Morning in brief: BNP Paribas Q4 profits drop, US moves closer to tax cut deal

Markets

Asian stocks show their largest jump in four weeks and European equity futures rise after Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, indicates the country is willing to help tackle the eurozone debt crisis, Bloomberg says.

Companies

French bank BNP Paribas reports that profits dropped 50% to €765m (£641m) during the final quarter of 2011 after it wrote down its Greek assets by another €567m, according to the BBC.

Sources tell Reuters that talks between Yahoo and China’s Alibaba Group over the future of Yahoo’s Asian assets have stalled and plans to carry out a $17 billion (£10.8 billion) tax-free asset swap are at risk.

International

US congressional negotiators tentatively agree upon a deal to extend a payroll tax cut, unemployment benefits and Medicare reimbursements, although the deal still has to be approved by the House and Senate, the Financial Times reports.