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Morning Market Roundup: Asia Outlook Cut, U.S. vs. China Tech, Oil Down


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

Asia: The World Bank cut its growth forecast for Asia on Monday in a new sign of the impact of weakening global demand and warned China's cooling economy faces the risk of a "more pronounced slowdown.

The bank cut this year's growth outlook for developing Asia-Pacific economies to 7.2 percent, down from its May forecast of 7.6 percent. The bank cut its forecast for China, the region's biggest economy, to 7.7 percent from May's 8.2 percent.

The bank cited weak global demand due to the lackluster U.S. recovery and Europe's recession. It said Europe's debt crisis still is a "major risk," followed by the U.S. "fiscal cliff" - a mix of tax and spending cuts due to take effect at year's end that might depress growth.

U.S. vs. China Tech: American companies should avoid doing business with China's two leading technology firms because they pose a national security threat to the United States, the House Intelligence Committee is warning in a report to be issued Monday.

The panel says U.S. regulators should block mergers and acquisitions in this country by Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp, among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications gear and mobile phones.

Reflecting U.S. concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that U.S. government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.

The recommendations are the result of a yearlong probe, including a congressional hearing last month in which senior Chinese executives of both companies testified, and denied posing a security threat.

On Monday, ahead of the report's release, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said investment by China's telecommunications companies in the United States showed the countries have mutually beneficial relations.

Oil: A string of indicators that the global economy is struggling to escape its mire kept oil prices on their down trend Monday.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for November delivery was down $1.31 to $88.57 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, was down 91 cents to $111.11 a barrel.

U.S. Futures: U.S. stock futures are heading lower with economists growing increasingly pessimistic about Asia as well as expectations for a leaden performance from major U.S. corporations as the earnings season kicks off this week.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 45 points to 13,491. The broader S&P futures have given up 5.7 points to 1,449.80. Nasdaq futures are down 13.25 points to 2,791.

Major U.S. corporations begin posting results for the latest quarter this week, starting with Alcoa on Tuesday.

FactSet says companies in the Standard & Poor's index are expected to post an overall profit decline for the first time in 11 quarters.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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