Morning Business Round-up: Libya concerns continue


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

Events in Libya kept markets on edge over the weekend, with oil prices higher and Asian markets suffering on Monday morning.

Markets are also concerned at the prospect of a "day of rage" in oil market cornerstone Saudi Arabia that has been called for this Friday.

The Nikkei fell 1.8% - not helped by new question marks over the prime minister's future - while Sydney and Hong Kong were down 1.3% each, with fuel-dependent airlines among the worst performers, while energy stocks did well.

In Europe, Moody's stuck its oar into the latest bout of market jitters over eurozone debts, by downgrading Greece three notches to B1.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Worryingly for the EU, the agency raised doubts over whether the permanent bail-out facility planned to come into effect from mid-2013 would actually increase the chances of a Greek debt restructuring.

Nonetheless, European stock markets opened only slightly lower and quickly recovered, with London's FTSE 100 index pushing well into positive territory.

Among corporate news of the day, French luxury goods maker LVMH is to buy a controlling stake in Italian jewellery-maker Bulgari.

In the banking world, Anglo-Chinese HSBC downplayed talk of a possible relocation of its headquarters to Hong Kong, while Barclays announced that its new chief executive Bob Diamond would be paid a £6.5m ($10.6m) bonus for 2010.

Meanwhile, the French finance ministry confirmed reports over the weekend that it had been targeted by sophisticated computer hackers in December seeking information about the G20 summit held in Paris in February.

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