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OPINION
February 9, 2013
Reader Gary M. Barnbaum, an accountant and management consultant in Woodland Hills, took issue with The Times' editorial Wednesday about the federal and state lawsuits against Standard & Poor's. Although the editorial board welcomed the scrutiny of the credit rating agency's bullish stance on mortgage-backed securities, it noted that "if the bubble hadn't burst, S&P's ratings wouldn't have proved so horribly wrong. " It's one thing to deliberately mislead people, but "simply offering a bad opinion based on poorly drawn assumptions shouldn't be grounds for liability.
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SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
A week-long rally in the stock market carried the Standard & Poor's 500 index to an intraday record Friday morning, the latest indication that investors worry more about missing potential gains than suffering losses. Stocks have been buoyed this week by generally positive economic data that have eased concerns about the potential for interest rates to rise next year. Stocks also have overcome geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia, brushing aside the brinkmanship over the future of Crimea and the Ukraine.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 2012 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
The ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned on Tuesday that it could downgrade California's financial outlook if lawmakers don't pass a credible budget plan this year. A final budget is due June 15, and lawmakers' task has become increasingly difficult as the state's deficit has swelled to nearly $16 billion. "We could change the outlook to negative or lower the rating if we believe the state's credit quality weakens through the budget process," said a report from Standard & Poor's.
BUSINESS
March 11, 2014 | Bloomberg News
McGraw Hill Financial Inc.'s Standard & Poor's unit may be allowed to seek information from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner related to what the company said was a "threatening" call he made to McGraw Hill Chairman Harold W. McGraw III after S&P's downgrade of U.S. debt in 2011. At a hearing Tuesday in Santa Ana, U.S. District Judge David Carter said he's concerned about why Geithner would have made the call to McGraw Hill's chairman three days after the downgrade, other than for it to have a "chilling effect.
SPORTS
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.
SPORTS
February 8, 2013
Re "Is S&P to blame?," Editorial, Feb. 6 Wall Street knew before the financial crisis that highly rated mortgage-backed securities were problematic. According to Michael Lewis' book "The Big Short," everyone close to the situation - including the rating agencies - knew that the mortgages that were bundled into those horrible securities were not just "flawed," they were garbage. Time cannot reduce the smell. And what's this about Standard & Poor's having the freedom to express its opinion?
BUSINESS
March 15, 2012 | By Walter Hamilton
The Dow and the Nasdaq each achieved milestones recently, so it was time for the Standard & Poor's 500 index to follow suit. The index of 500 large U.S. companies closed above 1,400 Thursday for the first time since June 2008, finishing up 8.32 points, or 0.6%, at 1,402.60. The index is up 11.5% this year, but still down 10.4% from its record close in October 2007. It's another sign of investor optimism amid improving economic data. Stock prices were driven up by an encouraging report on first-time jobless claims.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2012 | By William D'Urso
Standard and Poor's rating service put the city of Compton's lease revenue bonds on credit watch with negative implications Friday afternoon because of a lack of response to inquiries and allegations of fraud and "abuse of public moneys. " The city's leave revenue bonds, rated BB, could suffer additional penalties. "Should we fail to receive sufficient independently audited financial information from the city, we could withdraw or suspend the ratings in accordance with our procedures for withdrawal or suspension," S&P said in a release.
BUSINESS
February 9, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
You may have heard last week about a couple of big lawsuits brought by federal and state governments, alleging that the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's concocted a fraudulent scheme that contributed to trillions of dollars in investment losses and the cratering of pretty much the entire world financial system. Those are serious charges, and the federal government's demand for $5 billion in penalties isn't peanuts. Yet there's something bloodless about the lawsuits, for the simple reason that they don't point the finger at any particular person who was responsible for these dastardly doings.
OPINION
April 19, 2011
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's sounded the alarm Monday about persistent federal deficits, saying there was a 1-in-3 chance that it would downgrade U.S. Treasury bonds by 2013 from their current AAA level. Unless President Obama and Congress agree quickly on a meaningful plan to reduce the federal red ink, the agency said, the government could find itself too deep in debt within two years to justify its current, impeccable credit rating. Such a move would force the federal government to pay higher interest rates on the money it borrows, adding billions of dollars to the deficit.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2014 | By Andrew Khouri
Home prices nationally posted their best year since 2005, but signs are growing that the housing rebound has stalled. Prices in the 20 largest metro areas have dropped slightly for two months in a row, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, a leading national home price gauge. Demand is waning because of higher prices and mortgage rates, and home buyers have only modest expectations for price appreciation, said Robert J. Shiller, a Yale economist and co-creator of the index.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2014 | By Shan Li
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor known as the Oracle of Omaha, may miss his investing goal for the first time in more than four decades. The chairman and chief executive of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway might soon disclose his Omaha company failed over the last five years to boost its net worth more quickly than the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, Bloomberg reported. That five-year comparison has been used by Buffett to demonstrate his company's performance over time. PHOTOS: Richest and poorest cities in America When considered on an annual basis, the company has already failed nine times to show a percentage increase in book value that was greater than the S&P percentage gain.
