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  • However, rising speculation that Spain will soon ask for help to keep its borrowing costs down continues to shore up European markets, particularly in Madrid. The surprise decision late Tuesday by Moody's to maintain its credit rating on Spain has also helped shore up sentiment.

  • NEW YORK-- EBay Inc. is expected to post higher third-quarter earnings and revenue Wednesday after the market closes, thanks to strength in its PayPal unit as well as its e-commerce platforms.

  • Spain is under pressure to tap a eurozone financial aid system that would give the European Central Bank the green light to buy the country's government bonds. That would lower Spain's borrowing rates in bond markets, relieving its financial burden.

  • WASHINGTON-- Builders likely started construction on more homes in September than August, as many gained confidence in their prospects for sales in the coming months. If the forecast is correct, that would be the fastest pace since October 2008. The Commerce Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday.

  • BERLIN-- Europe's debt crisis and waning economic growth around the world, particularly in emerging markets, prompted the German government to cut its forecast for growth next year.

  • HONG KONG-- Hong Kong's anti-corruption watchdog charged a former government secretary with fraud Wednesday over a housing scandal that erupted days after he was appointed by the city's new leader.

  • BANGKOK-- A positive day for stock markets and hopes that Spain might be on the verge of requesting a bailout to fix its debt crisis kept oil prices steady Wednesday. Benchmark oil for November delivery was unchanged at $92.09 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

  • BERLIN-- A top German government official on Wednesday dashed hopes of swift progress on strengthening Europe's financial sector, saying this week's summit of the bloc's 27 leaders won't make any final decisions on setting up a single banking supervisor.

  • ATHENS, Greece-- Greece's Alpha Bank says it has agreed to buy loss-making competitor Emporiki Bank from French lender Credit Agricole for the symbolic sum of 1. Credit Agricole, France's third-largest bank, is selling its Greek business due to concern over the country's financial crisis, which has caused massive losses on loans and government bond holdings.

  • LONDON-- The likelihood that the Bank of England might approve more economic stimulus next month decreased on Wednesday as minutes from the latest policy meeting showed the rate-setters disagreed on the program's effectiveness and official figures showed the unemployment rate has dropped.

  • BANGKOK-- The two Asian nations with the region's best performing stock markets in the past year are unlikely havens for investors: Thailand and the Philippines. The PSE benchmark in the Philippines has soared 29 percent in the last 12 months and Thailand's SET index is up a whopping 33 percent.

  • MADRID-- Rising speculation that Spain will soon ask for outside help to keep a lid on its borrowing costs has helped ease the pressure on the country in financial markets. There was also some relief in the markets that Moody's did not cut its credit rating on the country as had been widely-feared.

  • SUMNER, Texas-- Oil has long lived in harmony with farmland and cattle across the Texas landscape, a symbiosis nurtured by generations and built on an unspoken honor code that allowed agriculture to thrive while oil was extracted. In the minds of some landowners approached by TransCanada for land, the company has broken the code.

  • DES MOINES, Iowa-- It's difficult to argue with the goals of the World Food Prize Foundation _ to recognize people who have helped improve the quality and availability of food to reduce world hunger.

  • AMSTERDAM-- ASML Holding NV, the biggest supplier of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers, has offered to buy Cymer Inc. of the U.S. for around $2.55 billion in cash and shares.

  • LONDON-- Royal Bank of Scotland, which was rescued in Britain's biggest bank bailout, said Wednesday that it is getting out of an emergency insurance program which helped stabilize the company after it nearly collapsed. Royal Bank of Scotland shares were up 1.6 percent at 284.5 pence in early trading in London.

  • PARIS-- Yogurt maker Danone says its sales grew solidly in the third quarter of the year, driven by its booming waters business and strong growth in Asia. The Paris- based maker of Evian bottled water warned this year that the economic slowdown in Europe would hit its performance.

  • NEW DELHI-- India and Australia agreed Wednesday to begin negotiations on civil nuclear energy cooperation that would eventually allow the export of Australian uranium to the energy-starved South Asian nation.

  • BANGKOK-- A positive day for stock markets and hopes that Spain might be on the verge of requesting a bailout to fix its debt crisis helped push oil prices higher Wednesday. Benchmark oil for November delivery was up 16 cents to $92.25 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.