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Morning business round-up: Japan intervenes on yen

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

The Japanese government and central bank have intervened to weaken the yen to protect economic growth.

Japan sold yen on the markets, weakening the currency so that the dollar was worth more than 79 yen, up from about 77 yen before the move.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced further monetary easing in the afternoon.

Shares in Japanese infrastructure giants Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy have gained on merger speculation.

Foreign and domestic media reported on Thursday that the two firms were set to start talks to merge some businesses. Both companies denied the reports when contacted by the BBC.

Hitachi shares ended the day up 1.7% while Mitsubishi Heavy was up 3.4%.

The cost of borrowing for the Spanish government has risen sharply at its latest debt auction.

The government successfully sold 3.3bn euros ($2.1bn, £2.9bn) worth of new bonds to investors.

However, the interest rate on 2.2bn euros worth of the debt - to be repaid in 2014 - rose to 4.813% from a rate of 4.037% at a bond sale in early June.

Spain has struggled to retain the confidence of lenders due to worries about its ability to pay its debts.

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Adidas has raised its forecasts for 2011 after reporting strong figures for the three months to the end of June.

Net profits for the quarter came in at 140m euros ($200m; £122m), up 11% from the same period last year.

Adidas is predicting record earnings for the full year, despite 2011 not being an Olympic or World Cup year.

Mining giant Rio Tinto has reported a big jump in profits due to strong demand in Asia and charging higher prices for its products.

Net earnings for the first half year were $7.6bn (£4.6bn), up 30% on the $5.8bn the firm made a year earlier.

However, analysts had expected a higher figure and Rio shares fell almost 2% in early trading.

Shares in Unilever, the company behind brands such as Marmite, Magnum ice cream, Lux soap and Persil, have risen sharply following the release of better-than-expected results.

Net profit rose to 2.41bn euros ($3.43bn; £2.09bn) for the first half of 2011, up 9% on last year.

Prices rose 3.5% in the first six months of the year while underlying sales grew 5.7%.

On today's Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service, Lesley Curwen talks to the United Nations about whether we still need big trade deals.

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