B&Q-owner Kingfisher confirmed its "particularly challenging" environment in Ireland as it said total group sales at the DIY chain fell 6.4pc to £842m (€971.5m) in the 14 weeks to February 2.
Nine B&Q outlets in Ireland are under examinership and it will close outlets in Waterford and Athlone. Kingfisher said it still expected to meet profit forecasts.
BSkyB sets up new Disney channel
BSkyB has extended its 24-year relationship with Walt Disney to create a new television channel, which will show Disney films in Britain and Ireland.
Sky Movies Disney will launch on March 28, the companies said. The deal comes amid sluggish growth in Sky's pay-TV service, with it adding 25,000 subscribers in the last three months of 2012, well down on the more than 100,000 users it used to add each quarter.
Fed officials in bond-buying alert
A number of Federal Reserve officials think the central bank might have to slow or stop buying bonds before seeing the pick-up in jobs the programme is designed to deliver, according to minutes of the central bank's policy meeting last month.
The Fed opted in January to keep buying bonds at an $85bn (€64bn) monthly pace until the labour market outlook improved substantially, but the minutes showed anxiety over the strategy's risks.
BAE profits fall less than expected
BAE Systems posted a smaller-than-expected fall in underlying profits and cheered investors with a dividend boost and £1bn (€1.15bn) share buyback plan due to the strength of its overseas arms sales.
The company, whose proposed merger with European aerospace firm EADS collapsed last October, said growth in 2013 would likely come from outside its home markets in Britain and the United States.
Positive turn for US home loans
Seriously delinquent US mortgages fell to the lowest level since 2008 as employment improved and recovering housing demand enabled struggling borrowers to sell without losing money.
Home loans that were more than 90 days behind or in the foreclosure process fell to 6.78pc of mortgages in the third quarter from 7.03pc in the previous three months, the Mortgage Bankers' Association said.