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Live Reporting

By Bill Wilson and Tom Espiner

All times stated are UK

  1. UK burger market grows to 'whopping' £5bn

    BBC business journalist Rory Claydon writes...

    Burger

    There's been a big increase in the popularity of burgers, with new figures showing the value of sales rising by a quarter in the last five years.

    Research by Mintel for BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake Up To Money podcast says sales are expected to hit £5.2bn this year, up from £4bn in 2014.

    In all, 63% of consumers will visit a burger outlet this year.

    Thanks to delivery apps, 40% more consumers are having burgers brought to their home compared with 2018.

    Freelance food writer and blogger Ellen Manning told BBC 5 Live's Wake Up To Money:

    "Burgers are a firm and old favourite, but they've been taken to the next level.

    "The patties are no longer stereotypically mechanically covered meat slapped together with a lettuce leaf on top and some squeezy cheese."

  2. Crest Nicholson blames Brexit for sales woes

    Crest Nicholson

    Housebuilder Crest Nicholson expects a lower annual profit compared to last year due to sales volatility "driven largely by ongoing customer uncertainty relating to Brexit and the economic outlook in the UK."

    Its new boss is reviewing the business and will change the firm's strategy to cope with Brexit it said.

    The company, which builds houses and flats in London and across southern England, said it has been hit by flat house prices due to uncertainty around Britain's divorce deal with the European Union and rising costs to build homes.

    It now expects a 2019 pre-tax profit of between £120m pounds and £130m. Pre-tax profit in 2018 was £176.4m.

  3. Newcastle United's turnover boost

    St James' Park, Newcastle

    A bit more on Mike Ashley's accounts for Mash Holdings.

    They are signed by him on 24 October 2019 and also by auditors Grant Thornton, the firm which resigned from the stock market-listed company Sports Direct.

    The owner of Newcastle United puts the value of match day hospitality at £113,000, up from £78,000, and the use of a company jet and helicopter at £2.1m, up from £700,000.

    The club, the accounts show, had a turnover of £150m, up from £91.8m, for the period to 30 April 2018. There does not appear to be a reference to the club being up for sale and it says that subsequent to the year-end, £64m has been committed for the playing squad (up from £46m).

    The increase coincided with NUFC's return to the Premier League in season 2017-18 from the Championship, where it had played the prior season.

    On the stores, the accounts mention the importance of its "elevation strategy" to enhance customer experience at Sports Direct, USC, Flannels and House of Fraser.

  4. McDonald's apologises for 'Sundae Bloody Sundae' promotion

    McDonald's sign

    McDonald's has apologised for a Halloween marketing campaign which promoted a dessert in Portugal with the words: "Sundae Bloody Sundae".

    The term Bloody Sunday is used to refer to one of the worst days of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, when 13 people were shot dead by the Army.

    The adverts sparked outrage when photos were shared on social media.

    McDonald's said the marketing campaign was not intended to be an "insensitive reference to any historical event".

    Read more here.

  5. Altria takes $4.5bn Juul hit

    Vaper

    Tobacco giant Altria has taken a $4.5bn hit from its investment in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs after a regulatory crackdown on the vaping industry this year.

    The firm bought a 35% stake in its fast-growing e-cigarette rival for $12.8bn last year, hoping to make up for falling sales of traditional cigarettes.

    But Juul faces the possibility of its products being removed from the market over concerns that they are fueling youth vaping, a major factor that led to the collapse of Altria's merger talks with Philip Morris last month.

    Altria cited a number of reasons for the charge, including higher chances of US Food & Drug Administration removing flavored e-cigarette products from the market as well as bans in some cities and states in the US.

  6. Goals Soccer Centres to be bought by rival

    Five-a-side pitch

    Five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres has been bought by rival Soccerworld and private equity firm Inflexion.

    The company, which is part-owned by Sports Direct's Mike Ashley, continues to face fallout from an accounting scandal.

    "The board and management of goals have worked tirelessly over the past eight months with their advisers and their lenders to identify and resolve the company's issues relating to the misdeclaration of VAT and other serious accounting issues, dating back several years," the firm said in a statement.

