Morning Business Report

The next chapter of the tablet wars has begun. Amazon is now shipping its new Kindle Fire, and at $199 this tablet computer could be the first successful challenge to Apple’s dominant iPad. The Kindle Fire costs less than half as much as the iPad, and includes software that Amazon hopes will kindle fresh consumer interest. More than an e-reader, the Kindle Fire comes packed with a movie data base and its own Amazon shopping store. The Pulse news reader could also be a popular app.

Apple has switched on its iTunes match service. For $25 a year customers can store all their music online. The songs can be downloaded or streamed later to other Apple devices without being physically connected to a computer.

The pain in Spain is the latest concern for financial markets. Fresh worries about Europe’s sprawling debt crisis are again pushing down stock averages. The Dow was down 75 points yesterday. US futures and overseas averages are down today. Spain’s borrowing costs rose in today’s auction of short-term debt. The 10-year rate for Spanish bonds is now 6.25 per cent — a sign the bond markets believe Spain’s finances are shaky. High rates on Italian debt have also spooked the markets.

The economies of the 17 countries that use the euro grew 0.2 percent in the third quarter – despite a raging debt crisis that has raised fears of a new recession. The second consecutive quarterly rise of 0.2 percent was reported by the EU statistics office Eurostat. Growth in Germany and France was stronger than in other parts of Europe.

– Richard Davies, Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio,