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Morning Briefing

The Bank of Japan overnight cut interest rates to below zero in its newest attempt to control a volatile market and increasing levels of inflation. The Daily Telegraph reports that last night's decision to lower rates from 0.1 percent to -0.1 percent was accompanied by a statment by the bank's governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who said that "the Bank of Japan decided to adopt negative interest rates...to forestall such risks from materialising." After the cut the Nikkei closed up 2.8 percent for a two-week high.

The FT reports that Amazon's share price dropped 13 percent to $550 a share after the company's announcement of weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings. Fourth quarter profits for the online retailer were $482 million, about a third lower than expected. "The share price was up very strongly on anticipation of a blowout quarter," said Youssef Squali, analyst at Cantor Fitzergarld. "The quarter was in line but it was certainly not a blowout." In 2015 Amazon sales rose to $35.7 billion, up 26 percent from a year earlier, but the rise in revenue was offset partially by a 20.5 percent increase in operating expenses.

South Africa's central bank has raised interest rates for the second time in two months, reports the Financial Times. The move follows economic trouble in the country that has led to a weakening rand and growing inflation. The IMF has downgraded South Africa's 2016 growth forecast to 0.7, the lowest since 2009.

Paypal's Venmo app is trialling an expansion of its capabilities, allowing some users to make purchases in other apps using their Venmo account. The pilot will allow users to make purchases within sports ticket app Gametime and meal-delivery app Munchery, with plans to expand the service later this year. The new service will put Venmo in direct competition with the likes of Apple Pay and Android Pay.

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George Osborne delays final sell-off of Lloyds shares due to market turmoil
Amanda Staveley sues Barclays for almost £1bn
China floods banks with record amount of cash

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