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Live Reporting

By Jill Treanor and Simon Read

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    Test Card

    That's it for today on Business Live.

    We'll be with you at 6am tomorrow morning to bring you all the latest breaking news and analysis from the business world.

  2. What about the FTSE 100 losers?

    There was plenty of red on the blue-chip index today.

    The biggest faller was Aveva Group, which lost 2.73%.

    Other key fallers included M&G, down 2.55%, United Utilities, 2.17%, and Experian, 2.11%.

  3. ABF leads the FTSE winners

    Primark owner ABF ended the day as the FTSE 100's biggest riser.

    Its shares climbed 5.56% to 2,374.

    Engine maker Rolls Royce also had a good day, climbing 4.46% to 769.

    Meanwhile shares in investment house Schroders ended the day up 4.26% at 3,253.

  4. British Steel takeover could be completed in days: reports

    British Steel sign

    The Chinese company hoping to save British Steel is aiming to take over the failed manufacturer by 10 November, according to people aware of the situation, the FT reports.

    Steel producer Jingye Group has emerged as the frontrunner to buy the stricken steelmaker out of insolvency, following almost six months of uncertainty for 5,000 workers who are mostly based at the large Scunthorpe plant in Lincolnshire.

    It hopes to reach an agreement in principle with the official receiver in charge of the liquidation process by about November 10, said people briefed on the matter.

    Its plans include boosting production from 2.5m tonnes a year to more than 3m, according to a presentation seen by the paper.

  5. FTSE rises 0.25%

    The FTSE 100 climbed 0.25% to day, or 18.39 points, to 7,388.08.

    The wider FTSE 250 rose 0.22%, or 45.27 points to 20,294.99.

  6. Fisher shares dive 5% after cyber attack

    Hacker

    Shares in marine engineering firm James Fisher & Sons dived 5% today after the company admitted it had been the victim of a cyber attack.

    The Barrow-in-Furness based firm said hackers tried to gain access to its computer systems and said it has hired external specialists to probe into the attack.

    It took company's affected systems offline as a precautionary measure.

    The company said: "Work is ongoing to complete the recovery as quickly as possible and to minimise any impact on our business."

  7. Office space firm sees revenues climb 9%

    Office

    Office operator IWG has posted higher revenues after moving ahead with expansion plans and the growth of its international franchise business.

    The FTSE 250-listed firm, whose brand names include Regus, has continued to grow its flexible office business while rival WeWork has seen its value rapidly plunge in recent months.

    Revenues at IWG increased by 9.4% to £692.3m for the three months to September driven by its new sites.

    The company added 66 new locations to its portfolio as it grew in Europe, the Middle East and US markets.

  8. Mactaggart & Mickel profits hit by 'challenging' market

    houses

    Scottish housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel has blamed "challenging market conditions" for a fall in annual profits.

    The Glasgow-based family firm reported a rise in turnover of nearly £2.5m, to £84.7m, in the year to 30 April.

    But pre-tax profits dropped by £2m, to £12.1m.

    The company said it was a strong set of results, given the "uncertain political and economic landscape" facing the economy.

    Group chairman Alan Hartley said political and economic uncertainties in the last quarter had "eroded" customer confidence and resulted in fewer people buying new homes.

    Read more.

  9. Government to set up Thomas Cook injury compensation scheme

    Thomas Cook plane

    The Government is to set up a statutory compensation scheme for Thomas Cook customers who face losing out on injury compensation claims because of the company's collapse.

    In a Commons statement, Andrea Leadsom said the official receiver has alerted the Government to an "important outstanding matter relating to personal injury claims against Thomas Cook companies impacting customers" who suffered life-changing injuries, illness or death.

    She added: "As Thomas Cook has entered into liquidation without insuring any protection for pending claims the vast majority of claimants who are not covered by the insurance, including customers who have suffered very serious injuries and loss of life, will be treated as unsecured creditors.

    "This means it is very uncertain whether they will receive any of the compensation they would have ordinarily received against their claims.

    This is an extraordinary situation which should never have arisen. We intend to develop proposals for a statutory compensation scheme."

  10. Union seeks assurances on the role of guards

    SWR train

    That strike's been called because SWR has failed to to give assurances that its new operational model won't move to Driver Controlled Operation.

    That means "the role of the guard [would be] butchered completely," according to the RMT union.

