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  1. Get in touch:
  2. Majestic to become Naked
  3. Sports Direct slams Debenhams
  4. £5bn Autonomy fraud trial begins
  5. Apple to launch video streaming
  6. Inmarsat sold for $3.4bn

Live Reporting

By Russell Hotten

All times stated are UK

  1. Wow Air cancels flights amid fears of collapse

    Wow Air aeroplane

    Icelandic budget airline Wow Air has cancelled flights on Monday, including a flight from Gatwick to Reykjavik.

    The troubled airline is seeking a rescue deal, but nothing is yet in place after a US investment group broke off talks with it.

    Rival budget airline Icelandair Group is now mulling a possible takeover of Wow Air.

  2. Which occupations are at highest risk of being automated?

    The Office for National Statistics has released statistics on which jobs are most likely to be automated in the future.

    The ONS says around 1.5 million jobs, or 7.4% of jobs, are at high risk of being automated, in particular "elementary occupations" including: waiters, bar staff, catering assistants, sales assistants, pharmacists, theme park staff, security guards, printing machine assistants, bus drivers, automobile assemblers, sewing machinists, coal mine and road construction operatives.

    To see whethe your job has a high chance of being automated, check out this interactive graph on the ONS here.

    View more on twitter
  3. 'Fat finger trade' hits luxury group LVMH

    LVMH fashion models

    Shares in luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton briefly fell almost 9% at opening this morning before recovering.

    The shares on Paris’ CAC 40 opened at €310.45 and slumped to €285.7 euros, their lowest level since 12 February.

    The shares then recovered very quickly and stood at €313.05 by 9.30am.

    What's going on? Traders said it was likely to be a “fat finger” erroneous trade.

    Reuters quoted one Paris trader saying: “No one understood what happened. It was likely a mistake.”

  4. London slightly lower

    London Stock Exchange

    London shares are now slightly lower, as Brexit uncertainty and growing fears of a US recession dampened investor enthusiasm.

    The FTSE 100 is now 36.6 points or 0.5% down to 7,171.39. Top of the losers is British industrial equipment rental firm Ashtead Group, slipping 2.7% to £18.11.

    The FTSE 250 is now 125.3 points or 0.7% lower to 18,872.30. Energy services firm John Wood Group heads the losers, falling 4.8% to 519.2p after agreeing to sell its non-core conveyor systems business Terra Nova for $38m to Cementation Americas.

  5. 'This tragedy won’t define us'

    Ethiopian Airlines

    Ethiopian Airlines has issued a lengthy statement reflecting on the crash of flight 302.

    The airline, which is a member of Star Alliance and has a four-star global rating, said that the Ethiopian people had been deeply affected by the tragedy, which had affected their sense of pride.

    "The investigation of the accident is well underway, and we will learn the truth. At this time, I do not want to speculate as to the cause. Many questions on the B-737 MAX airplane remain without answers, and I pledge full and transparent cooperation to discover what went wrong," Ethiopian Airlines' group chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam.

    He reiterated that Ethiopian Airlines' pilots had been fully trained on the latest service bulletins issued by both the FAA and Boring for the Boeing 737 Max 8, and were the only airline in Africa which had a full flight simulator for the Boeing 737 Max.

    He also stressed that the average age of its fleet is only five years - the airline has one of the youngest fleets of across the international airline industry, where the average age of aeroplanes is usually 12 years.

  6. Turmoil for Debenham's shares


    It's been a rollercoaster ride for Debenham's shares this morning after the market reacted to Sports Direct's latest broadside at the department store chain.

    The Mike Ashley group accused Debenhams of not being "open to any form of alternative proposal" in its fight for survival.

    Debenhams' shares slumped 18% first thing before climbing back into to the black and recovering to rise 8% higher than Friday's close, before slipping slightly back again.

    The shares are currently at 1.64, up 2.95% on the day.

  7. Hong Kong stocks slide

    People look at stock boards in Hong Kong

    It's been a bleak day for Asian markets.

    Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 2% at 28,523.35, while the Shanghai Composite also ended 2% lower at 3,043.03.

    Earlier, Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 3% at 20,977.11.

  8. Oil prices slip

    Oil rig

    Oil prices slipped this morning, over concerns of a sharp global economic slowdown, as well as oil supply disruptions.

    Brent crude is now down 30 cents or 0.5% to $66.73 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude is down 35 cents or 0.6% to $58.69 per barrel.

  9. 'No-deal has become more likely'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    UK and EU flags at the House of Commons

    Even if a Brexit withdrawal agreement is achieved this week, it's worth remembering that trade negotiations have still yet to come, and they could take years, according to Sir Andrew Cahn, former chief executive of UK Trade and Investment, and a Brussels veteran who worked there for Neil Kinnock when he was a commissioner.

    "A customs union-type relationship is the indication of the backstop, but it doesn't do more than that. It's one of the great failings I think of the negotiations - that Britain hasn't faced up to the difficult decision ahead of it," he told the Today programme.

    "What's the trade-off between sovereignty on one hand, and a close trading relationship and access to the single market on the other?"

    The outlook for businesses, he says, is still grim.

    "Businesses really need to contemplate the fact that no-deal has become more likely - that's unless the EU is bluffing, but I don't think they are," he said.

  10. Majestic shares hit by rebrand news


    Shares in Majestic have fallen more than 7% in early trading as the market reacts to its news that it will close branches and rebrand as Naked.

