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Mixed markets...Jobs report coming...German factory orders grow

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International stock markets were mixed today as investors parsed the latest earnings reports while awaiting a key U.S. jobs report that threatens to dent optimism over the Fed's rate hike schedule. Futures point to opening gains on Wall Street. The dollar gained against the yen and weakened against the euro. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell but remains above $48.50 per barrel.

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. economic expansion enters its ninth year, Friday's jobs report should help clarify its future path after mixed signals have emerged in recent weeks. Economists forecast that employers will add a healthy 180,000 jobs and the unemployment rate will decline to 4.3 percent, matching May's 16-year low. Solid numbers like that would cut through the conflicting information and reinforce that the economy is in decent shape. The Labor Department reports at 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

BERLIN (AP) — Factory orders in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, climbed 1 percent in June compared with the previous month thanks to a strong rise in domestic demand. The Economy Ministry says orders from inside Germany were up 5.1 percent in June, while those from abroad were down 2 percent. The rise in the overall figure followed a 1.1 percent increase in May. The ministry said that, for the whole second quarter, orders were 0.8 percent higher than in the January-March period.

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. reports that its fiscal first quarter profit rose 11 percent as sales improved around the world, including in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Toyota's April-June profit of 613.0 billion yen ($5.6 billion), up from 552.4 billion yen a year earlier. Quarterly sales rose 7 percent to 7.05 trillion yen ($64 billion). Toyota, which makes the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models, sold 2.2 million vehicles for the quarter, an improvement of 42,000 vehicles on-year.

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. say they plan to spend $1.6 billion to set up a joint-venture auto manufacturing plant in the U.S. — a move that will create up to 4,000 jobs. The plant will have an annual production capacity of about 300,000 vehicles, and will produce Toyota Corollas for the North American market. Mazda will make cross-over models there that it plans to introduce to that market.

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