July 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The shrinking budget deficit and improving economy has led Moody's Investor Services to affirm the nation's AAA credit rating and upgrade the outlook for government debt to stable from a negative watch that could have led to a downgrade. But Moody's warned that failure to address the long-term budget deficit "could put the rating again under pressure" down the road. For the short term, however, the tax increases and automatic federal spending cuts that began this year have helped cause a "steep decline" in the budget deficit that warranted removing the negative outlook, Moody's said.
July 2, 2013 |
Tribune Co. went a full six months with unblemished credit. But its plan to buy 19 television stations is casting a shadow over the media conglomerate's credit rating. Standard & Poor's Corp. said Tuesday that Tribune's $2.7-billion deal for Local TV Holdings has “negative implications” for its credit. That's not a credit downgrade. But it signals an increased risk that Tribune's BB- rating could be cut. S&P cited the “meaningful increase in leverage” that Tribune is taking on to fund the Local TV purchase.
June 19, 2013 |
It almost seems like distant history now, but it was really just a few short months ago that President Obama and Senate Republicans, spurred by fear of fiscal chaos, did the unthinkable: They went out to dinner and talked civilly about the possibility of a "grand bargain," a compromise that would shrink the deficit through revenue increases and long-term spending cuts. But since that hopeful first date, the relationship hasn't quite blossomed into romance - or even into real negotiations.
June 10, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Standard & Poor's, which downgraded the U.S. credit rating nearly two years ago, said Monday it was more optimistic about the nation's long-term fiscal situation and had removed the negative outlook from the rating. The automatic federal spending cuts that began March 1 and other recent developments that led to a reduction in this year's projected federal budget deficit caused S&P to change the outlook for the U.S. rating to stable. S&P analysts also said they did not see signs that partisanship in Washington on fisical issues had become worse and were encouraged by the last-minute deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of 2012.
February 6, 2013
Federal and state prosecutors sued the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's this week for allegedly defrauding investors by giving inflated ratings to complex mortgage-backed securities that proved all but worthless after the housing bubble burst. The cases raise difficult questions about the freedom to express an opinion without being held liable if it's wrong. Nevertheless, it's worth exploring whether S&P and its rivals deliberately soft-pedaled how risky those securities were in order to boost their bottom lines.
February 6, 2013 |
As the housing bubble was bursting in 2007, an analyst at credit rating firm Standard & Poor's made light of the situation with a song. He went from office to office serenading co-workers with his ode to America's deepening real estate crisis. "Strong market is now much weaker, subprime is boi-ling o-ver, bringing down the house," the analyst sang to the tune of the Talking Head's "Burning Down the House. " The scene was among the details - some meant to be embarrassing - released in government lawsuits against the world's biggest credit rating firm.
January 15, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As Congress again veers close to the nation's debt limit, a leading credit rating company is delivering a stark warning: Don't wait until the last minute. Fitch Ratings said Tuesday that the U.S. could lose its AAA credit rating if lawmakers don't raise the $16.4-trillion debt limit in a "timely manner" as a possible default looms as early as mid-February. Congressional Republicans want major government spending cuts in exchange for another debt-limit increase. But Fitch, one of three major credit-rating companies, said the debt limit should not be used as leverage.
November 16, 2012 |
Credit-rating companies in the United States are beset by shortcomings, failing to act quickly enough to issue downgrades and not properly documenting ratings decisions, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a report. The SEC said Thursday that the country's largest credit-rating firms — Standard & Poor's Corp., Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings — did not follow their own policies in issuing ratings and failed to accurately document their decisions. This was the second report the SEC has issued about ratings firms, a responsibility the agency inherited under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. The report evaluated the performance of rating companies from August 2010 through September 2011.
September 12, 2012
In case anyone had forgotten, Moody's Investors Service issued a stark reminder Tuesday that the federal government is speeding headlong toward a political and financial cliff. On Jan. 1, a number of temporary tax cuts are due to expire just as new spending restraints kick in, pulling hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy and potentially triggering another recession. At the same time, Washington is expected to reach the limit of its borrowing authority, necessitating another increase in its debt limit.