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Morning Market Roundup: Freddie Mac Posts $1.2B Income, Italy Contracts 4th Straight Quarter

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

Freddie Mac: Government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac posted net income of $1.2 billion for the second quarter and isn't requesting any additional federal aid for the period.

The government rescued Freddie and larger sibling Fannie Mae in September 2008 after massive losses on risky mortgages threatened to topple them.

Taxpayers have spent about $170 billion to rescue Fannie and Freddie, the costliest bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. It could cost about $200 billion more to support the companies through 2014 after subtracting dividend payments, according to the government.

This is the fifth quarter in which Freddie hasn't requested new federal aid since it was taken over in September 2008.

Italy: Italy's recession deepened in the April-June period, when the economy shrank for the fourth quarter in a row, official government statistics showed Tuesday.

The economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, more than the 0.6 percent drop expected by economists surveyed by FactSet, a financial data provider.

The ISTAT statistics agency said activity fell in all sectors - industry, services and agriculture.

The government, which is trying to reduce debt, has made spending cuts and tax increases that are hurting businesses and households. Fear that Italy will need a sovereign bailout if its borrowing rates rise further has created economic uncertainty.

Analysts at UniCredit bank, which had expected only a 0.5 percent drop in GDP, said it was premature to change their projection for a 1.9 percent annual contraction in the economy, even though business surveys are showing no improvements are likely in the third quarter.

Germany: Industrial orders in Germany fell by an unexpectedly large 1.7 percent in June from the previous month, led by a slide in orders from other countries that use the euro, official data showed Tuesday. However, the Economy Ministry said recent figures show no "clear trend."

The drop in the often-volatile index followed a 0.7 percent monthly increase in May. That was revised upward slightly from the initial reading of 0.6 percent.

It was also stronger than the 0.8 percent slide economists had predicted.

The biggest cause of the decline was a 4.9 percent fall in orders from other nations in the 17-nation eurozone - partly reversing a large gain the previous month. Domestic demand also dropped in June, with orders falling 2.1 percent, but demand from countries outside the eurozone edged up 0.6 percent.

U.S. Stocks: Stocks are trading higher on Wall Street as investors turn their focus to U.S. corporations that are reporting healthier results than analysts had expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48 points to 13,166 shortly after the opening bell on Tuesday.

The broader S&P 500 index rose 8 points to 1,402. It was the first time the index traded above 1,400 since May 3.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 15 points to 3,006.

Of the 407 companies in S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Monday, 65 percent beat Wall Street expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ. More than 40 percent have reported double-digit growth.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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