A look at debt ratings of S&P, Moody's and Fitch

AP News
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Posted: Apr 18, 2011 5:58 PM
A look at debt ratings of S&P, Moody's and Fitch

These are the ratings used by the three major rating agencies _ Standard & Poor's Corp., Moody's Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Inc. _ for debt issued by governments, corporations and other borrowers around the world.

Standard & Poor's

AAA The highest quality

AA Very strong ability to make payments

A Strong ability to make payments but somewhat susceptible to weaker conditions

BBB Adequate ability to make payments

BB Speculative grade, "junk" status

B Currently has ability to make payments but vulnerable to weaker conditions

CCC Currently vulnerable to missing a payment, needs favorable conditions to continue making payments

CC Currently highly vulnerable to missing a payment

C Currently highly vulnerable to missing a payment, or missed a payment in a way allowed by the debt's terms

D In default

Moody's

Aaa The highest quality

Aa High quality, very low credit risk

A Upper medium grade

Baa Medium grade

Ba Speculative grade, "junk" status

B High credit risk

Caa Very high credit risk

Ca Likely in or very near default, with some prospect of recovering investment

C Typically in default, with little prospect of recovering investment

Fitch

AAA The highest quality

AA Very high quality, not significantly vulnerable to anything foreseeable

A High quality

BBB Good quality but weak conditions could hurt its ability to make payments

BB Speculative grade, "junk" status

B Highly speculative

CCC Default is a real possibility

CC Default looks probable

C Default is imminent or inevitable