“Believing that the government is now more likely to let large banks fail in a crisis, Moody’s Investors Service threatened on Thursday to downgrade the credit ratings of several big financial firms.
“If it follows through, Moody’s could reduce the ratings of Wall Street giants likeGoldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase as much as two grades.
“Such a move might weigh most heavily on Morgan Stanley because a two-notch downgrade would leave the company just above a junk credit rating. But the effects on the bank may also be muted. Confidence in large banks, judging by their stock prices and other financial indicators, appears to have risen since Moody’s cut their ratings last year.
“Banks, more than other types of corporations, borrow huge sums of money to finance their activities. As a result, a lower credit rating can make it harder for them to find buyers for their debt, pushing up their borrowing costs. A lower rating can also deter trading partners from entering certain types of lucrative transactions with a bank.”
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