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Business news - live: UK retailers cut 85,000 jobs in a year, as Twitter shares plunge

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Ben Chapman
Thursday 24 October 2019 07:51
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Mike Ashley tells MPs: 'The high street is dead'

UK retailers have urged the government to help out Britain's high streets after revealing 85,000 jobs were cut in the sector over the past year.

Employment in retail dropped 2.8 per cent in the most recent quarter compared to the same period last year. Elsewhere, Twitter's shares plunged 17 per cent after quarterly profits came in way below expectations.

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Welcome to The Independent's rolling coverage of business and economics news. 

Britain's retailers shed 85,000 jobs last year after a 2.8 per cent fall in the latest quarter. Employment in retail has now fallen for 15 straight quarters, the British Retail Consortium said. It's called on the government to overhaul policies to support shops that are struggling to survive in the face of online competition.

RBS has slumped to a loss of £8m after setting aside a further £900m to cover PPI redress payments after a surge in claims before last months deadline. 

ben.chapman24 October 2019 08:14
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RBS slumps to £8m loss after surge in PPI claims

Royal Bank of Scotland has fallen back into the red after setting aside a further £900m to deal with a surge in PPI claims before last months deadline.

The majority taxpayer-owned bank posted an £8m loss compared to a £961m profit in the same quarter last year.

John Moore, senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin, said the pain would likely be temporary.

“The last set of results for RBS were a watershed moment for the bank, confirming it is on the road to redemption.

Whilst this remains the case, today’s statement highlights the legacy issues that the bank, and many of its peers, still face – in particular, PPI claims have pushed RBS back to a loss.

This will likely be temporary, but analysts will be more focused on the competitive pressures that led to the compression of RBS’s net interest rate margin.

Away from the core retail bank operations, it was an especially tough quarter at NatWest Markets – where income dropped by nearly half.

Despite these bumps on the road, RBS is a very different bank to what it once was and continues to make good progress on a path to recovery.”

ben.chapman24 October 2019 08:39
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Carlos Ghosn's lawyers ask for acquittal

(AP) The lawyers of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in Japan, said Thursday they have asked that financial misconduct charges against him be dismissed.

They said in a statement that they filed papers in Tokyo District Court alleging prosecutorial misconduct that would prevent Ghosn from having a fair trial.

The filings say the case results from unlawful collusion between prosecutors, government officials and Nissan executives to drum up allegations.

The papers Ghosn's lawyers filed in Tokyo District Court last week allege collusion between the prosecutors, government officials and executives at Nissan Motor Co. to drum up criminal allegations in order to remove him as chairman.

They wanted to prevent Ghosn from further integrating Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA, according to the lawyers' statement released Thursday.

"To execute this scheme, the prosecutors illegally ceded their investigative powers to certain Nissan employees and consultants, and together with Nissan, unlawfully trampled Mr. Ghosn's legal rights in Japan and around the world," it said.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 08:42
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Competition watchdog mulls probe into Ovo energy's deal for SSE

The competition watchdog is considering whether to investigate Ovo energy's purchase of SSE's retail business which serves 3.5 million customers.

The Competition and Markets Authority is considering whether the move would result in "a substantial lessening of competition" in the UK energy market.

Ovo will more than double its customer base with the acquisition, catapulting the independent supplier into the UK's "Big Six".

The CMA is calling for evidence on the deal to be submitted by 6 November.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 08:58
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Boeing predicts 737 Max will fly again by end of 2019

The beleaguered planemaker, Boeing, has predicted that its 737 Max aircraft will return to service by the end of the year.

The plane was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two fatal crashes that claimed 346 victims.

An anti-stall system called MCAS was blamed for both tragedies.

The company has been working to find a solution that will satisfy regulators around the world.

In its third-quarter results, Boeing reported profits of $895m (£695m) on revenue of $20bn (£15.5bn) – less than half the earnings compared with a year earlier.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:00
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Nokia's shares have crashed after it cut its forecasts and suspended its divdend

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:05
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The leukaemia survivor building a storytelling network for people affected by cancer

When Fabian Bolin started feeling unusually tired in the summer of 2015, he initially put it down to his crazy schedule.

It had been 18 months since he left his career in investment banking to start afresh in acting. He had not taken a single day off in that time, instead racking up credits in Made In Chelsea and an online science fiction show called Kosmos. His exhaustion came at the same time as a summer visit to his hometown of Stockholm, so he powered through until the trip, ignoring the fact that he was sweating uncontrollably and feeling sore.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:11
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Poker player, Goldman Sachs banker and London couple linked to international insider trading ring

It’s like the cast of a new “Ocean’s Eleven” film: a London investment banking couple who called each other “Pops” and “Popsy”, a Greek owner of a chain of Manhattan restaurants, a poker-playing securities trader in Monaco, a Goldman Sachs vice-president and the son of a pharmaceuticals company board member.

They’re all accused of participating in a “wide-ranging international insider trading ring”. US prosecutors unveiled the charges in the past week, piggy-backing on similar actions taken in France and the UK in recent years. Taken together, it’s a dramatic assault on a network of bankers and traders operating on both sides of the Atlantic who allegedly reaped tens of millions of dollars in illicit profits.

And yet more is likely to come. It’s unclear from the US complaints who, if anyone, is the mastermind behind the scheme. One trader in Switzerland, who hasn’t been charged, appears in multiple indictments, but isn’t identified.

While the profits were allegedly big and the scheme expansive, the basics were relatively simple.

Investment bankers got information about pending mergers and acquisitions at work, according to the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They then sold the information to middlemen, who passed it on to traders. The bankers were repaid with cash, expensive holidays, luxury watches and other benefits, according to court filings.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:22
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Is Facebook a threat to democracy? 

Yes, says one of its early investors Robert McNamee, who says the company preys "on the weakest elements of human psychology."

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:32
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Italy national strike: the travel implications

A national strike is planned for Italy tomorrow. Public servants and private sector employees are angry about low pay, pension provisions and poor working conditions.

The effect on travel will be highly significant. These are the key issues.

ben.chapman24 October 2019 09:38

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