TEXT-S&P: U.S. natural resources sectors on different tracks

Mon Oct 8, 2012 3:29pm EDT

Oct 8 - Standard & Poor's today published its U.S. natural resources report
card, titled "U.S. Natural Resources Split As Housing Boosts Building Products
Companies While A Tough Market Puts Coal Miners Deeper In The Hole," which
states that the baseline outlook is predominantly stable for the U.S. natural
resources sector for the balance of 2012 and for 2013. "We hold this view
against a backdrop of a recovering U.S. housing market, weak domestic economic
growth, and heightened economic uncertainty abroad," said Standard & Poor's
credit analyst James Fielding.

We expect most ratings to hold steady through 2013. However, companies that 
currently maintain negative rating outlooks outnumber those that have positive 
outlooks by 3 to 1, highlighting the potential for downgrades to outnumber 
upgrades over the coming year. We believe many coal producers and a few metals 
companies face difficult industry conditions that are likely to undermine 
their credit quality over the next several months. 

The article goes on to explain that Standard & Poor's economists believe that 
the poor labor market is keeping the recovery in low gear, that coal producers 
and certain other metals and mining companies are not on the right track, that 
forest products companies should continue to chug along slow and steady in 
2013, and that there's light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. building 
materials companies.


The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit 
Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect 
subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 
or sending an e-mail to research_request@standardandpoors.com. Ratings 
information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using 
the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.
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