Morning business round-up: Asian stocks fall


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

Asian markets have dropped, tracking falls in Europe and the US, amid political uncertainty in Greece.

Greece's left-wing Syriza bloc is trying to form a government and its leader is opposed to the austerity terms set in the Greek bailout deal.

There are fears Greece may not get the next instalment of its bailout if it does not stick to the spending cuts.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.5%, South Korea's Kospi shed 0.8% and Australia's ASX 200 dipped 0.9%.

In Europe, Spain's stock market fell by more than 3%, with reports that the country's government is set to put forward new rules for its banks regarding the amount of money they must set aside to cover property-related loans.

Toyota's fourth quarter profits have jumped five-fold amid a recovery from last year's natural disasters and a pick up in the US car market.

Net profit was 121bn yen ($1.5bn; £940m) in the three months to the end of March, up from 25.4bn a year earlier.

For the full year, profit fell 30% to 283.5bn yen, as disasters and a strong yen hurt earnings earlier in the year.

The firm has forecast a net profit of 760bn yen in the current fiscal year.

Protests by some Air India pilots have entered their second day with more international flights cancelled from Delhi and Mumbai, reports say.

An Air India spokesman said three international flights to Singapore, New York and Newark have been cancelled.

Earlier the airline fired 10 pilots after dozens of them called in sick amid a dispute over training for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh called the stoppage "illegal".

Danish brewer Carlsberg reported a fall in profits for the first quarter of the year after being hit by a weak performance at its Russian business.

Russian distributors stocked up at the end of last year ahead of a tax rise.

Carlsberg reported a pre-tax profit of 59m krone ($10m; £6m) in the first three months of the year, down from 353m krone in the same period of 2011.

Carlsberg, the world's fourth biggest brewer, makes nearly a quarter of its sales in Russia.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Commerzbank has reported worse-than-expected three month results, hit by the Greek debt swap and weak trading.

First-quarter net profit came in at 369m euros ($479m; £297m), down 63% from the same period last year.

Commerzbank took part in the Greek debt swap and the sold almost all of the new bonds it received, losing 69m euros in the process.

Germany's second biggest lender said the eurozone debt crisis would continue to hit its earnings.

UK retail sales in April were hurt by the wet weather, the British Retail Consortium has said.

Like-for-like sales fell 3.3% from the same month last year, led by women's and children's wear.

Worst hit were sales of footwear, which recorded their largest decline since January 2008.

There was more gloomy news for the High Street from Clinton Cards, which said its largest supplier was set to begin steps to put it into administration.

It expects its largest supplier to begin steps to place it into administration later on Wednesday.

As a result, the company said it had requested for trading in its shares to be suspended with immediate effect.

It said two of its banks sold £35m of loans to supplier American Greetings.

While the banks had waived certain conditions for the loans, American Greetings is pressing for repayments that Clinton Cards cannot meet.

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