Banking & Finance

S&P Knocks the Banks, Again (LEH, MER, MS, BAC, JPM, C, WB)

Douglas A. McIntyre

Standard & Poor’s has come out with a report that is actually weighing down on the entire market even though it is sector specific.  The ratings agency has cut ratings on several major brokers today from to ‘A/A-1’ from ‘A+/A-1’ and has issues a “negative outlook” on the following:

  • Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH)
  • Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER)
  • Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS)

S&P also went out on money center banks as well with the following note:

  • It revised its outlooks on Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) to negative.
  • It affirmed its ratings on Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), removed the ratings from CreditWatch negative, and assigned a negative outlook.

There is a more interesting call on this though.  It has also downgraded the COUNTERPARTY CREDIT ratings of all of those except for Citigroup, and it lowered counterparty credit ratings of Wachovia Corp. (NYSE: WB).

As a reminder, we’d note that even while this is a market moving event it is also an after-the-fact event.  If you have followed the independent ratings agency follies over the last year and longer, they haven’t exactly been on top of their game.

Jon C. Ogg
June 2, 2008