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Morning Market Roundup: Saudi Oil, Spain Tests EU, Apple Lawsuit Thrown Out


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

EU: The leaders of 25 European countries on Friday signed a new treaty designed to limit government overspending, but their good intentions were immediately put to the test when Spain said it would miss deficit targets this year.

Hours after signing the new pact, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy admitted his government's deficit will be 5.8 percent of economic output this year instead of the 4.4 percent earlier promised to the EU to save his country's economy from austerity overload.

The EU's executive, the European Commission, will be forced to either back off its demands for deficit cuts or sanction Madrid.

By signing of the new treaty, known as the fiscal compact, the leaders hope to achieve closer political and economic integration and longer-term confidence in Europe's finances. But the economic reality in the region - record unemployment and a slide back into recession - suggests the leaders need to reconsider their focus on austerity and seek ways to boost growth.

Oil: Oil prices retreated to below $108 a barrel Friday after Saudi Arabia denied an Iranian media report of a Saudi pipeline explosion.

By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for April delivery was down 98 cents to $107.86 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.77 to $108.84 per barrel in New York on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude was down $1.46 to $124.74 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Crude jumped to $110.55 late Thursday after an unconfirmed Iranian media report of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia. Saudi officials denied the report.

Apple: A German court has dismissed patent lawsuits by technology giants Apple and Samsung against each other in the two companies' battle over the market for smartphones and tablet devices.

Mannheim state court spokesman Joachim Bock said judges dismissed both cases involving alleged patent infringements of the companies' respective slide-to-lock technology on mobile devices.

Samsung Electronics welcomed Friday's dismissal of Apple's case against the firm, but vowed to appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit against Apple. It also said a separate case regarding four alleged patent infringements is still pending with the Mannheim court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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