    "Every avenue has been fully explored to deliver the best possible outcome for all stakeholders in the business. However, ultimately the only available solution, given the indebtedness of the company, the unresolved VAT situation and inappropriate accounting, was to accept that the company needed to delist and for the company to undertake an accelerated M&A process to seek a buyer for the business and its assets."

  7. FTSE falls as earnings disappoint

    FTSE 100

    London's FTSE 100 is lagging behind its European counterparts as disappointing earnings reports from heavyweights Shell and Lloyds take investor focus away from the US Federal Reserve's third interest rate cut this year.

    Shell shares dropped more than 3.7% after profits plunged and it warned that uncertain economic conditions could slow its $25bn share buyback plan.

    Lloyds shares fell 1.4% after missing market expectations for third-quarter earnings.

  8. Pound rises

    Pound v dollar

    The pound is on the up as the combination of a weak dollar and the falling risks of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal fuels demand.

    While the immediate catalyst for the pound's gains was a cautious US Federal Reserve, which kept the door open for further policy easing after cutting interest rates for the third time this year, the broader base for the pound's rally this month was a bit of progress on the Brexit deadlock.

  9. Twitter to ban all political advertising

    Jack Dorsey

    Twitter is to ban all political advertising worldwide, saying that the reach of such messages "should be earned, not bought".

    "While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers, that power brings significant risks to politics," company CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted.

    Social media rival Facebook recently ruled out a ban on political ads.

    News of the ban divided America's political camps for the 2020 election.

    Read more here.

  10. Nord Stream 2: Go-ahead for Russian gas pipeline angers Ukraine

    The Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea has divided Europe and infuriated the US
    Image caption: The Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Baltic Sea has divided Europe and infuriated the US

    Denmark's approval for a controversial pipeline to pump more Russian gas into Europe will strengthen Russia's influence in the region, Ukraine warns.

    "This is not only a matter of energy security, it is a geopolitical issue," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said of the Nord Stream 2 gas project.

    Plans for the 1,225km (760-mile) undersea pipeline have divided Europe.

    The Danish permit was the last major hurdle. The pipeline will run under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

    Read more here.

  11. More on 'cracking' on Boeing planes

    Qantas plane

    Australian airline Qantas has grounded one of its Boeing 737 NG planes after discovering "cracking" in one section.

    The carrier said several airlines were inspecting their 737 NG fleets after Boeing revealed an area near the wing may be prone to cracking.

    News agency AFP reported up to 50 planes globally had been grounded due to the issue.

    Qantas said: "Even when a crack is present, it does not immediately compromise the safety of the aircraft.

    "We would never operate an aircraft unless it was completely safe to do so."

  12. Tax deadline day - but not the last chance

    Kevin Peachey

    Personal finance reporter

    Cash

    Today marks the deadline for completing a paper-based tax return, but most people now use the online system.

    Nearly 12 million people, primarily those with more than one source of income and the self-employed, are required to complete self-assessment forms.

    Only a small fraction file on paper, while the vast majority need to hit the later online deadline of 31 January.

    Those filing for the first time or who did not file last time are urged by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) not to leave it late. They should allow at least 20 working days before the deadline to register on the system.

  13. Foxtons hit as London housing market 'deteriorates'

    Foxtons board

    Revenues at London-based estate agent Foxtons have fallen as the housing market in the capital continues to weaken.

    Third quarter revenues fell 7% to £32.5m, and for the first nine months of the year are down 5% to £83.6m.

    Foxtons said sales in London were hit by "ongoing political uncertainty", and sales revenue for the quarter dropped 15% to £8.4m.

    Its lettings business held up better, although Foxtons said the tenant fee ban - which prevents letting agents from charging fees to tenants when setting up or renewing a tenancy agreement - meant revenue on that side of the business slipped 4%, to £22.1m.

    Chief executive Nic Budden said: "Overall, this was a resilient performance set against the London sales market which continues to deteriorate and the impact of the tenant fee ban on our lettings business."