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Live Reporting

Simon Read and Lora Jones

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 with our usual mix of the latest breaking news and analysis from the business world.

    Do join us then.

  2. Greggs bag lands woman in court 11 years later

    Greggs bag
    Image caption: Not the actual Greggs bag at the heart of the controversial court appearance

    Finally, a women appeared in court yesterday accused of dropping a Greggs bag 11 years ago.

    32-year-old Stockport student Grace Firth had been convicted in her absence in August 2009, fined £175 and ordered to pay £180 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

    But Grace told Stockport Magistrates' Court the first she'd heard about it was when she got a letter on 8 December 2019 regarding an "historical debt".

    She had never received letters before then, since they had been sent to her mum's house. "Any mail for me was returned to sender or thrown away," she told the court.

    Magistrates accepted her explanation and cancelled the original £180 costs order.

    Chairman Edward Tasker told her: "You've been very fair and very honest," before also reducing her fine to £40 plus the £15 victim surcharge.

  3. Wall Street up too

    Wall Street sign

    Wall Street's main indices are all still higher today.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed by more than 268 points, or nearly 1% to 27,349.68.

    The S&P 500 stands at 3,160.23, or 0.83% up, with the Nasdaq Composite higher by more than 1.1% at 9,069.27.

  4. Could China lose its place as 'the world's factory'?

    People using iphones
    Image caption: Apple has previously warned that disruption in China from the coronavirus could hurt iPhone supplies

    As the new coronavirus hits more countries, several companies have warned of the impact on supply chains.

    Need something to listen to on your commute home? Check out this report from the BBC Business team which looks at whether China could lose its status as "the world's factory".

  5. And the winner is...

    Mining equipment
    Image caption: Weir Group's operations include a contract for Australia's Iron Bridge Magnetite Project, as US oil and gas has been challenging

    The best performing share of the day on the mid-cap FTSE 250 index was the Scottish Weir Group.

    The engineering giant said it will focus on mining after suffering losses in US oil and gas, as we reported earlier.

    The news boosted its share price by more than 11% to 1,391.

    It comes after Weir announced an annual pre-tax loss of £372m, including one-off costs.

    The Glasgow firm said it was also developing technology to help the mining industry reduce its environmental impact.

  6. BreakingLondon markets close higher


    The FTSE 100 has closed higher, ending five days of downward movement.

    It closed at 7,042.47, a rise of 24.59 points or 0.35%.

    The wider FTSE 250 index failed to recover as much and closed at 20,622.95, a fall of 93.02 points or 0.45%.

  7. Virgin 'evolving' role of branches by shutting 52

    Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer at Virgin Money UK, said:

    Quote Message: The decision to close branches is never taken lightly. The changes announced today are focused on consolidating branches as well as closing a number of branches to reflect changes to customer demand. As our customers change the way they want to bank with us, we are evolving the role of our stores.
  8. Breaking500 jobs to go at Virgin Money

    Virgin Money sign

    Virgin Money is cutting around 500 jobs this year as part of a restructuring.

    There will be roughly 215 jobs lost through the closure of 52 branches overall, the rest from central offices in Leeds, the North East and Scotland.

  9. What if coronavirus means you have to self-isolate?

    Store sold out of surgical masks

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said Britons returning from quarantined Italian towns must self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms.

    Plus, those with flu-like symptoms coming back from areas of Italy north of Pisa should stay at home for 14 days.

    Italy has put several towns in Lombardy and Veneto into lockdown because of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Workers who are ill are entitled to statutory sick pay. But what if you suspect you might be infected with the coronavirus, or have to care for somebody that is?

    Read the answers to those questions and more here.

  10. Walmart in talks over selling Asda stake

    Asda storefront

    US retail giant Walmart is in talks with a "small number of interested parties" about buying a stake in the British supermarket chain Asda.

    A joint statement from Walmart and Asda said: "Following inbound interest Walmart and Asda can confirm that we are currently considering whether there is an opportunity for a third party to invest in Asda, alongside Walmart, in order to support and accelerate the delivery of Asda’s strategy and position Asda for long-term success.

    It added: "No decisions have been made and we will not be commenting further on these discussions. If or when we decide to pursue this opportunity further our first priority will be to share more detailed information with our colleagues."