SPORTS
December 11, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- In a dramatic rebound from its bungled initial public offering last year, Facebook Inc. will join the Standard & Poor's 500 Index next week, capping its fitful rise to one of the nation's most powerful technology companies. Facebook will replace Teradyne in the S&P 500 at the close of trading Dec. 20, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Wednesday. It will also join the S&P 100 Index, replacing Williams Cos. Being friended by the index is a vote of confidence in the giant social network and means Facebook can now count on a solid base of shareholders from funds that follow the indexes.
BUSINESS
October 29, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton and Tiffany Hsu
It didn't matter that consumer confidence slumped or that retail sales were weak. The stock market barreled to new highs anyway. The nation's two closely watched stock barometers - the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index - hit new all-time highs Tuesday. Investors shrugged off disappointing economic data ahead of the holiday shopping season. The Dow jumped 111.42 points, or 0.7%, to 15,680.35. The S&P 500 climbed 9.84 points, or 0.6%, to 1,771.95.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Standard & Poor's said Monday that the current impasse over funding the federal government and raising the debt limit probably would not lead to another downgrade of the U.S. credit rating -- as long as the stalemate didn't last long. But a failure to raise the nation's borrowing ceiling in time to avoid a first-ever federal government default would cause S&P to reassess its AA+ rating for the U.S., the company said in a report. The Treasury Department has said the debt limit must be raised by Oct. 17 or the nation risks not having enough money to pay its bills on any given day. S&P, one of the three leading credit-rating firms, downgraded the U.S. credit rating in 2011 after a last-minute deal ended a bitter stalemate over raising the debt limit.
BUSINESS
September 6, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Everybody wants to see the perpetrators of the financial crisis punished, but you have to feel a little sorry for Standard & Poor's, the credit rating firm being sued by the federal government for its role in the disaster. S&P clearly has its back to the wall in this case. We can conclude this from the desperate defense it raised in court last week: that federal prosecutors have their knives out for S&P in "retaliation" for its downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating in August 2011.
BUSINESS
February 5, 2013 | By Alejandro Lazo
California has filed suit against Wall Street's biggest credit rating agency, Standard & Poor's, charging the firm with violating the state's False Claims Act by using “magic numbers” and “guesses” to inflate ratings that ultimately cost California public pension funds an estimated $1 billion. The action was filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court and came a day after federal prosecutors filed suit against the bond-rating agency, alleging that S&P gave top marks to troubled mortgage-backed securities that later failed, helping to trigger the financial crisis.
SPORTS
August 23, 2011 | Bloomberg News
Standard & Poor's, the ratings company that downgraded the U.S. AAA credit ranking for the first time, will replace President Deven Sharma with Citibank North America Chief Operating Officer Douglas Peterson. Sharma, 55, will leave at the end of the year to "pursue other opportunities," S&P's parent McGraw-Hill Cos. said late Monday. Peterson, 53, will take over Sept. 12 and Sharma will work on the company's strategic review. S&P's Aug. 5 decision to reduce the U.S. credit rating to AA+ roiled global markets and boosted demand for Treasuries, sending the yield on the 10-year note, the benchmark for home mortgages and car loans, to a record low 2.03 percent.
BUSINESS
August 31, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton
The stock market finished its worst month in more than a year, with the specter of military action in Syria and reduced stimulus from the Federal Reserve weighing on share prices. The Dow Jones industrial average and other major indexes suffered their biggest declines since May 2012 as investors stepped away from the powerful yearlong rally. The Dow dropped 4.4% in August, while the Standard & Poor's 500 gave up 3.1%. Stocks have a lot going their way. The U.S. economy expanded at a stronger-than-expected 2.5% clip in the second quarter.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- A Wall Street ratings agency gave California's new spending plan a thumbs up on Monday while also expressing concerns about the state's debt and its politicized budget process. Gov. Jerry Brown reached a budget deal with Democratic lawmakers by reducing debt repayments and tweaking his tax estimates to make room for more spending on social services and other programs.  "By enacting even small new ongoing spending commitments this year . . . we detect a softening of resolve when it comes to paying down the internal debts," said the report from the ratings agency Standard & Poor's.  The agency said it will be watching closely to see what the state does with any extra tax revenue generated over the next year.  The final budget, which takes effect Monday, is somewhat weaker than the proposal Brown released in May, according to Standard & Poor's.
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