so that countries can compare brand quality more easily.

    "We have strict safety regulations, but quality is not defined in legislation," said Croatian MEP Biljana Borzan.

    Brand quality varies too much across the EU, politicians and consumers say.

    Read more here.

  4. Taiwan's state-run dating agency

    Taiwan state dating site

    Taiwan hopes to tackle an aging population by organising more government-run matchmaking events, Bloomberg reports.

    More than 14% of the population is 65 or older, and only Japan has a greater proportion of elderly people in East Asia, the article says.

    "Long work hours, stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing and child care are the main obstacles couples face when considering having children," the article says.

  5. And the winner is...

    Scene from What Remains

    The top prize at the Bafta Games Awards has just been announced, and it goes to... What Remains of Edith Finch.

    It is something of an upset, as Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice had been the favourite to win having scored the most nominations.

    What Remains is a first-person mystery adventure, and was developed by the US indie studio Giant Sparrow.

    It had not won any of the other categories before taking Best Game.

    Hellblade took the British Game prize and four other awards at the London event.

    Nintendo's Super Mario Odyssey won two awards: Game Design and Family.

  6. Wall Street update

    Tech and financial stocks boosted Wall Street as President Donald Trump suggested that a military strike on Syria may not be imminent and investors turned their focus to the upcoming earnings season.

    Financial shares rose 2%, which had the biggest percentage advance among the S&P's 11 major sectors. The technology sector rose 1.4%, adding the most gains to the S&P.

    The Dow Jones rose 324 points, or 1.34%, to 24,513.5, the S&P 500 gained 24.64 points, or 0.93%, to 2,666.8 and the Nasdaq added 77.8 points, or 1.1%, to 7,146.8.

    Investor sentiment was also boosted by US jobs data that pointed to sustained labour market strength.

    Facebook was a notable laggard among technology stocks, falling 1.4% following a 5.3 percent gain over the past two days when Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on the social network's data security.

  7. Hellblade wins Bafta's Game Award

    Scene from Hellblade

    Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice has won four prizes at the Bafta Games Awards.

    The third-person action title won British Game, Artistic Achievement, Audio Achievement and a new category, Game Beyond Entertainment. It features a female protagonist who suffers from psychosis.

    Hellblade is themost nominated game, having been put up for nine prizes in total.

    However, it has missed out on two other awards.

    The Music prize went to the run-and-gun action title Cuphead. Night In The Woods took Narrative.

  8. Officer who dragged man from plane sues United Airlines

    United Airlines aeroplanes

    A former Chicago aviation security officer who was fired after dragging a man off a flight last year has filed a lawsuit against the airline and city.

    James Long is suing Chicago's Department of Aviation (CDA), its commissioner and the city, alleging he was not trained on how to use force.

    He was sacked after removing David Dao from the plane last April to make room for United Airlines employees.

    Video footage of the incident sparked international outcry on social media.

  9. Trump says he backs 'cooperative' approach to Russia probe

    US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said a federal probe into possible collusion between Moscow and his presidential election campaign is a "witch hunt," said on Thursday he backed a "cooperative" approach to the investigation.

    "I have agreed with the historically cooperative, disciplined approach that we have engaged in with Robert Mueller," Trump said, referring to the special counsel leading the investigation.

    This is quite a change from... Wednesday, when he tweeted:

    View more on twitter

    Mr Mueller has been looking into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

  10. What can Vladimir Putin do to the US?

    Video content

    Video caption: Facing an increasing number of economic sanctions, how can Russia retaliate?

    The BBC's World Business Report has been looking into the economic levers that Russia might use against the US.

    Russia may have one of the world's largest energy reserves but blocking sales of oil or gas to the US are unlikely to have an effect.

    The tightening grip of sanctions on Russia has led President Vladimir Putin to threaten retaliation.

    However, thanks to shale, the US is not reliant on overseas oil and gas in the same way as it was twenty years ago.

    The BBC's Vishala Sri-Pathma asked Elina Ribakova, chief economist at Deutsche Bank: does Russia have other potential ways to strike back economically?

  11. Volkswagen puts Herbert Diess in the driving seat

    Herbert Diess

    Volkswagen has replaced its chief executive with Herbert Diess, who takes on responsibility for the entire company after overseeing the VW brand.

    Mr Diess replaces Matthias Mueller, who was appointed in 2015 at the height of the diesel emissions scandal.

    Mr Diess has clashed with unions and has been known for his cost-cutting measures.

    As well as Volkswagen, the German company also owns several other brands including Audi and Porsche.

    Read more here.

  12. Trump to order EPA to 'cut red tape' for manufacturers

    US President Donald Trump has said he will sign a memorandum on Thursday ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut more environmental regulations.

    "Today I will sign a presidential memorandum directing the EPA to cut even more red tape for our manufacturers," he said, "so that they can expand and continue to hire and to grow."

    Pressure is building on embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt, who is embroiled in allegations of ethics violations.

  13. VW to create six new business areas

    Volkswagen on Thursday said it will create six new business areas and a special portfolio for China, its largest market, and split its brands into three new vehicle groups with categories for value, premium and super-premium nameplates

    Volkswagen replaced chief executive Matthias Mueller after he failed to refocus the group's portfolio of car brands after the diesel emissions scandal of 2015.

  14. BreakingVW appoints new chief, creates new divisions

    VW logo

    Volkswagen said Herbert Diess will take over from Matthias Mueller as chief executive.

    The announcement was made after Volkswagen directors ousted Mueller and deliberated ways to reform an empire which has motorbike, bus, truck and passenger car brands including Ducati, Bentley, Porsche, Audi, Scania and Skoda.

    The carmaker also said it will reorganize its 12 brands by creating six new vehicle divisons.

  15. Trump 'warms to TPP'

    US President Donald Trump has asked his top economic advisers to look into the possibility of re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, reports the Wall Street Journal.

    He asked Robert Lighthizer and Larry Kudlow to look into re-entering TPP on favourable terms, the WSJ reports.

  16. Luxury a hit for L'Oreal

    L'Oreal stand in department store

    Sales of luxury cosmetics and stronger trading in Asia have helped L'Oreal post better-than-expected growth.

    The French beauty giant, struggling to boost its mass market cosmetics sales, said high-end products are doing particularly well.

    The world's biggest cosmetics firm said overall sales at the company grew 6.8% from a year earlier on a like-for-like basis, which removes the effect of currency swings and acquisitions or disposals.

    That beat expectations for 5.6% like-for-like growth.

    But L'Oreal's largest division, which makes mass market products and is home to labels like Maybelline, posted modest growth of 2.6%, slightly less than expected.

    L'Oreal Chairman Jean-Paul Agon said the consumer division had begun 2018 with "sharply contrasted growth between the regions", citing a difficult market in France but a thriving market in China.

  17. McDonald's shares hit by hepatitis probe

    McDonald's burger

    Shares in fast food giant McDonald's have given up earlier gains, and are now trading a little lower following a probe by a Kentucky health department.

    Madison County is investigating a single case of hepatitis A in a food handler who worked while infectious at a McDonald's on 23 March, Reuters reports.

  18. BreakingKleeneze goes into administration

    Cleaning and beauty products firm Kleeneze has gone into administration.

    The firm has a network of about 5,000 door-to-door sales people. It directly employs 69 people at its head office in Accrington and a further 71 at its warehouse in Heywood, administrators FRP Advisory LLP said.

    Joint Administrator David Acland said: "Kleeneze has performed well over the years and has a strong network of independent sales distributors. Unfortunately, tough trading conditions have resulted in the business entering administration.

    "The business has ceased to trade but we would urge any parties interested in acquiring the business to contact us as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are assisting employees and stakeholders during this difficult period."

  19. Banks urged to take Brexit action

    Sandcastle

    European Union regulators have urged banks, investors and customers to take “timely action” to avoid disruption to cross-border derivatives and insurance contracts caused by Brexit.

    Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 and a transition deal until the end of 2020 agreed last month won’t be formally ratified until October or later.

    “Contingency planning should consider timely responses to all potential challenges, such as contract continuity and possible relocations,” said a joint report from the EU’s banking, insurance and markets regulators on risks to the financial system.

  20. Trump: Farmers will be taken care of in Nafta

    Donald Trump

    US President Donald Trump has said will take care of farmers "100%" in trade deals.

    He added that China has consistently treated US agriculture "unfairly".

    Mr Trump trade "negotiations" between Washington and Beijing were going well, conflicting with Chinese official statements on the dispute.

    "We're doing really well with China. I think we're having some great discussions, we'll see what happens," Mr Trump said at a meeting with governors and lawmakers.

    "We want more trade. We want no barriers," Mr Trump said.