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Live Reporting

By Tom Espiner and Simon Read

All times stated are UK

  1. Good night

    Test card

    That's it from Business Live for today.

    But we'll be back bright and early from 06:00 tomorrow morning.

    Do join us then for all the latest breaking news and analysis.

  2. 'I would be devastated if Flybe went under'

    Nick Lake
    Image caption: Nick Lake uses Flybe once a week to travel between Manchester and Edinburgh

    Finally, customers are still in the dark over the future of Flybe as the airline remains in rescue talks with the government, although there could well be an announcement this evening.

    The boss of the regional airline has told its staff the company is operating as normal.

    But the government is considering measures to save Flybe from collapse, including possibly deferring its air passenger duty bill.

    Flybe customers have told the BBC they do not know how to proceed.

    Read more

  3. Founder of What Every Woman Wants chain dies

    Mr Weisfeld and his wife outside a store
    Image caption: Mr Weisfeld with his wife Vera were one of the UK's richest families when they sold the popular department chain

    The founder of the What Every Woman Wants department store has died at 79 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

    Gerald Weisfeld founded the popular store with his wife Vera in Glasgow in 1971, before expanding to more than 130 branches.

    The first of its buildings, which was B-listed, was demolished in November after lying empty for 16 years.

    What Every Woman Wants rose from the single store in Glasgow's Argyle Street to become a landmark of the UK high street in the 1970s and 80s.

    The Weisfields sold the business in 1990 for £50m, believed to be the highest amount ever paid for a Scottish fashion house.

  4. FTSE fallers

    Four firms listed on the blue-chip index lost more than 2% of their value today.

    Evrax fell 3.88% to 396.50, while Pearson dropped 3.74% to 602.20.

    Mondi slipped again, losing 2.63% to 1,629, while WPP ended the day down 2.21% at 1,039.

  5. FTSE risers

    Leading the blue-chip index today was NMC Health, as we mentioned earlier.

    It climbed 10.23% to end the day at 1,385, still some way below the 2,585 level it stood at a month ago.

    Other climbers included Taylor Wimpey (up 3.91% at 209.90) and Vodafone (up 3.24% at 156.54).

  6. UK markets close

    The City

    The blue-chip FTSE 100 index has closed at 7,622.35, a rise of just 4.75, or 0.062% over the day.

    The mid-cap FTSE 250 has climbed 39.29, or 0.18%, to close at 21,756.05.

  7. 'The government's role is not to bail out failing companies'

    Flybe plane

    CBI deputy director general Josh Hardie says of today's news that the government is considering new funding of Flybe: “It’s not the role of government to bail out failing companies."

    However, he concedes that "it’s right the government examines what help it can provide, given the importance of regional connectivity to so many people’s jobs and livelihoods."

    He reckons the new Government "has a huge opportunity to look at the overall cost of doing business and to support growth through high quality, sustainable infrastructure. That’s what will ultimately drive shared prosperity and level up growth across all.”

  8. How much do your colleagues earn?


    Do you know how much your colleagues earn?

    It’s not a question many of us would be happy asking around the boardroom table or even in the queue for the work canteen.

    But according to campaigners, it’s a question that we should ask more often.

    Are you and your colleagues allowed to tell each other what you earn? If not, why not?

    Email with your experience and a contact number if you are happy to be quoted on the BBC News website.

  9. NMC Health bounces back

    NMC Health building

    Shares in Middle East-focused private health care operator NMC Health have bounced back today after yesterday's 7% dive.

    They're up 9.35% at 1,374 so far today but have still lost almost half their value in the last month.

    Its shares were trading at 2,585 on 16 December before short seller Carson Block's Muddy Waters accused it of improper book-keeping and said it had shorted the stock.

    The company took another hit last week after two major investors - Saeed Al Qebaisi and Khaleefa Al Muhairi - sold off £375m worth of shares.

  10. Gambling credit card ban 'should be extended'


    Debt charity the Money Advice Trust said the Gambling Commission’s ban on gambling with credit cards should be extended to other forms of borrowing, such as overdrafts.

    “The Commission needs to continue its work to see what other measures it can introduce to prevent the risk of harm from using other forms of borrowing," said cheif executive Joanna Elson.

    “At National Debtline we know the financial and personal impact gambling addiction can have on peoples’ lives.

    "A joined-up approach to improve protections and support for people in vulnerable circumstances and struggling with addiction is required by the regulator, firms and financial services alike.

  11. Public can fund Big Ben bongs for Brexit day

    Elizabeth Tower during refurbishment works

    People may be able to donate money towards the cost of making Big Ben chime when the UK leaves the EU, Boris Johnson has said.

    The prime minister told BBC Breakfast that getting the famous bell to ring at 23:00 GMT on 31 January would cost £500,000, but said some form of crowdfunding might be possible.

