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Moody's Investor Service, the rating unit of Moody’s Corp. (MCO - Analyst Report) has placed on review the ratings of 17 banks and securities firms, which have global capital markets operations, for possible downgrades. The rating agency believes that their current ratings fail to encapsulate the full impact of the ongoing challenges of the global economy.
The rating agency is reviewing the long-term ratings and standalone credit assessments of a number of U.S. banks. These include Bank of America Corp. (BAC - Analyst Report), Citigroup Inc. (C - Analyst Report), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS - Analyst Report), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM - Analyst Report) and Morgan Stanley (MS - Analyst Report). Moreover, the long-term ratings and standalone credit assessments of Royal Bank of Canada (RY) is also placed on review.
Among the European banks placed on review are Credit Suisse Group AG (CS - Snapshot Report), HSBC Holdings Plc. (HBC), UBS AG (UBS - Analyst Report), Deutsche Bank AG (DB - Snapshot Report), Barclays Plc. (BCS - Snapshot Report), BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole S.A., Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Societe Generale.
According to the rating agency, the operating environment of these banks and securities firms has become all the more difficult. Funding conditions have become weak while regulatory burdens have increased.
Notably, the rating agency is also separately reviewing the European-based banks and securities firms. As a result of the Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis and the financial institutions’ susceptibility to it, the rating agency has placed 114 financial institutions in 16 European countries on review for possible downgrades.
Earlier this week, the debt ratings of Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta were lowered by a notch by the rating agency while Spain’s sovereign rating was downgraded by two notches. France, the United Kingdom and Austria were also placed on a negative ratings watch by the agency.
We believe that such news will put pressure on the euro. The financial crisis and the economic slowdown in the U.S. were the major deterrents to growth prospects of these global banks.
While several initiatives have been put in place in the last couple of years to revive the U.S. economy, the recent Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis have added to the woes of these global banks. In light of such challenging conditions, we believe that share prices of these global banks will be volatile in the near term.
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