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Oil Prices Slump on Demand Fears

World oil prices hit multi-month lows on Tuesday as traders eyed the prospect of slowing energy demand in China and the United States, and as the OPEC cartel slashed its forecasts for oil consumption.

The energy market also suffered heavy falls, in line with tumbling global equities, as investors fretted over a possible new worldwide economic downturn and eagerly awaited an interest rate decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

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HSBC in Talks to Sell U.S. Business

Global banking giant HSBC said Tuesday it was in talks regarding the possible sale of its U.S. card and retail services business.

"HSBC confirms that it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of the business. These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction," the London-based company said in a statement.

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Asian Stock Markets Stabilizing after Dramatic Plunges

Asian stocks markets are stabilizing after a day of dramatic plunges Tuesday as futures point to a measure of calm returning to Wall Street following the Dow's sixth worst decline in the last 112 years.

To be sure, investors remained on edge amid fears of a possible global recession. But by midafternoon, major Asian indexes had pulled back from a dizzying tailspin earlier in the day.

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Foreign Automakers Eye Brazil's Promising Market

Brazil's auto market -- the fourth-largest in the world -- is a top prospect for foreign carmakers seeking new buyers, with strong growth expected in the coming years, industry experts say.

Last week, China's JAC Motors (Jianghuai Automobile Co.) announced it would invest $900 million to build a factory in Brazil, while German luxury carmaker BMW said there was a "high probability" it would also set up an assembly plant.

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Obama, Republicans Clash on Debt 'Super Committee'

President Barack Obama and his Republican foes clashed Monday on whether a new congressional "super committee" could even look at raising taxes as it works to rein in runaway deficits by $1.2 trillion.

The confrontation stoked concerns that the panel, created in the hard-fought debt-limit deal Obama signed into law last week, is doomed to deadlock even before leaders of the polarized House and Senate name its 12 members.

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Kuwait Denies Joint Oil Development with Iran

The oil ministry in OPEC member Kuwait on Monday denied that it has started a joint oil development with neighbouring Iran.

"There is no cooperation between the two sides in this regard," said the ministry assistant undersecretary for technical affairs Ali Sabt, cited by the official KUNA news agency.

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Oil Prices Slump as U.S. Downgrade Stokes Demand Worries

Oil prices slumped more than three dollars Monday over fears of slowing energy demand in the United States after a shock credit rating downgrade for the world's biggest economy, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light, sweet crude for delivery in September, plunged $3.01 to $83.87 a barrel.

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Gold Strikes Record High Above $1,700

The price of gold struck a record high above $1,700 an ounce on Monday with dealers flocking to the safe haven metal as Asian stocks tumbled following Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt.

The price of gold reached $1,704.30 an ounce in Hong Kong trade.

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Mideast Markets Tumble After U.S. Credit Downgrade

Stocks are tumbling across the Middle East as most of the region's markets open for their first day of business following a historic downgrade of the United States' credit rating.

The main market index in the regional financial hub Dubai led the declines Sunday, plunging over 5 percent before rebounding slightly to a 4.4 percent drop by midday local time. Other Gulf markets also opened sharply lower.

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Swiss Consumers Ask: Why Shop in Switzerland?

Swiss officials and businesses may be fretting about the franc's rise against other currencies, but one group of people are clearly loving it: Swiss consumers.

A mere 300 metres across the border in the little French town of Ferney-Voltaire, the first sign of the franc's rise against the euro can be found at the Carrefour supermarket's parking lot, where six out of 10 cars bear Swiss licence plates.

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