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Morning business round-up: Olympus shares surge

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

Shares in Olympus surged, closing up nearly 20%, after the company confirmed it was suing 19 current and former executives after a $1.7bn (£1bn) accounting cover-up.

The shares were also boosted by a report in the Nikkei newspaper that Olympus will probably be fined by the Tokyo Stock Exchange rather than being delisted.

Growth in China's exports slowed in December because of sluggish demand from the US and Europe, sparking fears that the world's second largest economy could be losing steam.

Exports rose by 13.4% from a year earlier, the customs agency said, down from 13.8% in November.

Import growth also slowed, rising 11.8% compared with the previous year, much lower than the 22.1% growth in November.

Samsung unveiled a "smart" internet-connected television that has the ability to have its hardware upgraded every year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The innovation may help reassure shoppers concerned about their screen becoming outdated.

US carmakers General Motors and Ford reported record car sales in China for 2011, despite a slowdown in the Chinese market.

GM said sales of its vehicles and those of its Chinese partners rose 8.3% during the year to a record high of 2.5 million cars. Ford saw sales rise by 7% to 519,390 vehicles.

Apple revealed in a court filing that it awarded chief executive Tim Cook a pay package worth $378m (£244m) in 2011, most of which came in shares payable in the coming years.

Apple's board granted Mr Cook 1 million restricted stock units, worth $376m, to signal its confidence in him when he took over from Steve Jobs in August.

The award is expected to have made Mr Cook the highest paid chief executive in the US in 2011.

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In Europe, British retailer Marks and Spencer reported a modest rise in UK sales over the Christmas period, after strong food sales offset weaker trading elsewhere at the firm.

Like-for-like sales for the final 13 weeks of 2011 were up 0.5% on a year earlier. Food sales were up 3%.

French industrial output rose by a greater-than-expected 1.1% in November, lifted by production of electronic equipment and refinery output.

And in another boost for the French economy, ratings agency Fitch said it did not expect to downgrade the country's triple-A credit rating this year.

Dutch group Philips Electronics said that weak demand in Europe had hit its fourth quarter results.

The group said it had taken a charge on stock it cannot shift in its lighting division, while delays in deliveries are expected to reduce sales growth in its healthcare sector by 2-3%.

The latest edition of Business Daily looks at the Irish Republic's decision to create a bad bank - a dumping ground for toxic loans from all their banks - and Spain's decision not to.

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