Morning business round-up: PlayStation data theft

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Sony has warned users of its PlayStation Network that their personal information, including credit card details, may have been stolen. The company said that the data might have fallen into the hands of an "unauthorised person" following a hacking attack on its online service.

Access to the network was suspended last Wednesday, but Sony has only now revealed details of what happened.

Oil giant BP has reported a slight fall in first quarter profits to $5.5bn as it continues to be affected by the fallout from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Production was down 11% from a year ago after the firm was forced to sell assets to help pay for the clean up operation.

Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has announced it will shed 7,000 jobs as part of a plan to refocus the company on smartphones. The firm said 4,000 jobs worldwide would be cut - including a total of 700 jobs from Nokia's UK sites.

The UK economy has returned to growth. Official figures showed it had grown by 0.5% in the first three months of the year, reducing the risk of a double-dip recession. It followed a contraction of 0.5% in GDP at the end of 2010.

The manufacturing and services sectors performed well but construction output fell sharply.

UK bank Barclays has reported a 9% fall in pre-tax profits for the first three months of the year to £1.66bn. The fall was largely due to a drop in profits from corporate and investment banking, which were down by 29% at £983m compared with a year ago.

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Biz Heads

In Asia, Japan's sovereign rating outlook has been cut to negative by Standard & Poor's (S&P) in the wake of the devastation caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami. The ratings agency said that reconstruction efforts are likely to further increase Japan's debt levels.

Meanwhile, the country's retail sales dropped sharply in March as consumers stayed away from shops in the wake of last month's earthquake and tsunami. Japanese retail sales fell 8.5% last month, compared with March 2010, according to the latest data by the trade ministry.

Elsewhere, South Korea's economy grew at a better-than-expected pace in the first three months of the year the latest government data shows. The country's gross domestic product grew by 4.2% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.

To hear about some of the wider trends in the world of business, click through to our Business Daily podcast which today looks at whether it is time the US gets to grips with its debts.

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