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Stocks mixed...Manufacturing, construction spending reports due...Plastic-bag ban far from wrapped up

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BANGKOK (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Wednesday after Wall Street slid and Hong Kong braced for bigger pro-democracy protests. European stocks slipped in early trading. Futures point to steady stocks when Wall Street opens this morning. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $91.50 per barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and was steady against the euro.

WASHINGTON — Investors and economists will be watching several reports due out today (Wednesday) The Institute for Supply Management is to release its manufacturing index for September, while the Commerce Department is to report on construction spending for August. Automakers share their September sales with the public. Over in France, the government is to present its draft budget for next year, amid mounting concerns that its lethargic economy is holding back the entire European recovery.

PARIS (AP) — France is facing the deepest spending cuts in the country's modern history. The Socialist government has detailed a 21 billion-euro ($26.5 billion) cost-cutting plan, taking a significant chunk out of France's generous welfare system including health and family benefits. The government also plans fewer state employees and limited wage increases. France's debt is represents 95.1 percent of gross domestic product.

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A coalition of plastic bag manufacturers says it will seek a voter referendum to overturn California's law banning single-use plastic bags. The group has three months to gather more than 500,000 valid signatures, the number needed to place a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. The group says it will push to make sure the law does not take effect until voters have a say. California became the first state to ban the plastic bags that many retailers provide when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation yesterday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood's carefully controlled system of movie rollouts is officially under siege. Windowing, the practice of opening a movie in theaters before it's available on other media, has been under increasing pressure and now Netflix is turning the screws some more with plans to release a sequel to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" on the day it hits Imax theaters next August. It's the biggest move yet by a major digital outlet to blow up Hollywood's traditional release pattern.

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