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Weaker stocks...VW shares fall...Trade pact endorsement

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International stock markets were weaker today even as China's benchmark stabilized a day after plunging nearly 7 percent. Futures suggest opening losses today on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil inched up but was below $37 per barrel. The dollar slipped against the yen and strengthened against the euro.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Shares in Volkswagen AG are sliding after the U.S. Justice Department sued the German automaker over emissions-cheating software fitted to diesel vehicles. Volkswagen's shares were 3.1 percent lower at 122.45 euros ($133.05) in Frankfurt trading this morning — easily the worst performer on the DAX index of blue chip stocks. The suit potentially exposes the company to billions in fines for clean air violations.

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's final year priorities is expected to get a boost today from a business group that often doesn't see eye to eye with the president. The Business Roundtable, made up of chief executive officers from large U.S. companies, plans to endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a trade pact linking 12 nations along the Pacific Rim that make up 40 percent of the world economy.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Lower energy costs kept a lid on inflation across the 19-country eurozone economy in the year to December. Official figures today show that consumer price inflation held steady at 0.2 percent for the second month running. The rate was positive for a third month in a row but below market expectations for a modest increase to 0.3 percent. Low inflation is the main reason why the ECB has embarked on a series of stimulus measures over the past year.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's unemployment rate edged up to 6.1 percent in December as a result of seasonal factors, but the labor market in Europe's biggest economy remains solid. The Federal Labor Agency says the unadjusted jobless rate was up from 6 percent in November. The agency says the rise was "purely due to seasonal factors."

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