Saturday, March 22, 2008

Goldman, Lehman outlooks cut to "negative" by Standard & Poor's

Goldman Sachs Group Inc's and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's credit rating outlooks were cut on Friday by Standard & Poor's, which said volatile markets could result in lower profit and revenue.

S&P revised its outlook to "negative" from "stable" on Goldman's "AA-minus" and Lehman's "A-plus" long-term credit ratings, suggesting a possible downgrade in one to two years.

The ratings are S&P's fourth- and fifth-highest investment grades, respectively. Lower credit ratings can result in higher borrowing costs.

Goldman is the largest Wall Street investment bank by market value, and Lehman is the fourth-largest. Goldman did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Lehman spokeswoman Kerrie Cohen declined to comment.

Banks have suffered from lower earnings and share prices as the housing crisis, a slowing economy and worries about credit quality led investors to stop buying a wide range of riskier securities. This has cut into revenue from trading, arranging debt offerings, and advising on mergers.

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