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Stocks lower...New home sales data...IMF says Mideast oil nations still pinched



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TOKYO (AP) — International stock markets fell across the board today ahead of policy decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, and major earnings reports and economic data from Japan and China expected later in the week. Futures point to a drift lower on Wall Street this morning. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell below $43.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There's only one government economic report today. It's from the Commerce Department and covers new home sales for March. But tomorrow, there'll be a durable goods report for March. Also, Standard & Poor's will release the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for February and The Conference Board will issue its Consumer Confidence Index for April.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is warning of more hard times for oil exporting countries in the Middle East. The IMF says they lost a staggering $390 billion in revenue due to lower oil prices last year, and it appears this year could bring even deeper losses of more than $500 billion. It's all in a revised economic outlook report released today.

BEIJING (AP) — Automakers are showcasing a new generation of luxurious SUVs at China's biggest auto show of the year as they battle for buyers in its cooling, crowded market. Honda held world debuts for two SUVs among dozens shown by global and local automakers. Sales of SUVs, the popular option on China's rough roads, soared 52 percent last year, the only product segment that still is growing in the world's largest market. Sedan sales contracted by 5.3 percent and minivans plunged 17.5 percent.

LONDON (AP) — The latest revenue boosting trend amid slow global growth appears to be partnerships -- sometimes even between competitors. In its half-yearly review of corporate deal-making, consulting firm EY found that 40 percent of firms plan to enter alliances of some kind. Such deals can involve sharing resources to undertake specific projects, and are usually informal and less permanent than joint ventures. IBM, Apple and Johnson & Johnson and others, for example, are working together to develop mobile apps that would help patients.

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The Associated Press

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