Morning business round-up: Fed comments hit markets

Business headlines

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

Market Data

Last Updated at 20:13 ET

Market index Current value Trend Variation % variation
Dow Jones 16563.30 Down -317.06 -1.88%
Nasdaq 4369.77 Down -72.93 -1.64%
S&P 500 1930.67 Down -39.40 -2.00%
FTSE 100 6730.11 Down -43.33 -0.64%
Dax 9407.48 Down -186.20 -1.94%
BBC Global 30 7096.66 Down -6.89 -0.10%

Global stock markets have fallen after some members of the US central bank suggested its stimulus measures may be increasing the "risks of future economic and financial imbalances".

The comments in the minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting were seen as suggesting that the Fed may wind back its bond-buying plan ahead of expectations.

After US stocks recorded their biggest drop so far this year, markets in Asia and across Europe also saw big falls.

US sportswear giant Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend.

"We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely," a Nike spokesman said.

It recently pulled ads that featured Mr Pistorius and the line, "I am the bullet in the chamber".

The way that the key Libor interest rate is set in the UK is still not clean and free of fraud, according to a top US regulator.

"We have a lot more work to do," Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, told the BBC.

He suggested that the rate was often "completely made up".

A number of banks, including Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland, have been fined hundreds of millions of pounds for rigging the lending rate.

A French minister has responded angrily to the boss of US tyremaker Titan, Maurice Taylor, who said he would have to be "stupid" to invest in the country.

Mr Taylor had made the claims in a letter to France's minister for industrial recovery, Arnaud Montebourg.

But on Thursday, Mr Montebourg replied that Mr Taylor's "extreme" comments showed a "perfect ignorance of what our country is".

He added that 20,000 foreign firms are in France, employing two million people.

Sony has announced its next-generation gaming console - the PlayStation 4.

Its new hardware is designed to offer superior graphics as well as new social features including the sharing of recorded gameplay clips.

It will succeed the PlayStation 3, which went on sale in 2006 and has sold about 75 million units.

The PS4 will eventually compete against Microsoft's still-to-be-unveiled Xbox 360 successor and Nintendo's Wii U.

Profits at Australian airline Qantas have risen, boosted by compensation from Boeing after it cancelled 787 orders and amid narrowing losses on its international operations.

It made a net profit of A$111m ($114m; £75m) in the six months to the end of December, up from A$42m a year earlier.

The figure includes A$125m compensation that Qantas received from Boeing.

UK aerospace company BAE Systems has reported a fall in full-year profits, blaming delays over a major contract with Saudi Arabia and weak global demand.

Pre-tax profits fell more than 6% to £1.37bn ($2.1bn), compared with £1.47bn last year.

Sales also fell from £19.1bn to £17.8bn for the year to 31 December 2012.

Its deal to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 Typhoons has hit trouble following disagreements over the final contract price, while in the US, where BAE derives 40% of its revenues, the defence budget is being cut by $487bn (£320bn) over the next decade.

The latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service talks to Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, talking about Google, leaving a legacy, and what keeps him awake at night.

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