By Douglas Hamilton JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Four Israeli settlers were shot dead in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday in an attack that Islamist Palestinian group Hamas said was its first assault on Middle East peace talks due to start on Wednesday in Washington. Declaring war on negotiations promoted by U.S. President Barack Obama a few hours before he was to inaugurate fresh talks at a White House banquet with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas militants who are backed by Iran said the killings were just the first phase.

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg says a lawsuit by a man who claims to own a huge chunk of the popular social networking website is seeking to uncover unnecessary details about his private life to harass him. Zuckerberg is fighting a civil lawsuit filed by Paul Ceglia, an upstate New York resident who claims an 84 percent stake in the privately held company, believed to be worth several billion dollars. Ceglia, an owner of a wood pellet fuel company who lives in Wellsville, New York, is trying to return the case to a New York state court, after Zuckerberg moved it to federal court.

* 2011 budget growth forecast more optimistic than markets * New primary budget target is nominal * Sees Selic rate at 10.75 pct at the end of 2011 * Sees investments of 52 billion reais in 2011 (Adds primary budget surplus target and byline) By Isabel Versiani BRASILIA, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Brazil’s economic growth will probably slow by a full percentage point next year, according to government budget estimates for 2011, reflecting the impact of higher borrowing costs and a global slowdown. Latin America’s largest economy will probably expand 5.5 percent in 2010, less than the 6.5 percent growth the government estimates, the Planning Ministry said on Tuesday in its 2011 budget proposal. Investors and analysts are expecting growth to top 7 percent this year, the fastest annual expansion in more than a decade.

By Walter Brandimarte NEW YORK (Reuters) – Growing fears of a double-dip U.S. recession weighed on global stocks and oil prices on Tuesday, pushing investors into the safe-haven yen, which neared a 15-year peak versus the dollar. Investors also rushed to the relative safety of gold and U.S.

* C$ falls to 93.76 U.S. cents * Bond prices add to gains * Q2 GDP grows at 2.0 percent annual rate, below forecast * Most Canada dealers see Sept rate hike (Updates to close, adds details, quotes) By Claire Sibonney TORONTO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Canada’s currency fell against the U.S

By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks ended little changed in choppy trading on Tuesday, closing out an August the bulls would like to forget. Positive data surprises sustained a rally for most of the session, but declines in technology shares capped overall gains. The S&P 500 bounced off the key technical level of 1,040 for the third time in the last five sessions

* Q3 cash EPS C$0.99 vs est C$1.00 * Loan loss provisions C$276 mln vs C$554 mln * Stock declines 1.3 pct to C$51.25 (Adds details from conference call, updates shares) By Cameron French TORONTO, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO: Quote , Profile , Research ) reported a 14 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday, as fewer loan defaults and stronger retail banking profits overshadowed a drop in trading revenue at Canada’s third-largest bank. Much like the other big Canadian banks, Scotiabank benefited from a healthier credit climate in the third quarter.

By Frank Tang NEW YORK (Reuters) – Gold rallied 1 percent to hit a two-month high on Tuesday, its biggest one-day gain in nearly three weeks, as investors kept piling into the safe-haven asset due to growing anxiety over the economic recovery. Bullion surged more than 6 percent in August, its biggest monthly gain since November