    "As long as the company continues to refuse to give assurances on the future operational role of the guard we will remain in dispute," said the union's Mick Cash.

  11. SWR workers to strike all through December

    SWR train

    More bad news for commuters: there are 27 planned strike days in December in South Western Railway.

    The RMT union has instructed members to strike on every day in the month apart from 1 December, 12 December, and 25 and 26 December.

    "At the last meeting we held with SWR principles in agreements were made in good faith with the company’s negotiating team and we now feel hugely let down again," said RMT General Secretary Mick Cash.

    "Our members have been left with no choice but to call a further 27 days of strike action on South Western Railway."

  12. Lloyd's 'pervasive culture of sexual harassment'

    Lloyd's of London

    The Bank of England's warning shot came after the Lloyd's of London insurance market was rocked earlier this year by reports of a pervasive culture of sexual harassment.

    The 333-year-old group then admitted "ugly, stark and unacceptable" results of an independently commissioned survey in September, which revealed nearly 500 of its workers had witnessed sexual harassment in the past year.

    Lloyd's chief executive John Neal said the findings of the poll of more than 6,000 staff were far worse than expected, and vowed to reform the group's culture.

    In April the institution set out a new code of conduct that included a ban on its staff drinking between 9am and 5pm.

  13. Insurers warned to improve workplace cultures

    Bullying boss

    Insurance firms have been warned to improve their workplace cultures after recent reports revealing sexual harassment and bullying.

    In a letter to all chief executives of general insurance firms, the Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority said the revelations were of "deep concern".

    It warned that senior managers could face bans in cases of non-financial misconduct.

    The PRA's acting director of insurance supervision, Gareth Truran said: "Senior management should be careful to ensure that commercial pressure to deliver results does not translate into inappropriate pressure on individuals within control functions to weaken assumptions."

    For its part, Lloyd's is launching a "Speaking up campaign" by the end of the year to encourage people to act when they see or experience inappropriate behaviour.

  14. UK drone pilots have 25 days to register with regulator

    drones

    UK drone pilots have until the end of November to register their details with the Civil Aviation Authority.

    The mandatory requirement to register covers owners of drones or model aircraft weighing more than 250g (8.8oz). Owners of unregistered drones could then face the threat of a fine.

    At the same time, the CAA is starting a service it hopes will reunite owners with their lost drones.

    A quarter of owners have lost a drone at some point, CAA research suggests.

    There's more here.

  15. US stocks rise again

    Wall Street

    All three main indexes on Wall Street have opened higher today for a fifth session in a row.

    They're still buoyed by hopes of a trade truce between the United States and China.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.12 points, or 0.14%, at the open to 27,500.23.

    The S&P 500 opened higher by 2.53 points, or 0.08%, at 3,080.80.

    The Nasdaq Composite gained 13.42 points, or 0.16%, to 8,446.62 at the opening bell.

  16. ABF results send shares climbing 6%

    Primark shoppers

    Primark owner Associated British Foods earlier revealed that adjusted operating profit hit £1.42bn in the year to 14 September, a 1% climb on the previous year.

    That's pleased the market which has sent the company's shares up almost 6% today, to lead the FTSE 100 winners.

    ABF shares are up 132 at 2,381.

  17. Peloton reports loss

    Peloton

    Peloton, which sells tech-enhanced exercise equipment tied to streaming fitness classe, floated on the stock market in September.

    The shares were priced at $29 apiece, valuing the firm at more than $8bn (£6.5bn).

    It has just published first quarter results in which it said it had a "strong start to our fiscal year ended June 30, 2020 with revenue growth of 103% in our first quarter versus last year".

    It reported a loss of $49.8m, which it said was $4.8m less than last year.

  18. Cobham: 'needs further full and proper consideration'

    Andrea Leadsom

    More of those Cobham details.

    Andrea Leadsom's department said today that the the secretary of state for defence has also written to her about the national security implications of the merger and "the discussions which have taken place with the parties to propose undertakings to address those implications".

    "The business secretary is grateful for the advice she has received and the constructive engagement from the parties," the department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy said.

    It added: "The decision on how to proceed in this case requires further full and proper consideration of the issues.

    "Having received these reports, the business secretary will therefore have further discussions with her ministerial colleagues and the parties to the transaction to inform the decision-making process.

    "An update will be provided in due course on the government’s decision. The full legal process will continue to be followed throughout the general election period."