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A Ford logo on a vehicle at the Pittsburgh Auto Show.

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Ford Motor Co. could be close to getting junked again.

That’s what the bond market is saying. The company’s debt is trading like it’s speculative grade, as investors worry about how higher steel tariffs and slowing sales will weigh on its profits. Ford is rated one step above junk by Moody’s Investors Service and two steps by S&P Global Ratings.

Any downgrade could be painful for bond investors, and for the company. The automaker has more than $150 billion of short- and long-term debt globally, and is one of the 15 biggest corporate bond issuers in the U.S. outside the financial sector. Hedge funds turned in their worst monthly performance in nearly three years in the first part of 2005, when Ford was cut to junk along with GM.

Bob Shanks, Ford’s chief financial officer, said on an earnings call last month that the company is committed to maintaining its investment-grade ratings,.

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