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Fun With Bloomberg


I always like to watch what ratings agencies like Fitch, Moody's, etc. are saying and doing. They are a dispassionate group of folks. And analyzing debt rather than equity makes it easier to be rationale about the financial analysis that goes into their ratings and outlooks.

So when I saw the Fitch downgrades AT&T long term outlook headline cross my tape this AM, I thought I'd give the press release a read-through. Here's the second paragraph (italics mine):

"Fitch's rating action reflects the performance of AT&T's economically sensitive Business Services segment, which is expected to generate the vast majority of cash flow on a going forward basis. Fitch expects this segment's operational performance to be negatively affected by the lack of an economic recovery in business enterprise spending. Fitch expects that business enterprises will continue to groom their data and IP networks to mirror the current business cycle and headcount and facility reductions. Fitch does not expect a rebound of IT spending to occur until well into 2004, which when coupled with pricing pressures and increased competition will affect AT&T Business Service's ability to return to a revenue growth environment in the near term."

Maybe this is an AT&T thing, I thought. So I searched all long term ratings changes from the beginning of the year from Fitch on my Bloomberg. 393 positive long term ratings changes since January. 768 negative ratings changes in the same time. Roughly 2 to 1 ratio. Just some food for thought as you attempt to understand the risks involved in the financial markets. How you play it (tight stops, profit taking on the long side, whatever), is up to you. But please be aware, no matter what your position sheets have on, of the landscape.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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