France Downgrade - What Must You Know?
As if the fiscal cliff isn't enough to make investors sick with worry, the financial woes of Europe reared up again.
Late Monday, Moody's Investors Service strippedFrance of its prized triple-A credit rating on Tuesday.
Specifically, Moody's lowered France's sovereign rating by one notch to Aa1 from Aaa, citing the country's "deteriorating" economic prospects and the consequent risk to government finances. The ratings agency kept its negative outlook on the country. Read More: France Is Dealt Another Downgrade — Who Is Next?
Standard and Poor's, which downgraded France by one notch in January, has an AA-plus rating and a negative outlook on the country. Fitch Ratings has a triple-A rating for the country, but with a negative outlook.
If you're an individual investor – what does it mean for you?
According to Mad Money host Jim Cramer – not a lot. Although similar downgrades last year sent panicked investors running for the exits, the Mad Money host doesn't expect that kind of reaction, going forward.
In fact, global markets yawned, he explained on Tuesday's broadcast.
Cramer takes the market's indifference as a sign that downgrades of sovereign debt just don't resonate any more.
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- Many of the institutions that were teetering last year at this time have raised a lot of capital as genuine firewalls against these events.
- Ratings agencies don't have the clout they used to.
- A lot of the U.S. companies have drastically cut their exposure to Europe.
- The sheer length of time that this crisis has unfolded has made it so people are ready for pretty much anything.
"A lot of conventional wisdom has been stood on its head here lately," said Cramer.
What's the bottom line?
"France may get downgraded yet again, but if it does, it won't pull down the US stock market. Our companies have had a chance to see it coming and they have taken action," Cramer concluded.
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