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Summary

  1. Get in touch: bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk
  2. FedEx warns over profits this year
  3. BMW warns of falling profits this year
  4. Bayer shares tumble on weedkiller ruling
  5. Kingfisher chief executive to leave
  6. Pound slides as UK asks for Brexit delay

Live Reporting

By Ben Morris and Jill Treanor

All times stated are UK

  1. Fedex profit warning over weak global trade

    FedEx van

    Fedex has warned investors that profits will be weaker than expected - for the second time in three months.

    The delivery giant blamed a sharp slowdown in international trade for the profit warning.

    In addition, the launch of a six-days-per-week operation in the US, created additional costs.

    FedEx has also been struggling to integrate TNT Express, which it bought in 2016.

    The company reported that third quarter profits fell to $797m, from $1bn in the same period of last year.

  2. Factory orders slow

    car worker

    Manufacturing output growth in the quarter to March was at its weakest since May 2018, according to the latest monthly CBI industrial trends survey.

    Anna Leach, CBI Head of Economic Intelligence, said: “The manufacturing sector has slowed again this month and is now barely growing. Brexit uncertainty is one of the biggest threats to growth in the UK manufacturing sector – both current and future – as firms prioritise stockpiling goods over investing in the future of their business".

    The CBI said its monthly industrial orders balance dropped to +1 this month from February's reading of +6.

  3. 'Vultures circle Kingfisher's prized assets'

    Screwfix Ipswich

    “Although the restructuring of 'One Kingfisher' aimed to rejuvenate and simplify the business, it hasn’t quite gone to plan with tumultuous market conditions and weakening consumer confidence," said Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor.

    "The group will now be facing growing pressure to hold onto its prized assets, B&Q and Screwfix, which have seen vultures circling for some time.

    “Kingfisher only has to look at the issues faced by Homebase last summer to know how quickly a DIY chain can be knocked off its perch.”

  4. Google fined

    google logo

    Google has been fined by the competition authorities in Brussels over anti-competitive practices.

    The €1.5bn (£1.3bn) fine is for blocking rival online search advertisers.

    "Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules. The misconduct lasted over 10 years and denied other companies the possibility to compete on the merits and to innovate - and consumers the benefits of competition," said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

  5. Difficult quarter for UBS

    UBS logo

    The investment banking arm of UBS has had a difficult start to the year.

    That's according to Sergio Ermotti, chief executive of the Swiss bank, who is being quoted by Bloomberg as saying that it is operating against “one of worst first-quarter environments in recent history".

    Revenue in the investment bank is down a third from a year ago, because of the lack of mergers, acquisitions and stock market flotations.

  6. Rates on hold this year says BCC

    Here's the British Chambers of Commerce on the inflation data.

    “Inflation is likely to drift higher in the coming months as the expected increase in Ofgem’s energy price cap in April enters the calculation. Businesses also continue to report that the cost of imported raw materials are rising. As these high input costs filter through supply chains, they could increase the upward pressure on consumer prices in the short-term," said the BCC's head of economics Suren Thiru.

    Even so, he said there was "sufficient scope" for the Bank of England to keep interest rates on hold this year, as inflation will remain close to the 2% target and because of "a backdrop of increasing anxiety over Brexit and slowing economic growth".

  7. Inflation on an 'upward trend'

    fuel pump

    Back to the inflation data, which showed prices rose 1.9% in February after rising 1.8% in January.

    It is the "start of an upward trend which could see inflation reach 2.5% by April," according to Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics.

    Rising fuel prices, the end of the energy price cap and price pressures in the supply chain point to higher prices in the coming months, she said.

    "It shouldn't be too long before strong pay growth shows up in the inflation figures," she added.

    As a result, she doubts the Bank of England "will sit on its hands for too long should there be a Brexit deal or short delay" and raise rates.

  8. South of England drives house price slowdown

    house price

    The ONS said that over the past two and a half years, there has been a slowdown in UK house price growth, driven mainly by a slowdown in the south and east of England.

    While London house prices are falling over the year, the city still has the more expense average house price of £472,000.

    The North East continues to have the lowest average house price at £125,000 and is the only English region yet to surpass its pre-economic downturn peak, the statistics body said.

  9. Regulators good value for money?

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    woman onphone

    Four major UK regulators - Ofwat, Ofgem, Ofcom and the FCA - need to do more to prove they are offering enough protection to those who need it, according to National Audit Office.

    Charles Nancarrow, who wrote the report for the spending watchdog, told BBC 4's Today Programme that it was a "difficult question to answer" whether they were good value for money.

    “They need to define what overall success looks like so that they can measure their progress against that so consumers are be clear what to expect from providers and the public and citizens can clear about whether the regulators are performing well or not'".

  10. House price rises slow

    House price and inflation statistician tweets

    View more on twitter

    The data from the Office for National Statistics shows that average house prices in the UK increased by 1.7% in the year to January 2019, down from 2.2% in December 2018.

    This is the lowest annual rate since June 2013 when it was 1.5%.

    The lowest annual growth was in London, where prices fell by 1.6% over the year to January 2019, a bigger fall than the decrease of 0.7% in December 2018.

  11. Food, tobacco and booze drove inflation in Feb

    This is what Mike Hardie from the ONS had to say about the latest inflation numbers:

    “The rate of inflation is stable, with a modest rise in food as well as alcohol and tobacco offset by clothing and footwear prices rising by less than they did a year ago.

    "While average UK house prices increased over the year, the rate is down from last month, and is at its lowest in almost six years.

    "London property prices continued to fall, seeing their steepest drop since the end of the financial crisis, with Wales, the East Midlands and the West Midlands driving the overall growth.”

  12. BMW hit by rising costs and currency moves

    Here's more on BMW's warning about falling profits this year.

    "In 2019, the BMW Group will continue to invest substantial amounts in new technologies and the mobility of the future.

    However, costs are also being driven up in other areas, including the significantly higher cost of complying with stricter CO2 legislation.

    "Against this background,rising manufacturing costs are likely to have a dampening effect on earnings.

    "Moreover, unfavourable currency factors and higher raw materials prices are expected to have a medium to high three-digit million negative impact.

    "At the same time, the ongoing issue of international trade conflicts remains a source of uncertainty.

  13. BreakingBMW shares tumble after profit alert

    BMW car

    BMW shares are down more than 4% in Frankfurt.

    That is after it warned that pre-tax profit will fall by 10% this year.

    In response it has announced a major cost cutting program.

  14. Pound slides

    twenty pound notes and eu flag

    Sterling is on the slide after that announcement that Theresa May will seek a short extension to the UK's departure from the EU.

    The pound fell almost 0.3% against the dollar to $1.3224. Only a week ago, it had jumped to $1.3380 - its highest level for nine months - on expectations that a no-deal Brexit could be avoided.