Morning business round-up: Sony warns of record loss

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

Sony has warned that it will report a record annual loss of $6.4bn, double its previous estimate.

The company blamed the revision on a charge related to its tax arrangements in the United States.

The warning comes as the company's chief executive prepares a turnaround plan. More details are expected on Thursday when Kazuo Hirai holds a press conference.

European shares opened the week with losses. It was the first chance for investors to react to Friday's disappointing data on the US labour market.

Italian shares fell by almost 3% on media reports the government was about to cut its growth forecast

Those falls on European stock markets came despite encouraging news on the Germany economy.

Exporters there enjoyed another month of growth in February with the latest figures showing exports were up 1.6% over the month.

Trade figures from China have also been released. Exports grew by a more-than-expected 8.9% during the month from a year earlier, indicating that global demand may be picking up.

However, imports grew by 5.3%, down from a 39.6% jump last month.

In corporate news, shares in tour operator Thomas Cook have jumped 15% after it confirmed it was in "advanced" talks about extending its financing arrangements.

The discussions are part of the strategic review that the firm began after new financing was put in place last November.

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Our Business Daily podcast today asks if Russia should be one of the so-called BRIC nations. Some economists say that Russia's mature economy should not be included in that group of fast-growing nations. The show will have a special report from our correspondent in Moscow.

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