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Standard and Poor's

From Academic Kids

The Standard and Poor's Corporation (S&P), a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill, is a company that performs financial research and analysis on stocks and debt instruments. It is one of the top three players in this business. The other two are Moody's and A. M. Best. It is best known for its US-based S&P 500 and the Australian S&P 200 stock market index.

Contents

Credit Rating

The company ranks the credit-worthiness of borrowers using a standardized ratings scale.

The basic ratings are:

Investment Grade

  • AAA - the best quality companies, reliable and stable
  • AA - quality companies, a bit higher risk than AAA
  • A - economic situation can affect finance
  • BBB - medium class companies, which are satisfactory at the moment

Non-Investment Grade (also known as junk bonds)

  • BB - more prone to changes in the economy
  • B - financial situation varies noticeably
  • CCC - currently vulnerable and dependent on favorable economic conditions to meet its commitments
  • CC - highly vulnerable, very speculative bonds
  • C - highly vulnerable, perhaps in bankruptcy or in arrears but still continuing to pay out on obligations
  • CI - past due on interest
  • R - under regulatory supervision due to its financial situation
  • SD - has selectively defaulted on some obligations
  • D - has defaulted on obligations and S&P believes that it will generally default on most or all obligations
  • NR - not rated

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