    The Mirror has come up with the headline of the day for its version of the story: "Boris' bonkers 'bung a bob for Big Ben Brexit bongs' bid bombs"

  12. New John Lewis chief has some big challenges

    Emma Simpson

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    John Lewis sign

    The Chairman of John Lewis, Sir Charlie Mayfield was asked about senior talent leaving the business as he spoke to journalists last week:

    "If you look at the people on the executive team, there's over a hundred years of Partnership experience and beneath that there is a vast and deep set of people who are incredibly capable and experienced operators," he said.

    Sir Charlie himself is also stepping down. He's about to replaced by former Ofcom boss, Dame Sharon White. She's got an awful lot on her plate.

    This controversial overhaul comes as the John Lewis Partnership faces some big challenges amid fierce competition on the high street as well changing shopping habits.

    But she's also got to cope without some of the businesses most senior and experienced colleagues.

  13. Another John Lewis boss leaves

    Emma Simpson

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    John Lewis store

    The head of stores at John Lewis is leaving the business as a radical shake up its management team gets underway. Maggie Porteous, director, Shop Trade, is stepping down after more than twenty years at the department store chain.

    The news comes less than week after the surprise news that the boss of John Lewis, Paula Nickolds, is quitting just three months after being appointed the partnership's Head of Brand.

    The re-organisation, which takes effect next month, will see the abolition of the separate management teams at John Lewis and Waitrose in favour of a single eight-strong executive board. The boss of Waitrose, Rob Collins, is also stepping down.

    The John Lewis Partnership is cutting 75 management jobs, one in three senior head office management posts, as part of the re-organisation. The restructuring, announced last October, will save the company £100m.

    The role of Director, Shop Trade is being axed as part of this overhaul. In the new structure, two service led roles have instead been created which will report into the board.

  14. Wall Street flat on opening

    Wall Street

    Wall Street has opened largely flat after US banks reported mixed quarterly results.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11.55 points, or 0.04%, at the open to 28,895.50.

    The S&P 500 opened lower by 2.78 points, or 0.08%, at 3,285.35.

    The Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.32 points, or 0.04%, to 9,270.61 at the opening bell.

  15. FTSE stays positive

    FTSE graph

    Ahead of Wall Street opening, let's have another look at UK markets.

    The FTSE 100 has had an up and down day, as our graph (above) shows.

    It's slipping a bit at the moment but is still up 0.11% on the day at 7,625.93.

    Th wider FTSE 250 is up slightly (0.047%) at 21,726.45.

  16. Cleaning product maker warns on profits

    Cleaning products

    McBride - a company that makes cleaning products - has warned that profits will be around 15% lower than expected this year.

    The firm blamed the cut on rising costs and falling sales.

    The company appointed a new chief executive, Ludwig de Mot, in November and is in the process of a strategic review, which is expected to be unveiled later this year.

    Its shares have slumped 17% to 66.16.

  17. More prosecutions of VW workers

    VW car

    German prosecutors have filed charges against six Volkswagen employees for their role in helping the carmaker put heavily-polluting diesel cars on German roads.

    The employees worked at the firm between 2006 and 2015 but were below management board level, prosecutor Klaus Ziehe said, adding it was unclear whether they are still employed at the company.

    Prosecutors have accused the unnamed employees of fraud and false advertising as well as tax evasion, since VW cars equipped with illegal emissions cheating software should not have received road worthiness certification and tax breaks.

    Volkswagen has declined to comment.

  18. Citigroup posts revenue increase of 7%

    Citibank sign

    Citigroup has delivered better-than-expected fourth quarter figures today.

    The US bank was boosted by growth in its credit card business and a 31% jump in trading revenue.

    Revenue, net of interest expense, rose about 7% to $18.38bn, better than analysts' expectations of $17.86bn.

  19. China to buy more US cars, aircraft, and energy, says Reuters

    Container ship

    China has pledged to buy almost $80bn (£61.56bn) of additional manufactured goods from the US over the next two years as part of a trade war truce, which will probably boost planemaker Boeing, according to news agency Reuters.

    Under the terms of the trade deal to be signed on Wednesday in Washington, China would also buy over $50bn more in energy supplies, and boost purchases of US services by about $35bn over the same two-year period, the news agency said.

    The Phase 1 agreement calls for Chinese purchases of US agricultural goods to increase by some $32bn over two years, or roughly $16bn a year.

    When combined with the $24bn US agricultural export baseline in 2017, the total gets close to the $40bn US annual target.

    The numbers represent a staggering increase over recent Chinese imports of US manufactured goods, raising some skepticism over how it would be achieved.

  20. JPMorgan reports surprise profit rise

    JPMorgan building

    JPMorgan Chase has reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit, as strong results at its trading and underwriting businesses offset weakness in consumer banking.

    Net income at the US largest US bank rose to $8.52bn (£6.6bn) in the quarter which ended on 31 December from $7.07bn a year earlier. Net revenue rose 9% to $29.21bn.