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January 13, 2012 | By W.J. Hennigan
Standard & Poor's is set to downgrade the credit ratings of France and other Eurozone countries, France's finance minister confirmed Friday. France, which is Europe's second-largest economy behind Germany, will be lowered one notch to AA-plus from its previous stellar AAA rating. France will then have the same credit rating as the U.S., which was downgraded by S&P in August . Standard & Poor's plan, announced late Friday afternoon on French television by the nation's finance minister, Francois Baroin, was somewhat expected since S&P warned in December that it might cut the ratings.
December 5, 2011 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
Standard & Poor's said its long-term ratings for nearly all countries in the Eurozone, including economic powerhouse Germany, were at risk of downgrade because of the ongoing debt crisis. The ratings company said Monday that it put the sovereign debt of 15 nations on a negative credit watch because "systemic stresses" have risen to the point that they are putting "downward pressure" on the region as a whole. Among the reasons were tightening credit, continued disagreements among policymakers about how to handle the crisis, a "rising risk" of a recession in the region in 2012 and high levels of government and household debt.
November 29, 2011 | David Lazarus
Howard Cohen has received dozens of calls from "Rachel" at "card member services. " At first he thought they must be from his credit card issuer. Now he knows better. "It's a scam," Cohen, 67, of Fontana told me. "All they want is to get you into some new credit card with a higher interest rate - or worse. " The "worse" in this case is possibly having your identity stolen and bogus charges run up on your plastic. The Web is dripping with complaints from consumers nationwide about the "Rachel" calls.
November 12, 2011 | Tom Petruno, Market Beat
It's wrong to take comfort in the suffering of others. But for millions of Americans who've sought refuge in bond investments since 2008, it's hard not to be appreciative of Europe's grinding financial crisis. The threat of a meltdown across the Atlantic has kept money pouring into high-quality U.S. bonds, particularly Treasury issues, as a haven. That has held interest rates near generational lows since early August, in turn boosting the value of older bonds issued at higher rates.
November 11, 2011 | By Tom Petruno, Los Angeles Times
The Eurozone's debt crisis eased a bit Thursday as Italian government bond yields pulled back from 14-year highs. That allowed U.S. and European stock markets to stabilize after Wednesday's slump. Markets also looked past a sharp jump in French bond yields that was fueled by an apparently erroneous report that Standard & Poor's had cut France's AAA credit rating. S&P said the report was a mistake. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 112.92 points, or nearly 1%, to 11,893.86, recouping less than a third of its 389-point drop in the previous session.
November 8, 2011 | By Tom Petruno and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
With their stock prices struggling despite strong profit growth, more big-name companies are trying to set an example for investors: They're channeling cash into buybacks of their own shares. That strategy lit a fire under the stock of Thousand Oaks biotech giant Amgen Inc. on Monday, after the company launched a plan to buy back up to $5 billion of its shares — about 10% of the total outstanding — over the next month. Amgen shares jumped $3.26, or 5.9%, to $58.43 in the biggest one-day gain in 17 months.
October 22, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Ford Motor Co. is knocking on the door of an investment-grade corporate credit rating, which would help slice the automaker's borrowing costs. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit rating on Ford Motor Co. and Ford Motor Credit Co., the automaker's lending arm, to BB+ from BB-. That puts the company just one notch below an investment-grade rating, which is an important measure of corporate health and would reduce the automaker's...
September 29, 2011 | Reuters
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's raised its corporate credit rating on General Motors Co by two notches Thursday, saying the automaker's new labor contract would allow for continued profitability and cash generation in North America. The ratings service revised upward its credit rating on GM to BB+ from BB- and also raised its rating outlook to "stable" from "positive. " The upgrade comes a day after the United Auto Workers union ratified a new four-year labor contract with GM, the first such deal for the top U.S. automaker since its 2009 bankruptcy.
September 23, 2011 | By Michael Muskal
Texas Gov. Rick Perry told Florida conservatives what they wanted to hear on Friday, as the front-runner tried to reassert himself in the battle for the Republican nomination. The day after Perry had a less than stellar performance at the Fox News/Google GOP presidential debate in Orlando, Fla., he returned to familiar ground, tossing conservatives the kind of red meat on which they feasted.   Perry attacked his leading rival, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Obama administration, government regulation, taxes and even $16 muffins as he preached to what should be a core group supporting his presidential bid. He even got in a dig against former President Bill Clinton.
September 21, 2011 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
Moody's Investors Service has cut the credit ratings of three major U.S. banks, saying that Washington is less likely to bail out big U.S. financial companies if another financial crisis were to hit Wall Street. The rating company Wednesday downgraded the long-term credit ratings of Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. and bumped down Citigroup Inc.'s short-term credit rating, citing "a decrease in the probability that the U.S. government would support" them in future financial crises.
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