Morning business round-up: Greek vote hits EU banks


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

European banking stocks have fallen sharply despite the victory of pro-bailout parties in Greece's elections on Sunday.

While the victory of the pro-bailout New Democracy party raised hopes that the country would remain in the euro, analysts said much uncertainty remained.

The yield on Spanish bonds - the eurozone country said to be most at risk of needing an international bailout in the future - also remained volatile. The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds had initially fallen as low as 6.767%, before then rising to 7.061%.

In corporate news, staff at car company Ford are staging a 24-hour strike in a dispute over pay and pensions.

Sites at Dagenham in Essex, Bridgend in south Wales, Halewood on Merseyside and Southampton will be affected.

The Unite union said staff were "furious" at plans to shut the final salary pension scheme to new starters and lower their pay rates from 2013.

A Ford spokesman said "the vast majority of the company's employees are not involved in this disagreement".

Majestic Wine has reported a 14% rise in annual profits as it continues to enjoy increasing sales.

Its pre-tax profit for the year to 2 April totalled £23.2m, up from £20.3m a year earlier.

Like-for-like sales, which pull out the impact of new store openings, rose 2.6%. Its total revenues increased by 9% to £280.3m.

Majestic said that sales of fine wine - bottles worth more than £20 - rose 18.5% and now represent 6.2% of UK store sales.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

In Asia-Pacific, the world's third-biggest retailer, Tesco, has announced that it is to exit the Japanese marketplace.

The UK supermarket group is to leave Japan in a two-stage process that will first see it sell 50% of its Tesco Japan subsidiary to the country's second-largest retail group, Aeon.

Tesco will then invest £40m in the joint venture before its eventual exit from the business. So far, no deadline for when this will happen has been made public.

Property prices in China fell further in May, indicating that government policies put in place to curb speculation are having the desired effect.

Prices of new homes fell in 55 of 70 Chinese cities from a year earlier.

Beijing has been trying to curb property speculation amid fears that asset bubbles may be forming.

However, there are concerns that if prices fall too much too soon, it may hurt China's overall economic growth.

Australia's Fairfax Media will shed 1,900 jobs over three years and give two high-profile broadsheets a new "compact" format, it has announced.

Websites of the two newspapers, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, will also introduce pay walls from 2013.

Two printing facilities in Sydney and Melbourne are also to be closed by 2014 as part of the cost-cutting measures.

Fairfax said it was taking "decisive actions to fundamentally change the way we do business".

And in our Business Daily podcast, we talk to past and present advisers to Germany's government about the prospects of Chancellor Angela Merkel offering concessions to Greece, following the high support for anti-austerity parties in Greek elections at the weekend.

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