The 10 things to watch in business on Thursday September 17

US Federal Reserve's interest rate decision due later today; Nearly 41 percent of small UK firms want to leave EU

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The Independent Online

1. All eyes are on the US Federal Reserve to see if today will be the day they raises US interest rates, which have been unchanged since December 2009. The decision comes at 7pm (UK time) and investors across the globe will be watching.

2. UK retail sales are coming. British retail sales, a key indicator of consumer confidence, roll out at 9.30am (UK time). Analysts are expecting a 3.8 per cent rise year-on-year in August, down a little from 4.2 per cent in July.

3. Nearly 41 per cent of Britain's small business community want to leave the European Union because they do not believe membership is beneficial for their companies, a survey has shown ahead of a referendum likely next year.

4. Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments has reported an 11.4 per cent slide in revenue at its theme parks for the 36 weeks to 5 September in the wake of the accident that left several people seriously injured in June. Group like for like growth was just 0.3 per cent in 36 weeks.

5. Japanese shares headed higher on Thursday despite trade data for August coming below market expectations. Exports in August were up 3.1 per cent year-on-year against expectations of a 4 per cent rise. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed up 1.4 per cent to 18,432.27. The index has risen for a third consecutive day.

6. Asian markets are up. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong is up 0.70 per cent, Japan's Nikkei is up 1.42 per cent, and China's Shanghai Composite is up 0.25 per cent.

7. Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden has told the BBC a recovery in the price of oil is hard to foresee. "It is a very, very volatile business in terms of supply and demand. The oil price responds to very small mismatches between supply and demand,’’ he said to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday.

8. European telecom giant, Altice, which is run by Franco-Israeli media magnate Patrick Drahi, is to buy the number-four US cable operator Cablevision for $17.7 billion (£11.42 billion).

 

9. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared at Salesforce's customer conference in San Francisco and explained his 3 ambitions for the company:
- Reinvent productivity
- Making the cloud more intelligent
- Make personal computers more natural to use.

10. David Beckham has signed a five-year deal with upmarket British sportswear retailer Kent & Curwen that will see the former England captain design ranges and promote the brand overseas.

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