Standard & Poor's scale of credit ratings

AP News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2011 3:47 PM
Standard & Poor's scale of credit ratings

These are Standard & Poor's ratings for debt, and the company's definition for each rating.

Ratings below can have a "plus" or "minus." The U.S. rating was lowered from AAA to AA+.

AAA _ Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.

AA _ Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

A _ Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.

BBB _ Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.

BBB- _ Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.

BB+ _ Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.

BB _ Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.

B _ More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.

CCC _ Currently vulnerable and dependent on favorable business, financial and economic conditions to meet financial commitments.

CC _ Currently highly vulnerable.

C _ Currently highly vulnerable obligations and other defined circumstances.

D _ Payment default on financial commitments.