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Live Reporting

By Katie Hope

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    That's it for Business Live for the evening.

    Join us bright and early at 6,00am on Wednesday for all the breaking business and economic news.

  2. What's Mike Ashley's plan?

    Dearbail Jordan

    Business reporter

    Mike Ashley

    With this latest deal - to rescue bike chain Evans Cycles - billionaire businessman Mike Ashley has returned to the sports and outdoor roots that have mostly dominated his career.

    After establishing Sports Direct in 1982, Mr Ashley has built his business through buying up well-known names such as Dunlop Slazenger, outdoor gear specialist Karrimor, hat-maker Kangol and the boxing brand Lonsdale.

    Sports Direct also owns the iconic London sports store Lillywhites and Mr Ashley - widely reported to be a Tottenham fan - owns Newcastle United football club. But the Evans Cycles deal is notable for another reason.

    As more retailers fall, the wider Mike Ashley's control of Britain's High Streets spreads. His portfolio includes House of Fraser and luxury fashion chain Flannels as well as major shareholdings in Debenhams and French Connection.

    Mr Ashley even controls Agent Provocateur which, like House of Fraser and Evans, he bought after the upmarket lingerie chain went intro administration.

    What isn't clear is what Mr Ashley's strategy is. Is there method to his investments or is it some kind of Monopoly board power grab?

    Perhaps the next deal - because undoubtedly there's bound to be another in the not too distant future - will make things clearer.

  3. Wall Street closes higher

    All three of the major US stock indexes have ended trading higher, with a late upward swing in afternoon trading extending their gains.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.77% to 24,874.88, the S&P 500 gained 1.57% to 2,682.64 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.58% to 7,161.65.

  4. Facebook's user growth disappoints

    Facebook logo with Mark Zuckerberg

    Well we didn't have to wait long for that.

    Facebook has indeed missed estimates for quarterly user growth and revenue but has still managed to beat profit expectations.

    The social media giant's profit rose to $1.76 per share in the third quarter from $1.59 per share a year earlier.

    Analysts on average expected earnings of $1.48 per share.

    Facebook's monthly active users were 2.27 billion, falling short of 2.29 billion estimated by analysts.

    Total revenue rose 33% to $13.73bn, also missing estimates of $13.78 billion.

  5. Facebook rises ahead of earnings

    Facebook sign

    Shares in Facebook are doing well ahead of its third quarter earnings which are due to be published after the US market closes.

    The social media giant's shares are currently trading 1.6% higher.

    The firm, which is facing a backlash for its handling of fake news and privacy and a security breach which left 50 million of its users exposed, reported its slowest user growth in two years in July.

    How user growth has done since then will be the key thing analysts and investors will be looking for in tonight's figures.

  6. Firms may need to check EU staff status

    Caroline Noakes

    Firms may have to do "rigorous" checks on EU staff if there is a no-deal Brexit, a minister has suggested.

    Caroline Nokes said employers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between people who had settled in the UK and those who had just arrived.

    She also revealed the system for EU citizens to register for settled status still didn't work on Apple phones.

    She said the US tech giant "won't release the upgrade we need in order for it to function".

    The government wants the estimated 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK to apply for settled status so they can continue living and working here.

    But that will not have happened by the time Britain leaves the EU on 29 March.

    Read more here

  7. Evan Davis' last Newsnight

    Newsnight's Evan Davis will be hosting his last programme tonight before heading off to Radio 4's PM programme.

    It's on at 22.30 so you'll have an hour for a dinner break after we shut shop here on the live page, before watching.

    View more on twitter
  8. Brexit hit to public finances

    John Springford, deputy director at the Centre for European Reform, claims the IFS' figures show the impact of Brexit on the public finances.

    View more on twitter
  9. Wall Street clings onto gains

    US traders

    Wall Street is still up with around an hour-and-a-half of trading to go.

    The Dow Jones is 0.6% higher with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both 0.3% higher.

    The upward swing comes after US President Donald Trump said "a great deal" could be struck with China, easing fears of a trade war.

    Nonetheless, analysts remain cautious.

    "Nobody can say the equity market is bottoming out. Global investor sentiment remains shaky," says Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.

    "We don't see the trade war being resolved any time soon."

    "And it comes at a time when we see all the sentiment indicators in the eurozone but also in the US too cooling down," says Rabobank's senior macroeconomic strategist Teeuwe Mevissen.

  10. 'Bad Moms' studio drops HK listing

    Leisha Santorelli

    Business reporter

    A poster for Bad Moms

    STX Entertainment would have been the first Hollywood studio to list on Chinese share markets. But the independent movie studio behind 'Bad Moms' and 'The Foreigner' has allowed its application to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange to quietly lapse as it rethinks its plans.

    The firm filed its draft prospectus six months ago but appears to have had a change of heart because of the the volatile stock markets. Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index has lost more than 20% of its value this year.

    STX could revisit a listing at a later date and has the benefit of several big name backers, including Chinese tech giant Tencent and private equity firm Hony Capital.

    Overall though, STX needs to shore up its finances. It has been losing money every year since 2015, and recent releases such asThe Happytime Murders and Mile 22 flopped at the box office.