    The share has dropped 20p to 251.

    The company said it will give full details of branch closures and job losses in June along with its full-year results.

  11. BreakingFTSE starts the week in the red

    The FTSE 100 has started the week in the red, slipping 33.05, or 0.46%, to 7,175.85.

    The FTSE 250, has also slipped slightly in early trading, falling 43.51, or 0.23%, to 18,954.27.

  12. Provident takeover battle livens up

    Provident Financial

    The ongoing row between sub-prime lender Non-Standard Finance and rival Provident Financial has been ignited again today.

    Last month NSF made a £1.3bn takeover offer and this morning Provident named a new managing director and chairman for its banking unit, with Neil Chandler taking over as Vanquis Bank's managing director and Robert East as chairman.

    Provident also reiterated its stance that NSF's no-premium offer was not in the best interest of its shareholders, but NSF responded robustly.

    John van Kuffeler, NSF's chief executive, said: "The Provident Board has failed to present a credible vision for Provident, demonstrating that the company is still adrift without a coherent strategy or an effective management team."

    Strong words, but will they persuade shareholders?

  13. Getting retailers onto emptying high streets

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Boyds of Bedford store

    Today is quarterly rent day, one of the four days a year when commercial landlords collect their rent.

    With retail chains going under at what seems like the rate of one a day, you might think that the cost of renting on the high street is coming down.

    Sadly, in large parts of the country, it is not. Bedford's high streets have several empty units, yet some retailers still cannot afford to claim them.

    "We're kind of just off the high street through an archway - we looked at high street units when we first opened, but it's still unachievable for us," Tom Answer, co-founder of Vintage Suit Hire Company, which owns the Boyds of Bedford brand, told Today.

    Mr Answer said that the vacant units in Bedford in more prime retail locations were currently going for £40,000 a year - nearly four times the amount his business is paying now.

    "I'm not asking for any money off, but I would like it to be in the conversation of how do we support small businesses, in terms of giving them the opportunity to realise viable businesses," he said.

  14. Are Debenhams and House of Fraser competitors?

    House of Fraser

    There's an controversial note in today's Sports Direct statement.

    It says: "Sports Direct does not consider House of Fraser to be a competitor of Debenhams."

    They're two rival department store chains, aren't they?

  15. Inmarsat sold in $3.4bn deal


    A private equity-led consortium has agreed to buy British satellite operator Inmarsat for about $3.4bn, according to Reuters.

    The consortium, which includes UK-based Apax Partners, US-based Warburg Pincus and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, said Inmarsat will receive $7.21 in cash per share.

    The cash offer for the FTSE 250 company - set up by the International Maritime Organization to enable ships to stay in contact with shore or to call for help in an emergency - was signalled last week.

  16. Majestic to close stores and be renamed Naked Wine

    Majestic wine

    Wine retailer Majestic Wine is to close stores and rename itself Naked Wine, the brand it bought in 2015.

    It said it will announce a transformation plan in June when the group will be switched to the Naked brand and "capital will be released" through asset sales and store closures.

    Rowan Gormley, group chief executive, said: “It is clear that Naked Wines has the potential for strong sustainable growth, and we will deliver the best results for our shareholders, customers, people and suppliers by focusing all our energies on delivering that potential.

    He added: "Where we have no choice but to close stores we will aim to minimise job losses by migration into Naked."

  17. Sports Direct slams Debenhams bosses, again!

    Debenhams store

    Mike Ashley's Sports Direct has criticised Debenham's management again this morning, after the department store chain rejected its £100m offer for Danish business Magasin Du Nord.

    In a statement Sports Direct said: "It cannot be said that the board of Debenhams has actively engaged in these discussions or are open to any form of alternative proposal from any third party."

    It said the offer for Magasin "is one of several offers that Sports Direct has made to provide the board of Debenhams with a valid alternative to its apparent view that that multiple insolvency processes are required to address Debenhams' current liquidity concerns and to facilitate a wider balance sheet restructuring."

    Debenhams is seeking a cash injection of up to £200m from existing lenders as it tries to fend off Sports Direct.

  18. Why the yield curve inverting matters

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Graph on how yield curves are predicted

    On Friday, the yield curve - the yield on three-month US bonds inverted for the first time since 2007.

    An inversion is seen as a powerful signal of recession, but why?

    "Normally, you would expect the yield curve to be upward-sloping, so you'd get paid more if you invested in long-dated bonds than you do if you invest in short-dated bonds, and that makes sense. It also encourages investors to put their money to work in riskier assets if that's happening," Thomas Moore, investment director for UK equities at Aberdeen Standard Investments explained on the Today programme.

    "The problem when it inverts is that it's a sign that people are not that confident about the outlook, and it suggests that interest rate policy will become looser, that there will be interest rate cuts rather than hikes, and so people are getting a bit gloomy."

  19. City optimism plunges again

    City of London

    Optimism in London's financial services industry has fallen at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.

    That's according to the latest survey from the CBI and PwC, which blames Brexit for the downbeat view.

    In the survey of 84 City firms, only 10% said they were more optimistic about the overall business situation compared with three months ago, while 53% were less optimistic, leaving a balance of -43% compared with -24% in the final three months of 2018.

    Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said: “The alarm bells ringing at the state of optimism in the financial services sector have reached a deafening level.

    “Brexit is now a national emergency. No deal has to be clearly ruled out, then MPs must finally compromise and deliver a solution that protects jobs, livelihoods and communities across the UK."