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May 07, 2003|From Reuters

Tobacco-settlement municipal bonds issued by states including California were downgraded Tuesday by Fitch Ratings to just above junk status. Fitch said it lowered the ratings on $18 billion of tobacco bonds to BBB or BBB-minus, from A-minus or BBB-plus, because of concerns about "financial stress" at major cigarette companies. The move followed Fitch's credit downgrade of the tobacco companies' own debts. An investment-grade bond rating is BBB or higher; a rating of BB or lower is a non-investment-grade, or junk, rating.

From Reuters

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