  11. No reporters please...

    Mail on Sunday cub reporter Simon Neville (briefly of this parish last year) comments on the decision by Luke Johnson to ban journalists from Patisserie Valerie's extraordinary meeting on Thursday.

    View more on twitter
  12. GE shares sink further

    General Electric's shares are now down a whopping 10% after this morning's announcement that it was cutting its dividend and radically restructuring its power equipment division.

    The earnings were the first to be reported under new chief executive Larry Culp, who took over last month after the sudden exit of John Flannery, who was only at the helm for a year.

  13. IG gets new boss

    skyline

    Spread betting firm IG Index earlier named a new chief executive - and she's already on the board.

    June Felix was formerly president of Verifone Europe and Russia with responsibility for the operation of the business throughout those territories.

    "Drawing on my experience of financial services firms globally, I look forward to leading the evolution of the group's strategy to deliver sustainable growth and attractive shareholder returns," Ms Felix said.

    The company said she was appointed "following an extensive succession planning process that assessed external and internal candidates supported by Russell Reynolds and Korn Ferry".

    She replaces Peter Hetherington whose departure was announced last month.

  14. S&P warns of Brexit recession risk

    EU and British flags

    Standard and Poor’s is warning that a no-deal Brexit could tip Britain into a recession which lasts over a year.

    The ratings agency said its base case is that London and Brussels will agree a withdrawal deal ahead of the March 2019 deadline, but warned that the risk of a no-deal had now become large enough to take into consideration in assessing Britain’s creditworthiness.

    “In the scenario of a no-deal Brexit, our calculations indicate the UK would experience a moderate recession lasting four to five quarters, with GDP contracting by 1.2% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020,” S&P said in a statement.

  15. London markets close higher

    Markets in London have just about managed to finish in the green, with the FTSE 100 closing 0.14% higher at 7,035.85.

    The FTSE 250 ended 0.5% higher at 18,667.73.

    Germany's Dax and France's Cac-40 however both ended the day down closing 0.4% and 0.2% lower respectively.

  16. EU to probe Tata Steel deal

    Tata Steel

    The European Commission has just said that it will open an in-depth investigation into the planned merger of Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, saying it could cut competition.

    The merger would create Europe's second-biggest steelmaker, after Arcelor Mittal.

    The deal would see Tata Steel's UK plants merged into a pan-European venture with annual sales of about £13bn.

    These include the politically sensitive Port Talbot works in Wales.

    "The Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, customers would face a reduced choice in suppliers, as well as higher prices," the EU executive said in a statement.

    "These customers include various European companies, ranging from major corporations to numerous small and medium-size enterprises," it said.

    The Commission now has 90 working days, until 19 March 2019, to take a decision.

  17. Apple's pricier laptops

    Leo Kelion

    Technology desk editor

    MacBook Air

    Away from Evans Cycles, Apple has unveiled new Mac computers and iPads at its latest hardware launch, and it's not only the specs that have been upgraded.

    Its entry-level laptop, the MacBook Air, now starts at £1,199 - a hefty jump from the previous model's £949 price tag - although it does offer a higher-resolution screen than before and gains a fingerprint sensor.

    The iPad Pro now has thinner bezels, loses its home button and has a stylus that magnetically snaps to its side.

    And the screenless Mac Mini returns with a pitch to the professional market thanks to it containing more powerful processors.

    One expert said the new tech might satisfy those already in the market for a new model, but would likely leave others cold.

    "I don't think Apple did enough to pull people from their premium Windows PCs to the platform, nor do I think the iPad improvements are enough to expand the market category," said Patrick Moorhead from Moor Insights and Strategy.

    Apple's shares are trading about 0.5% above their opening price.

  18. PwC 'delighted' with outcome

    Chris Hoy plus bike
    Image caption: Evans Cycles sells a range developed in conjunction with Sir Chris Hoy

    Despite the expected Evans store closures, joint administrator and PwC partner Matt Callaghan says he is delighted to have secured a future for the retailer.

    "2018 has been a very difficult trading year for the business, in part due to the impact of the extended winter weather in the early part of the year and a lack of cash to invest in stores and develop the online platform. A combination of losses, the capital expenditure requirements and tightening credit has led to a liquidity crunch.

    “Evans is a long-standing, well known and trusted brand with nearly 100 years of heritage in the cycling market. To have managed to preserve the business and transfer all staff to the purchaser is particularly pleasing," he says.

  19. Half of Evans shops to close

    Mike Ashley says he believes that it will only be able to keep around half of the current 60 Evans Cycles shops open.

    "Unfortunately some stores will have to close," he said in a statement.

  20. Evans in administration before sale

    Mike Ashley
    Image caption: Mike Ashley has a varied portfolio of investments

    Administrator PwC said Evans had already fallen into administration before being immediately bought by Sports Direct.

    It's the same tactic that Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley used when he bought department store chain House of Fraser in August.

    Mike Ashley has a varied portfolio of investments, including in department store Debenhams and the retailer French Connection. In addition, he owns the lingerie chain Agent Provocateur, as well as the clothing chain Flannels, which sells brands such as Burberry London, Fendi and Sophia Webster.

    Mr Ashley is also the owner of Newcastle United, although he attempted to sell the football club earlier this year.