TEXT-S&P speculative-grade composite spread widens

Wed Jan 9, 2013 12:23pm EST

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Jan 9 - Standard & Poor's investment-grade composite spread remained flat at
178 basis points (bps) yesterday, and the speculative-grade composite spread
widened by 1 bp to 537 bps. By rating, the 'AA', 'A', and 'BBB' spreads remained
flat at 122 bps, 150 bps, and 213 bps, respectively. The 'BB' spread contracted
by 2 bps to 358 bps, the 'B' spread expanded by 2 bps to 561 bps, and the 'CCC'
spread remained flat at 893 bps.

By industry, utilities remained flat at 184 bps, and financial institutions, 
banks, and industrials contracted by 1 bp each to 236 bps, 225 bps, and 245 
bps, respectively. Telecommunications widened by 1 bp to 267 bps. 

The investment-grade composite spread is lower than both its one-year moving 
average of 202 bps and its five-year moving average of 247 bps. The 
speculative-grade composite spread is lower than both its one-year moving 
average of 639 bps and its five-year moving average of 759 bps. We expect 
continued volatility in the near term, especially in the speculative-grade 
segment, which could result from both positive and negative factors. On the 
positive side, we expect U.S. corporate defaults to remain below the long-term 
average in the short term. On the negative side, an increase in volatility in 
the financial markets, influenced by weakening economic conditions, could 
continue to weigh on risky assets.

Standard & Poor's, a part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:MHP), is the 
world's foremost provider of credit ratings. With offices in 23 countries, 
Standard & Poor's is an important part of the world's financial infrastructure 
and has played a leading role for 150 years in providing investors with 
information and independent benchmarks for their investment and financial 
decisions.
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