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Today's Financial Focus

German executives and industry leaders joined forces in the fight to save the euro as lawmakers quarrelled over the stakes. Lobby groups, led by the BDI Federation of German Industries and labour unions, made a last-ditch appeal to lawmakers to back the changes to the European Financial Stability Facility. Germany, Europe’s largest economy and the single biggest contributor to the aid, sends more than 40% of its exports to euro-region countries and has the most to gain from an intact monetary union.

President Barack Obama for the second time this week criticised the response of European governments to the continent’s debt crisis, saying the turmoil continues to be a drag on the US economy. The issue will be at the top of the agenda when Obama joins other leaders from the Group of 20 nations next week for a summit in France.

Orders for US capital goods climbed in August by the most in three months, a sign business investment continues to support the recovery. Bookings for goods like computers and communications gear, excluding military hardware and aircraft, climbed 1.1%, the most since May. Demand for all durable goods dropped 0.1%, which is less than forecast.

MARKETS:

ASIAN stocks fell for the first time in three days amid concern European policy makers will struggle to stem the region’s debt crisis. The Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the bigger of China’s stock exchanges, slid to a 14-month low. US Futures trading indicate the S&P may rally from yesterday’s drop.

HONG KONG shut financial markets for the day, and closed schools, courts and government offices after raising its highest storm signal in two years as Typhoon Nesat swept gale-force winds and rain into the city. The No. 8 storm warning will remain for most of the day.

European shares are set to extend the previous session’s losses on Thursday and on track to post the worst quarter in almost three years, with investors seen cautious ahead of a crucial German vote on new powers for the Eurozone rescue fund.

CURRENCIES:

The euro advanced against 14 of its 16 major counterparts before German lawmakers vote on changes to a European bailout fund. The 17-nation currency rallied versus the dollar from a decline yesterday on speculation German Chancellor Angela Merkel will gather enough support among her coalition lawmakers for the vote today on the European Financial Stability Facility.

ENERGY:

OIL was a little higher at $81.29 a barrel in New York, erasing an early slide that had extended yesterday’s 3.8% decline. Crude supplies rose 1.92m barrels to 341 million last week, the US Energy Department said yesterday.

COMMODITIES:

THE S&P’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials decreased 0.3%, extending yesterday’s 2.7% drop. The gauge has declined 10% since June, and is headed for its largest quarterly loss since the final three months of 2008. Three-month copper sank 2.6% London Metal Exchange, and a close at that level will be the lowest since July 2010. Zinc fell 3.1%, nickel fell 1.5% and aluminium lost 1.3%.

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