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Live Reporting

By Chris Johnston

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night!

    That's all from Business Live for another day and indeed another week. Thanks for reading as always.

    We are back bright and early on Monday from 06:00 UK time, so do join us then.

  2. Railway group interested in Alitalia

    Alitalia plane

    Italian railway group Ferrovie dello Stato says it has presented an expression of interest in Alitalia, the ailing flag carrier.

    The loss-making airline was put under special administration last year and Rome has been looking for a buyer since then.

    The new populist government wants to keep Alitalia in public hands.

  3. Wall Street makes solid gains


    The Nasdaq was the standout performer on Wall Street today, jumping 2.3% to 7,496.89 as investors decided tech stocks still had some attraction. Amazon added 4%, while Netflix surged 5.75%.

    The broader S&P 500 managed a more modest 1.4% rise to 2,767.13, while the Dow Jones was up 1.15% to 25,339.99.

  4. BlackRock wins Scottish Widows battle

    BlackRock sign

    BlackRock has won the mandate to manage £30bn of Scottish Widows assets and invest them.

    The Lloyds Banking Group decision comes after the bank said earlier this year it was terminating £109bn of asset management agreements with Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA).

    Lloyds said the merger of SLA and Aberdeen Asset Management made the company a competitor, although SLA is challenging this view.

    Scottish Widows chief Antonio Lorenzo said BlackRock haD been chosen because "it clearly demonstrated its global market leading capabilities and deep expertise in the UK market".

    Another £80bn of assets are still under review.

  5. Huffington Post UK editor departs

    Polly Curtis has departed as editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post UK after about a year in the role.

    In a series of tweets this afternoon, she did not give a reason for stepping down.

    View more on twitter
  6. Brent back at $80

    Oil pump

    Brent turned lower on Friday, giving up earlier gains, after the International Energy Agency deemed supply to be adequate and the outlook for demand weakening.

    The energy watchdog said in its monthly report that the market looked "adequately supplied for now" and cut its forecasts for world oil demand growth this year and in 2019.

    "This is due to a weaker economic outlook, trade concerns, higher oil prices and a revision to Chinese data," the IEA said.

    Brent crude fell 25 cents a barrel to $80.01 after dropping 3.4% yesterday. US oil was 6 cents higher at $71.03 a barrel.

    "The weaker outlook has gotten a raised profile in the market, but there's potential for a real supply crunch toward the end of this year," said John Kilduff at Again Capital Management in New York. "The demand outlook is hurt right now because of the situation with the US and China in particular."

  7. Buckingham sues Fleetwood Mac

    Fleetwood Mac
    Image caption: Lindsay Buckingham (second right) is suing the rest of Fleetwood Mac
    View more on twitter

    As the BBC's international business correspondent Theo Leggett points out, the world's most fractious band is at it again.

    This time it's guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham suing the rest of Fleetwood Mac because they fired him from a world tour.

    He claims he is set to lose $14m (£10.5m) as a result.

    The legal documents are a fascinating, if not rather grim, read.

  8. Sears 'to close 150 stores'

    Sears sign

    It's not just retailers on this side of the pond facing tough times.

    Sears was once America's biggest retailer, but is about to file for Chapter 11, according to reports. It may close up to 150 stores and keep at least another 300 open as part of a restructuring plan under bankruptcy protection, Reuters reports.

    That would leave the fate of Sears' remaining 250 stores uncertain, according to sources familiar with the matter. They could depend on talks with landlords over their leases.

    The beleaguered 125-year-old retailer hopes to sell stores and other assets in court-supervised auctions while under Chapter 11 protection, the sources said.

    Chief executive Eddie Lampert, who is also the company's largest shareholder and creditor, is exploring bidding on the assets as a so-called stalking horse, setting a floor with offers that other possible buyers could then attempt to top, the sources said.

  9. Pubs' plea over tax hikes

    Pub interior

    As you settle down for a pint or five tonight, be aware that thousands of pubs face closure if the Chancellor presses ahead with a rise in beer duty in this month's Budget - according to an industry warning at least.

    Britain's Beer Alliance, made up of individual publicans and brewers, is urging drinkers to contact their MP.

    A report estimates 6,000 pubs could go over the next five years, along with about 12,500 jobs.

    The industry fears Philip Hammond will hike duty by 3.4% on 29 October, with future inflation-linked rises planned.

    Read more here.

  10. How Spotify helped Dave hit number one


    Austin Darbo, Spotify's head of shows and editorial in the UK, has posted some interesting tweets about Funky Friday, a track by Dave ft Fredo that debuted at number one on the UK singles chart tonight.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  11. Cash boost for Patisserie Valerie

    Patisserie Valerie sign

    More developments on Patisserie Valerie. The embattled company said tonight it had raised about £15.7m after placing just over 31 million new shares with institutional investors at 50p each.

    More details if you want them in this statement to the London Stock Exchange here.

  12. Facebook 'cooperating with FBI' on hack

    Facebook logo

    Facebook said the attackers in the mass security breach it revealed late last month accessed the accounts of about 30 million people and stole name and contact details of 29 million.

    Hackers stole digital login codes allowing them to take over nearly 50 million user accounts in its worst security breach, but did not confirm last month if information had actually been stolen.

    The social network said on Friday that for 15 million people, attackers accessed two sets of information - name and contact details including phone number, email, or both.

    For another 14 million people, the attackers also accessed other details including username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion and birthday.

    "We're cooperating with the FBI, which is actively investigating and asked us not to discuss who may be behind this attack," Facebook said in a blog post.

  13. Rocket fuel

    And while a label is quite easy to whip up, it does suggest Tesla may actually be planning to start selling tequila.

    But is it merely a byproduct of Space X launches we wonder?

    View more on twitter
  14. Would you drink to that?

    As reluctant as I am to give any more publicity to Elon Musk, I merely post his latest tweet.

    I suppose given the man decided selling flamethrowers was a good idea, an alcoholic beverage seems measured and thoughtful in comparison.

    View more on twitter
  15. FTSE's saggy week

    City of London

    The FTSE 100 ended lower - under the 7,000 point level for the first time since March - despite a move back into positive territory earlier in the day.

    It started the week at 7,318 points, so it's not a disaster but something of a correction nevertheless.

    The index started the 7,648 points, by the way.

    European markets also experienced a similar reversal today following an initial recovery, with the Cac in Paris down 0.14% and the Dax in Frankfurt falling 0.13%.

    Meanwhile, Wall Street continues to surge ahead, with the S&P 500 up 0.8%, the Nasdaq 0.9% higher and the Dow is up a mere 0.1%.

  16. Don't sleep on it


    The US is investigating alleged dumping of mattresses from China after complaints from several manufacturers, including Leggett & Platt and Tempur Sealy, the Department of Commerce said.

    Seven other private companies - such as Future Foam and Serta Simmons Bedding - also signed the petition asking Commerce to investigate, the department said.

    Imports of mattresses from China were worth more than $430m last year.

    If the US International Trade Commission finds that dumped mattresses from China are hurting American firms, duties will be imposed on those imports.

  17. Another firm abandons Saudi conference

    Improbable, a UK technology company that focuses on large-scale simulations in the cloud, is the latest company to pull out of an upcoming Saudi investment conference.

    Its head of communications firm tells the BBC: "In light of recent events, we will no longer be attending the Future Investment Initiative."

  18. FTSE ends under 7,000

    The London blue-chip index has ended a topsy turvy week five points short of the 7,000 point mark - a fall of 11 points, or 0.16% compared with Thursday's close.

    Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco were the biggest fallers, down 5.7% and 3.7% respectively.