Morning business round-up: Market nerves remain

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

European stock markets had a shaky start on Friday as concern continued over Greece and Spain.

Spain's main share index fell more than 2% before recovering, while shares in London fell by as much as 1%.

Confidence in European banks was undermined by ratings agency Moody's, which cut the credit ratings of 16 Spanish banks late on Thursday.

It also cut the debt rating on Santander UK, a subsidiary of the Spanish banking giant.

Facebook shares will start trading later in one of the largest and most high-profile share flotations of recent years.

Strong demand has led Facebook to increase both the price and the number of shares available for sale this week.

The shares will go on sale at $38 each, valuing the eight-year-old social network site at $104bn (£66bn).

Chinese property prices have continued to fall during April after the government kept policies in place to curb speculation.

Newly built home prices fell in 46 of 70 mainland cities in April from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said, compared with a decline in 38 cities during March.

The worry is that if property prices fall further then it will hurt growth in the world's second-largest economy.

The Commerce Department sided with US-based solar panel companies, ruling their Chinese competitors were flooding the US market with government-subsidised products.

Media caption,

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The US had already set customs duties on Chinese manufacturers of between 2.9% and 4.73% in March.

It was the latest escalation of trade tensions between the two countries.

China has allowed more companies to export rare earths, increasing the quotas set by the government, after they met environment standards.

It has increased rare earth export quotas by 10,680 tonnes, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

The announcement brings the total quotas issued so far this year to 21,226 tonnes.

Rare earths are a collection of 17 elements used in products from smartphones to hybrid cars.

The latest Business Daily podcast considers whether new US regulations have prevented the trading scandal at JP Morgan Chase.

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