Morning business round-up: Tesco profits fall

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

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The UK's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, has reported its first fall in profits since 1994.

Profit for the six months to 25 August was £1.7bn, down 11.6% from the same period last year.

The fall in profits was largely due to spending on the retailer's £1bn investment programme to improve its UK stores, which was announced by chief executive Philip Clarke in April.

The European Commission has put forward new proposals to make it easier for people and businesses to move and do business within the European Union.

The commission's Single Market Act II has several key aims, including fostering mobility of citizens and businesses across borders and making it easier to gain access to finance across the 27 nation EU area.

The act also hopes to strengthen social entrepreneurship and boost consumer confidence.

Dame Marjorie Scardino, the first woman to head a FTSE 100 company, is to step down as chief executive of publishing firm Pearson.

She will leave at the end of the year after 16 years at the helm.

Dame Marjorie, 65, will be replaced by John Fallon, who is currently head of Pearson's International Education division.

Pearson, which publishes the Financial Times, said this part of the company was crucial to its growth strategy.

A post-Olympics surge in the number of UK holiday makers heading abroad means Easyjet now expects to report higher-than-expected profits.

The airline said that it had seen strong demand for flights from London after the Olympic Games.

Easyjet now expects to report profits of £310m-£320m for the year to 30 September, compared with an earlier prediction of £280m-£300m.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cut its growth forecast for Asia for this year and next, as economic problems in Europe and the US hurt developing countries.

Business headlines

The lender projects that Asia, excluding Japan, will expand by 6.1% this year, down from a July estimate of 6.6%.

It also forecast inflation would be 4.2% rather than 4.4%.

The ADB said countries in Asia must reduce their dependency on exports.

A Chinese-owned firm in the US is suing President Barack Obama after he blocked a wind farm deal on national security grounds.

Ralls Corp, a private firm, acquired four wind farm projects near a US naval facility in Oregon earlier this year.

Mr Obama signed the order blocking the deal last week. The lawsuit alleges the US government overstepped its authority.

It is the first foreign investment to be blocked in the US for 22 years.

The latest Business Daily podcast peers over over the edge of the dizzying fiscal cliff the US is rapidly approaching to discover what it will mean for America and the world.

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