The 10 things to watch in business on Friday September 4

Hinkley Point nuclear plant delayed ; Bwin accepts £1.1bn GVC takeover bid ; Disney launches Star Wars merchandise

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The Independent Online

1. Asian shares headed lower today despite global stocks getting a boost after the European Central Bank hinted it could introduce more stimulus. Japan's Nikkei fell 1.9 per cent. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index traded flat at 5,026 points.South Korea's benchmark Kospi index was down 0.3 per cent to 1,909. The Chinese markets are still closed for a national holiday.

2. Nearly a million homeowners have no way of paying off their mortgages because they opted for interest-only loans, according to Citizens Advice. The new figure is much higher than previous estimates from lenders and from the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

3. EDF has admitted that the construction of Britain's first new nuclear power plant in decades has been delayed. The French energy company said Hinkley Point C in Somerset will not start generating power in 2023 as planned.

4. Digital Entertainment's board, which had been backing a buyout offer from 888 Holdings , has switched preference to now favour a rival bid from GVC Holdings, which has made an offer that values Bwin at about £1.1 billion the Telegraph reported.

5. Disney is turning its launch of new Star Wars merchandise —a full 3 and a half months before the release of ‘The Force Awakens’—into a new kind of retail holiday. Analysts are calling this an "unprecedented global merchandising campaign, which could top $3 billion of sale this year more in 2016

6. Today, investors will turn their attention to what is said at the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Ankara, Turkey. Hot topics up for discussion include China's economic woes, the raising of interest rates and financial regulation.

7. Sales across all retail sectors slumped in August to the lowest point since November 2008, according to accountancy firm BDP. Despite widespread enthusiasm for a return in consumer confidence, retail sales dropped by 4.3 per cent in August compared to the same month last year, according to figures from BDO’s high street sales tracker.

8. Darren Shapland is retiring from the board of Ladbrokes next month, and the company has launched a search for a replacement


9. Williams Grand Prix Holdings, owner of the Williams F1 team, narrowed its losses in the six months to June 30 to £1.4 million, compared with £19.6 million in the same period last year.

10. Aer Lingus carried a record 1.14 million passengers in August, up 7.3 per cent year-on-year