Morning business round-up: Facebook raises share price

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

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Facebook has raised the price at which it hopes to sell its shares this week from $28-$35 to $34-$38, potentially putting its total value above $100bn (£62.2bn).

The company said strong demand had pushed it higher.

A valuation at this level would make it worth more than the US corporate giants Disney, Ford and Kraft Foods.

Elsewhere, the crisis in the eurozone continues to pre-occupy global investors.

Shares in Asia fell after Monday's falls in Europe and the US, with investors seeking less risky assets because of the political turmoil in Greece.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.8% at 8,900.74, while South Korea's Kospi was down 0.77% to 1,898.96.

But later there was better news. The eurozone narrowly avoided returning to recession after recording zero growth in the first three months of the year, according to official figures.

In the final quarter of 2011, the eurozone had shrunk by 0.3%, and many analysts had expected further contraction.

However, the overall figure masked big differences between member countries. The German economy recorded stronger-than-expected growth of 0.5%, but the French economy recorded zero growth while the Italian economy contracted by 0.8%.

Figures from China showed that foreign direct investment fell in April for a sixth straight month.

Investment fell 0.7% from a year earlier to $8.4bn (£5.2bn), said the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing. In March investment had dropped by 6.1%.

A ministry spokesman said the fall was partly because of the lacklustre global economy

Data released last week also indicated that China's economy is slowing.

Business headlines

The UK's trade deficit narrowed in March, driven in particular by stronger exports to the US, China and Russia, official figures have shown.

The seasonally adjusted trade deficit in goods and services was £2.7bn, against £2.9bn the month before, the Office for National Statistics said.

Car exports in March were worth £200m more than the previous month.

The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £8.6bn in March, unchanged on February.

The latest Business Daily podcast focuses on food. World food production and consumption is going through one of the greatest periods of change in history. So what is happening and how is it likely to affect you and the food on your plate?

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BBC Business Live

  1.  
    HEADLINES
     
  2.  
    UNILEVER REPORT 07:59:
    Unilever headquarters

    Unilever has released its first quarter trading statement. The company's turnover decreased by 6.3% to 11.4bn euros. It puts this down to currency fluctuations. Underlying sales grew 3.6% with emerging markets up 6.6%.

     
  3.  
    HEINEKEN SALES 07:52:
    Heineken plant

    Heineken has reported a 1.5% increase in the volume of beer sold in the first quarter. As well as Heineken, the company owns the Sol, Tiger and Strongbow cider brands. Like-for-like sales in Western Europe were up 1.8% to 1.5bn euros.

     
  4.  
    ASTRAZENECA RESULTS 07:46:
    AstraZeneca

    Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca reports results. It made £638m in pre-tax profit for the first quarter of 2014, down from £1.3bn in the same period last year. The UK company makes no mention of the rumoured takeover bid by US-based Pfizer.

     
  5.  
    CO-OP & LABOUR 07:34:

    The Co-op Bank and the Labour party are likely to split up - the BBC's business editor Kamal Ahmed understands. Labour will say this is for purely commercial reasons, he says. The move comes after a year of controversy at the bank - including the resignation of its chairman Paul Flowers who is now facing charges for drugs possession.

     
  6.  
    GENERAL ELECTRIC 07:28:
    V150 TGV train

    French engineering giant, Alstom has deflected a report that General Electric may bid for the firm. Bloomberg reports GE may pay more than $13bn for the company. The French firm makes TGV high speed trains, among other things. Alstom says it is not aware of any "potential public tender offer for the shares of the company".

     
  7.  
    EUROTUNNEL 07:20:
    MyFerryLink

    Eurotunnel, the operator of the channel tunnel, has reported an 8% rise in revenue in the first quarter to 260m euros (£214m). The company's ferry service, MyFerryLink, reported 64% jump in sales. UK competition authorities are currently looking at Eurotunnel's share of the cross-channel market to see if the company has too much power.

     
  8.  
    BANKERS' PAY 07:05: BBC Radio 4
    Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko

    "The golden age is over," says Phillip Wale, the boss of Panmure Gordon and a veteran of several huge financial firms, including Goldman Sachs. He says tighter regulation and a drop in margins in the banking business will put the days of immense pay packets behind us. Gordon Gekko would not approve.

