Morning business round-up: European shares drop

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

European shares have recovered slightly from Monday's sharp falls as investors shook off rising Spanish bond yields and worsening forecasts of Greek economic contraction.

Italy and the Netherlands also had to pay a higher rate to borrow money. said its profit in the first quarter dipped by 25% amid falling membership sales and higher operating costs.

It reported a net profit of 339.2m yuan ($54m; £33m) for the period, down from 452.2m yuan a year earlier.

LG Display, the South Korean flat screen maker, suffered its sixth straight quarterly loss.

It reported operating losses of 178bn won ($156m; £97m) for the first quarter of 2012.

In the UK, the UK government borrowed more than expected in March, official figures have shown.

But it still met its borrowing target for the year.

The number of homes sold in the UK rose sharply in March as the typical spring bounce took hold, HM Revenue and Customs said.

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And tax officials welcomed a ruling that prevents a group of wealthy investors from claiming more than £100m in tax relief.

The case centred on a deal in film distribution rights and involved investors including Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

In company news, Associated British Foods announced a 3% rise in half-year profits thanks to strong performances from its Primark retail chain and its sugar business.

And Arm Holdings, which designs chips used in smartphones such as iPhones, reported rising profits and revenues.

The UK firm's quarterly pre-tax profits rose 22% to £61.9m in the first three months of 2012 from last year.

The latest Business Daily podcast asks how do you build an economy in a country which most of the world denies even exists? That's the challenge facing Abkhazia - which broke away from Georgia in a bloody war after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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