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Markets unsteady...Sharp takeover goes ahead...China auto sales rise

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TOKYO (AP) — International stock markets wavered today as rallies in Asia and the U.S. faded with China's release of relatively weak data for July. Investors were looking ahead to the release later in the day of U.S. retail sales figures. Futures point to some opening volatility today on Wall Street. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $43.50 a barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and fell against the euro.

BEIJING (AP) — The first foreign takeover of a major Japanese electronics producer is about to move forward. Japan's Sharp Corp. says its proposed acquisition by Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles Apple's iPhones, has been approved by Chinese anti-monopoly officials -- that last regulatory hurdle. Foxconn says it plans a turnaround for the struggling brand.

BEIJING (AP) — China's auto sales growth accelerated in July, rising 26.3 percent over a year earlier, and General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. reported new demand records for the month. An industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, says drivers bought 1.6 million passenger cars. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 23 percent to 1.8 million units.

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese official is trying to reassure companies and investors that the growth in the world's second-largest economy is stable despite unexpectedly weak July activity, but acknowledged pressure from lackluster global demand. Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, says weakness in factory output, imports and other activity was due partly to summer flooding.

WASHINGTON (AP) — There are three major government economic reports due out today. The Commerce Department will release data on July's retail sales as well as on business inventories for June. Also, the Labor Department will release the Producer Price Index for July. There's a quarterly earnings report from a major retailer today. J.C. Penney will release its financial results before the opening bell.

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