Morning business round-up: Shares in Bank of Ireland up

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

Shares in Bank of Ireland jumped on the hope that the government will not take a majority stake in the firm. It follows a stress test on the Irish Republic's banking system, which revealed that four of the country's banks need an extra 24bn euros (£21.2bn) to survive the financial crisis.

Bank of Ireland was told it needs to raise 5.2bn euros, but has since said it would be able to meet its capital requirements.

Marks and Spencer has announced plans to re-enter the French retail market, 10 years after shutting down all of its European stores.

Britain's biggest clothing retailer said it would open a 15,000-square-foot store on the Champs-Elysees, one of the Paris' most famous streets. The company also said it was in talks to launch a number of its Simply Food stores, under franchise, around the French capital.

Sales of new vehicles in Japan have plunged 37% in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the country's north-east coast. Japan's auto sector has been hit hard by the disaster, with production at its biggest manufacturers halted due to a shortage of parts and power cuts.

Meanwhile, the nuclear emergency in Japan has led to a German energy giant persuing legal action after it was ordered to shut down a nuclear power plant for three months. RWE said the state of Hesse had no legal authority to order it to close the Biblis nuclear plant.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone area has begun to fall, according to official figures. For the first time in over a year the percentage of people out of work has dipped below 10%, to 9.9%.

Despite recent concerns about a possible slowdown in Chinese manufacturing, new figures show the sector is growing.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

The story is similar in Russia, where a survey has indicated that strong demand at home has bolstered growth in the country's manufacturing sector. The report said the sharp rise in overall demand came in spite of rising prices and weaker exports.

Meanwhile the Bank of Japan will re-release the results of its Tankan survey. The initial results showed that manufacturers were optimistic about economic growth in the first three months of the year. But the majority of the responses were received before the earthquake and tsunami struck on 11 March.

To hear about some of the wider trends in the world of business, click through to our Business Daily podcast which explores how the nuclear meltdown in Japan is likely to affect China's nuclear ambitions.

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