Two Major Credit Agencies Warn on U.S. Debt Rating


US Foreclosures above 1 Million Mark for the First Time since 2010 [CNBC via Reuters] "Banks seized more than a million U.S. homes in one year for the first time last year, despite a slowdown in the last few months as questions around foreclosure processing arose, a leading firm said Thursday. Banks foreclosed on 69,847 properties in December, bringing the year's total to 1.05 million, topping the prior record of 918,000 homes seized in 2009, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said."

Eurozone Interest Rates Remain at 1 Percent, Questions Remain [CNBC via Reuters] "The European Central Bank will face a grilling on its assessment of the euro zone debt crisis and firming price pressures in the bloc after it left interest rates on hold at 1 percent on Thursday. The decision was correctly forecast by all economists polled by Reuters and keeps rates at the record low they have been at since May 2009."

Spanish & Italian Bond Auctions Are Successful [New York Times] "Spain and Italy followed Portugal with strong bond auctions on Thursday, easing immediate concerns about the ability of the euro zone’s weakest members to raise funds to meet their debts. Spain sold €3 billion, or $3.9 billion, of five-year bonds at a yield of 4.54 percent. That was 97 basis points more than the previous auction in November, but market expectations had been for a 130 point jump, according to Reuters. The auction was 2.1 times oversubscribed, compared to 1.6 times last time."

Two Major Credit Agencies Warn on U.S. Debt Rating [Wall Street Journal] "Two leading credit rating agencies on Thursday cautioned the U.S. on its credit rating, expressing concern over a deteriorating fiscal situation that they say needs correction. Moody's Investors Service said in a report Thursday that the U.S. will need to reverse an upward trajectory in the debt ratios to support its triple-A rating."

AIG near Share Sale Agreement with Gov't [Wall Street Journal] "American International Group Inc. said it expects to close an agreement with the U.S. government on Friday, paving the way for share sales that could eventually enable the insurer to end its status as a ward of the state. Preparations for what could be the biggest stock offering in U.S. history officially get under way Thursday, as AIG and government officials audition Wall Street banks for a lead role in what insiders are calling the 're-IPO' of AIG."