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Live Reporting

By Mary-Ann Russon

All times stated are UK

  1. Wylfa suspension 'raises prospect of energy crisis'

    Lightbulb

    Justin Bowden, national secretary for energy at the GMB union, said: "Hitachi’s announcement, coming so soon after the Moorside fiasco, raises the very real prospect of a UK energy crisis."

    He said: “This decision has nothing to do with costs. The planned reactor at Wylfa is not the 'first of a kind', and this fact - combined with the government stake - would ensure Wylfa was built at a cost much lower than Hinkley Point C currently under construction in Somerset.

    “At the end of the day, it is a basic function of the government to guarantee we have enough electricity for our homes and industries and history shows that voters do not forgive or forget when the lights go out."

  2. ITV shares lead the FTSE 100 lower

    ITV logo

    With a 6% fall, shares in ITV are the biggest losers on the FTSE 100.

    It follows negative comments from analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML).

    They say TV viewing habits are changing more quickly than originally thought - with more people are moving away from the TV schedule to viewing on demand.

    That is bad for traditional broadcasters like ITV, which generate much of their income from advertising.

    Meanwhile, the analysts point out, ITV is having to invest more in its online operations.

    BAML has changed its view on ITV shares to "underperform".

  3. Government and Hitachi 'unable to reach agreement'

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, says: "As the Business Secretary [Greg Clark] set out in June, any deal needs to represent value for money and be the right one for UK consumers and taxpayers.

    "Despite extensive negotiations and hard work by all sides, the government and Hitachi are unable to reach agreement to proceed at this stage."

  4. Horizon boss 'very sorry' over Wylfa

    Wylfa Newydd

    Horizon was the company set up to actually build the power station at Wylfa. It's owned by Hitachi.

    Chief executive Duncan Hawthorne said in a statement: “We have been in close discussions with the UK Government, in co-operation with the government of Japan, on the financing and associated commercial arrangements for our project for some years now.

    "I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned."

    Horizon has 330 employees at its headquarters in Gloucester. Around 65 employees are based at the site.

  5. 'Economic rationality' blights UK nuclear plant

    Nuclear power plant in Anglesey
    Image caption: Hitachi's nuclear power project would have a replaced an existing plant on the site in Anglesey

    Commenting on why Hitachi is suspending its nuclear plant project in Wales, which it been developing through its UK subsidiary Horizon Nuclear Power, it said: "Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved the parties have not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned.

    "As a result, Hitachi has decided to suspend the project at this time from the viewpoint of its economic rationality as a private enterprise, as it is now clear that further time is needed to develop a financial structure for the Horizon Project and the conditions for building and operating the nuclear power stations."

  6. Hitachi to take £2.1bn charge on Wylfa plant suspension

    Hitachi

    Hitachi has confirmed that it will suspend construction of the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in Wales and will subsequently take a substantial financial hit.

    In a statement, Hitachi said it would post an impairment loss and related expenses of approximately 300bn yen (£2.1bn).

  7. BreakingHitachi to shelve UK nuclear project

    Hitachi has announced that it will shelve its UK nuclear project.

    Quote Message: Horizon Nuclear Power has today announced that it will suspend its UK nuclear development programme, following a decision taken by its parent company Hitachi, Ltd. Horizon is developing the Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant on Anglesey in North Wales and has a second site at Oldbury on Severn in South Gloucestershire.
  8. No deal 'would be reckless', says Associated British Foods

    Leaving the European Union without a deal would be reckless, according to John Bason, finance director at Associated British Foods, which owns Primark.

    He tells Reuters: "If anybody believes that you can just go ahead without some sort of an agreement here, I think that that is reckless.

    "The UK's food supply generally is dependent on the free flowing border."

  9. World's coffee under threat

    Hands holding coffee beans

    Not news you want to hear in the morning.

    A major study of the world's coffee plants shows that 60% of 124 known species are on the edge of extinction.

    Scientists say the figure is "worrying", as wild coffee is critical for sustaining the global coffee crop.

    Read more

  10. Sage Group leads FTSE risers

    Shares in Sage Group, the UK software firm, leapt to the top of the FTSE 100 risers after it said its organic service revenue grew by 7.6% in the first quarter to £465m.

    Sage's share price rose 7.3% to 638.7p, closely followed by Primark-owner Associated British Foods whose stock added 5.7% to £23.00 after reporting its results.

    Whitbread is one of the morning's biggest fallers, down 4.4% to £45.64, after the pubs and hotel operator gave a cautious outlook for its financial year.

    The FTSE 100 is now down 0.47% at 6,830.56.

  11. Primark growth 'much less impressive'

    Primark store in central London

    In 2018 Primark largely shrugged off the gloom on British high streets, but its gravity-defying powers may be fading, says Neil Wilson of Markets.com.

