The global, financial time bomb continues to tick as today, Standard and Poor‘s adjusted the credit ratings of several big banks after applying new criteria to the world’s 37 largest financial institutions.
Ratings for Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley dropped one notch….from “A” to “A-”. S&P maintained a “negative” outlook on those companies.
Wells Fargo was cut one level from AA- to A+ and also has a “negative” outlook.
The JPMorgan Chase rating was dropped from A+ to A, but the bank still has a “stable” outlook.
Not surprisingly, shares of the major banks were lower in after-hours trading. Bank of America’s stock edged down 0.8 percent after closing during regular trading at $5.08 cents…its lowest level since March 2009.
The carnage wasn’t limited to the U.S. Foreign banks also suffered downgrades, including the likes of London-based Barclays and HSBC, along with Swiss bank UBS.
S&P’s new ratings system, which was announced earlier this month, now evaluates the credit worthiness of banks based on economic and industry risks, bank-specific strengths and weaknesses, as well as “likelihood of external government or group support.”
Last week, the Federal Reserve ordered the top 31 banks in the U.S. (those with assets of at least $50 billion) to undergo new stress tests that would evaluate how they would fare in another financial crisis.