Fitch warns it may lower U.S. credit rating

Fitch has placed its “AAA” U.S. credit rating on “rating watch negative,” a step that would precede an actual downgrade. The agency said it expects to conclude its review within the next six months. The firm says it expects the debt limit will be raised soon, but adds, “the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default.” Continue reading

US default risk is real, Washington warns Wall Street

Money lenders trust America so implicitly that they generally dismiss the risk it won’t pay its debts. But in the US capital, fears are growing that political dysfunction might trigger the unthinkable.

A few years ago one would have said, ‘Don’t be silly. Of course they will raise the debt ceiling.’ But one can’t say that any more.  

Government veterans from both political parties are aghast that lawmakers openly speak of managing a default that could be triggered next month if they don’t authorise more borrowing. Continue reading

Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why

Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.

Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods. Continue reading

US Faces Credit Rating Downgrade By Three Top Firms This Year

In the fiscal cliff negotiations, Obama held the line against entitlement reform, but the resulting deal could lead to downgrades by all three top debt ratings agencies later this year.

When Standard and Poor’s cut the United States debt rating last year, the agency issued a press release outlining the reasons behind their historic decision. Amid criticism of partisan brinksmanship there was a bottom line which had to do with entitlements,

The [2011 debt] plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability. Continue reading

Spanish unemployment hits record 5.64 million

Believe that’s bad? America itself is not far off. In the United States we’re looking at 14.5% total unemployment. This also doesn’t account for “99%’ers” and various other factors after a revision of what statistics are taken into account.

The number of unemployed people reached 5,639,500 at the end of March, with the unemployment rate hitting 24.4%, the national statistics agency said.

The figures came hours after rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spanish sovereign debt.

Full article: Spanish unemployment hits record 5.64 million (BBC News)