    While UK revenue climbed 1% in the four months to 5 January - while like-for-like sales fell- he says we are seeing "much less impressive growth than in previous years".

    However, he is relatively confident about the retailer's future in an otherwise depressed market.

    "Two things about Primark - it doesn’t discount and prices are so low it doesn’t do online, so it avoids certain pitfalls and certain opportunities that others face. Ultimately the lack of an online offering will cap sales growth, but as long as it can maintain margins and be the go-to high street brand for affordable clothing it should be relatively OK."

  12. Ladbrokes-owner bets on higher profits

    Ladbrokes shop

    GVC, which owns the bookmaker Ladbrokes, says it now expects full-year profits to be ahead of market expectations following a strong final quarter.

    The firm, which owns a string of gambling brands, is projecting underlying earnings of between £750m and £755m for the year ended 31 December 2018, thanks in large part to growth in its online business.

    The firm, which bought Ladbrokes Coral in 2017 in a deal worth up to £4bn, said the merger was likely to further boost performance in 2019.

    A 2018 deal with MGM Resorts to enter the recently liberalised US sports betting market is also expected to bear fruit, it said.

  13. FTSE opens down, pound lower

    Pound coins

    The FTSE 100 has opened 0.36% lower at 6,838.25.

    The FTSE 250 is 0.34% lower at 18,424.09.

    Meanwhile, the pound is down against the dollar so for this morning - off 0.18% at $1.2858.

    It is marginally off against the euro at €1.1295.

  14. 'Cautious' outlook from Premier Inn owner

    Premier Inn bed

    Whitbread - the owner of the Premier Inn hotel chain - has reported rising sales but says it remains "cautious on UK environment next year given uncertainty and higher inflation".

    The company added that it expects underlying profit before tax in the next financial year "to be consistent" with the current financial year.

    Total sales at the UK hotel business rose by 3.5% in the three months to 29 November, although like-for-like sales slipped 0.2%.

    Including the company's food and drink business - which includes chains such as Brewers Hayre and Beefeater - total UK sales rose 2.5%, with like-for-like sales down 0.6%.

    The London market was "strong" in the quarter, Whitbread said, but outside the capital sales continued to weaken due to "lower consumer and business confidence, along with sustained levels of inflation".

    Whitbread completed the sale of its Costa Coffee business for £3.9bn to Coca-Cola on 3 January.

  15. Confused about Brexit?

    You're not alone.

    But the BBC has drawn up a handy graphic to explain what happens next...

    Brexit graphic

    Failing that, here's a simple guide to the UK leaving the EU.

  16. Welsh nuclear plant decision awaited

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Nuclear reactor

    Japanese media is reporting that Hitachi will suspend construction of its Wylfa Newydd plant, with the outcome of a board meeting expected shortly this morning.

    Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, tells the Today programme that despite the funding difficulties, the UK could not turn its back on nuclear power. "If you want to have a secure, reliable power supply, you definitely do need nuclear," he says.

    Fossil fuels were subject to price fluctuations and renewable energy was not enough by itself, he maintained, although some energy experts disagree with him on that point. "You need a balanced mix and nuclear is part of that mix," he said.

  17. Japan stocks slip

    A man stands in front of a stock board in Japan

    Tokyo stocks have finished the day in the red.

    The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.2% to end at 20,402.27.

    The downbeat mood spread across most of Asia, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.4% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng off by 0.5% in afternoon trading.

  18. Can loss-making Netflix maintain its 'phenomenal' growth?

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Netflix boss Reed Hastings

    Streaming service Netflix reports its full-year results later today, with its boss, Reed Hastings (pictured) in confident mood.

    There will be a great deal of interest in whether it has been able to keep up its amazing growth in subscriber numbers, amazing growth in spending on new shows - and its amazing growth in losses.

    Jane Martinson, financial journalism professor at City University and former media editor of The Guardian, told the Today programme that Netflix's growth had been "phenomenal".

    "The numbers look astonishing," she said. "But the amount they spend has also rocketed." So far, the company has spent $13bn on creating content, she said, while the BBC gets a mere £4bn a year from the TV licence fee to cover all its activities.

  19. Primark struggling in the UK

    Primark

    Drilling down into Primark's results, it seems the business is still doing well in some areas.

    Overall revenue was 4% ahead of last year, while its operating profit margin climbed.

    However, much of the growth is coming from the eurozone - where revenue was up 5% - and the US, while its main UK market only expanded by 1%.

    Growth was also largely driven by "increased retail selling space", although like for like sales were ahead in September, October and December, with November appearing to be the real weak spot.

    Owner Associated British Foods' other businesses are seeing mixed results, with revenue at the sugar business down some 14% on the same period last year.