     
  9.  
    BARCLAYS AGM 07:02: BBC Radio 4

    "It'll be a pretty lively meeting," adds Mr Braund. He recalls "the silver haired lady last year who looked along the row and very quietly said 'you are greedy bastards', and really made the point - clapping went all round the hall as a result".

     
  10.  
    BARCLAYS AGM 07:01: BBC Radio 4

    There is "no absolute long term proof" that talented staff leave if not paid huge salaries, says Harry Braund from the UK Shareholders Association, which represents smaller shareholders. His organisation recently wrote a letter to the Barclays' chairman - reminding him of his legal duty to shareholders. Mr Braund says the main issue is that staff bonuses are rising faster than shareholder payouts.

     
  11.  
    TABLET COMPUTERS Via Twitter Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

    tweets: "Are tablets over as iPad sales slip 16%? No, read this - and also note Tesco has sold 500,000 Hudls"

     
  12.  
    BARCLAYS AGM 06:42: Radio 5 live

    "The assets have shoes," says Sarah Wilson, founder of the Manifest shareholder information service, on Wake Up to Money. She is explaining how investment banks justify high levels of pay. She says Barclays has seen "a mass desertion" of staff in North America. She says that bankers feel that European authorities do not understand the nature of the financial services industry. The bank wants to raise the bonus pot by 10% despite a 30% fall in profits last year.

     
  13.  
    APPLE RESULTS 06:34: BBC Radio 4

    Apple "has around $150bn effectively lying around in cash," says Hargreaves Landsdown analyst Richard Hunter on Today. "That's bigger than the GDP of certain countries." He adds that shareholders are pressuring the US company to deploy some of that capital in some way.

     
  14.  
    APPLE RESULTS 06:32:
    Apple products

    Apple reported better-than-expected quarterly profits late on Wednesday. iPhones are still flying off the shelves, 43.7 million were sold during the quarter, up 17% year-on-year. However, iPod (remember them?) sales are down 51%, and even iPad sales are down by 16%.

     
  15.  
    MOTORING ON 06:23: BBC Radio 4

    Car production, which accounts for 15% of overall manufacturing output in the UK, is booming. Around 142,000 cars were made in March - 12% more than the same period last year. Fully three quarters of them are exported. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders tells Today "we've seen people come back into showrooms in Europe," he says, and that is driving UK production.

     
  16.  
    BANGLADESH TEXTILES 06:14: Radio 5 live

    It's a year since the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh. The destruction left 1,130 dead. Alan Roberts, who helps run the Bangladesh Accord, a legally binding agreement formed in the aftermath of the disaster, tells Wake Up to Money a lot has changed since then. The Accord covers 166 brands and it has paid for the inspection of 300 factories. Of those, eight have been shut down for emergency improvements.

     
  17.  
    WIND FARMS 06:13:
    Royd Moor wind farm at twilight

    The Conservatives have announced that they will not subsidise any new onshore wind farms, if they win the next general election. They've also promised to give residents more power to block the construction of wind farms near their communities. Subsidies would continue for existing wind farms, and those with planning consent or under construction.

     
  18.  
    BARCLAYS AGM 06:07: Radio 5 live
    Sir John

    We can expect a significant number of Barclays shareholders to vote against the re-appointment of Sir John Sutherland, the chairman of the bank's remuneration committee. Sarah Wilson, founder of the Manifest shareholder information service, tells Wake Up to Money voting against individual board members is unusual, but the move reflects how unhappy some are about levels of pay. It would be a protest vote, as Sir John is due to replaced anyway.

     
  19.  
    06:00: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    Barclays shareholders get a chance to vote today on pay and bonuses at the bank. Many are thought to be unhappy with how much money is being diverted into remuneration. More on that later. You can contact us throughout the morning by tweeting @BBCBusiness or emailing bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk

     
  20.  
    06:00: Joe Miller Business Reporter

    Good morning. After much speculation over the declining fortunes of US tech companies, both Apple and Facebook posted better-than-expected results for the first three months of 2014. Stay with us as we bring you more analysis on that, and the rest of the business news.

     

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