    Both Asda and Sainsbury's have faced a number of recent challenges after the Competition and Markets Authority blocked their proposed merger last year.

  11. G4S flogs its cash-handling business in £727m deal

    G4S van

    Security group G4S has sold a majority of its cash-handling business in a £727m deal.

    The takeover will move 25,000 employees around the world to the Brink Company, G4S said.

    In August, G4S announced it would demerge the cash machine and armoured vans business after an internal review.

    However, the board later decided the sale to Brink was a "superior" alternative.

  12. Klarna no longer 'poppin, stoppin, hoppin like a rabbit' as it posts first loss

    Snoop Dogg
    Image caption: Rapper Snoop Dogg has invested in Klarna

    Swedish 'buy now pay later' firm Klarna has posted its first annual loss.

    The company, which lets people buy items online and pay for them in instalments, said it saw a loss of 1.1bn Swedish krona (£87.4m) on revenues of 7.2bn krona between January and December last year.

    It's the first time it's fallen into the red since being founded in 2005. It blamed heavy credit losses which more than doubled in 2019 to 1.86bn krona.

    The firm's investors include retail giant H&M and the rapper Snoop Dogg.

    It also said another reason behind the loss was because of an investment into an engineering hub in Berlin, and a "focus on growth in the US".

    It plans to expand to a number of new markets in 2020. Read more about the growth of Klarna and other 'buy now pay later' firms here.

  13. Watch: the seaside town devastated by the sea

    Video content

    Video caption: Towyn: Flooding of a north Wales seaside resort remembered

    With flooding still causing chaos in parts of the country, memories of 26 February 1990 have surfaced, when the north Wales seaside town of Towyn was devastated by the sea.

    The combination of strong onshore winds, low pressure and spring tides caused severe flooding and damage, as the video above shows.

    North-westerly gales and a deep low pressure raised the sea level by 1.5m (4.9ft), created a storm surge in the Irish Sea.

    The sea breached a railway embankment and hundreds of tonnes of sea-water rushed through the streets flooding hundreds of homes and caravans.

  14. 'My business was flooded three times in eight days'

    Dale End Cafe

    "We sat in a hairdressers across the road, which is slightly higher up, and we watched our business go under."

    Chris Harrison runs the Dale End Cafe in Coalbrookdale, a village in the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. Last weekend was particularly hard, as he should have been celebrating the second anniversary of his business.

    It's been flooded three times in just eight days amid rising river levels caused by Storm Dennis.

    Chris said he was "devastated", but that the local community has rallied around him.

    Local builders and painters and decorators have offered their help for free, and a friend has set up a fundraiser for the business which was already raised more than £2,500.

    Chris says: "We're a community cafe. We try to be there for the parents and the older generations. We want to keep trading exactly where we are."

  15. To boldly go, or not? Your views

    People watch a Virgin Galactic test flight
    Image caption: Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two takes off for a test flight in 2018

    Business Live readers have been in touch about their ambitions to travel (or not) into space.

    It follows on from the news that Virgin Galactic has said it will release more tickets for flights into space after a surge in demand.

    Jack Barfoot from Hampshire said that a ticket would be "one of the first things" he would buy if money were no object.

    He added: "I'm not sure seeing the earth from that far up could be rivalled."

    But Suzanne Lantos said: "We don't deserve to be up there until we've tidied up this place!"

    She recommended spending the money on environmental projects instead.

    Do you agree? Let us have your views at

  16. Morrisons hopes to make more dough at Tesco's expense

    Morrisons branch

    Supermarket chain Morrisons has vowed to offer interviews to the 1,800 bakers at risk of losing their jobs following an announcement by rival Tesco to slim down its in-store bakeries.

    Morrisons said it wants to increase the number of experienced breadmakers in its stores, hoping customers will switch to Morrisons once Tesco's plans have been pushed through.

    Bosses said adverts have already been launched for bakery roles and they want to increase food-making jobs in stores by 1,400 over the coming months.

    Jayne Wall, a director at Morrisons, said: "We know that bakers love their job and we want to offer them the opportunity to carry on doing it at Morrisons."

  17. FTSE 100 briefly moves back into positive territory

    The UK's blue-chip index has recovered some lost ground today and has even briefly climbed into positive territory.

    Not by much, mind you. It climbed to 7,018, slightly above it's opening mark, but has now drifted back to 7,011.