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Morning Market Roundup: Iranian Sanctions, EU Hurts Ford, Spanish Bailout


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

Iran: Anti-Iran sanctions are forcing a shipping company backed by the governments of India and Iran to close, the company said Wednesday.

The Irano Hind Shipping Co., jointly owned by the Shipping Corp. of India and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, was formed in 1974 and is among the few international ventures to survive the 1979 Islamic Revolution and decades of economic and diplomatic pressure from the West.

India is one of the main targets of U.S. attempts to chip away at Iran's critical commercial lifelines across Asia. In May, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited New Delhi to urge leaders to cut back on oil imports from Iran - about 9 percent of India's fast-rising energy consumption - and turn to other suppliers such as Saudi Arabia.

The breakup of Irano Hind - which was placed under U.N. sanctions in 2010 - shows how even longstanding companies can quickly become unhinged by the widening sanctions.

Ford: Plummeting sales in Europe - and no hope for a quick fix in the troubled region - hurt Ford's second-quarter profit and forced the company to lower its full-year earnings forecast.

Ford joined a string of other multinational companies - including UPS and Xerox Corp. - in cutting its profit forecast for the full year because of weakness in the region. The company expects to lose more than $1 billion in Europe in 2012, double its estimate from the beginning of the year.

The automaker still expects a "strong" overall operating profit in 2012, but it will be lower than the $8.7 billion in 2011. Previously Ford had expected to make about the same amount as 2011.

Ford earned $1 billion, or 26 cents per share, in the quarter, down 57 percent from $2.4 billion, or 59 cents, a year earlier. Without one-time items, including the sale of two parts factories, it earned 30 cents. That beat Wall Street's forecast of 28 cents.

Quarterly revenue fell 6 percent to $33.3 billion.

Spain: Spain remained under intense financial pressure Wednesday as investors demanded high rates to lend the government money, while the country's politicians battled to avert a full-blown bailout for the economy.

The yield, or interest rate, on Spain's benchmark ten-year bond spiked 0.11 percentage point to 7.65 percent in the first hour of trading, although it later eased back to 7.45 percent by early afternoon.

A rate above 7 percent is deemed untenable over the long term - Spain has been suffering it for several weeks. Should Madrid find it too expensive to raise money from bond markets at such rates, it would have to ask for an international bailout like those sought by Greece, Ireland or Portugal.

The country's benchmark Ibex 35 stock index was up by nearly 2 percent, recovering only a fraction of the previous three days' heavy losses.

Spain denies it will need financial rescue for its public finances, but many investors now think it's only a matter of time.

U.S. Futures: Futures were mixed Wednesday as investors overlooked a bevy of ugly quarterly earnings on the growing belief that the Federal Reserve will soon step in to revitalize the economy.

Dow Jones industrial futures added 125 points to 12,649 and the broader S&P futures rose 8.8 points to 1,338.30. Tech heavy Nasdaq futures slid 3.75 points at 2,544.75 after surprisingly weak earnings from Apple and Netflix.

Apple shares fell more than 4 percent in premarket trading Wednesday after the company revealed in its earnings report that consumers, leery about what is ahead for the U.S. economy, are buying lower-end versions of iPads and iPhones.

It was Apple's slowest growth in two years and also a rare miss as it fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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