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TEXT-S&P: U.S. natural resources sectors on different tracks

Oct 8 - Standard & Poor's today published its U.S. natural resources report card, titled "U.S. Natural Resources Split As Housing Boosts Building Products Companies While A Tough Market Puts Coal Miners Deeper In The Hole," which states that the baseline outlook is predominantly stable for the U.S. natural resources sector for the balance of 2012 and for 2013. "We hold this view against a backdrop of a recovering U.S. housing market, weak domestic economic growth, and heightened economic uncertainty abroad," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst James Fielding.

We expect most ratings to hold steady through 2013. However, companies that currently maintain negative rating outlooks outnumber those that have positive outlooks by 3 to 1, highlighting the potential for downgrades to outnumber upgrades over the coming year. We believe many coal producers and a few metals companies face difficult industry conditions that are likely to undermine their credit quality over the next several months.

The article goes on to explain that Standard & Poor's economists believe that the poor labor market is keeping the recovery in low gear, that coal producers and certain other metals and mining companies are not on the right track, that forest products companies should continue to chug along slow and steady in 2013, and that there's light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. building materials companies.

The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at

. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to research_request@standardandpoors.com. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at

. (New York Ratings Team)

((e-mail: pam.niimi@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: pam.niimi.reuters.com@reuters.net; Tel:1-646-223-6330;))