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Moody’s Bottom (Restaurant and Retail) Rung

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- bcbgMoody’s on Tuesday published its “U.S. Bottom Rung,” a list of┬ácompanies that the corporate credit ratings agency thinks are at the most risk of defaulting on their debt. There are 283 companies on the list, which is current as of March 1, including the names of some beloved restaurants, retailers and food companies.

Why do this? The Wall Street Journal offers some possibilities:

“Sounds like Moody’s may be trying to get out in front on defaults, given they were perhaps a little behind on subprime mortgages and commercial mortgage-backed securities,” said David Resnick, managing director at investment banking firm Rothschild Inc. which works on many corporate bankruptcies and restructurings.

Moody’s and credit-rating rival Standard & Poor’s were criticized by the Senate in hearings late last year about the effectiveness of the ratings agencies.

The Journal also says Moody’s enters risky territory by naming some companies that say they are in, as the paper put it, decent fiscal health.

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