June 21 - JPMorgan Chase kept its reputation of being well managed, Morgan Stanley didn't fare as bad as feared, but Credit Suisse’s rating was a shock as Moody's Investors Service cut its credit rating on 15 of the world's biggest banks. Conway G. Gittens reports.
U.S. ratings agency Moody's brought out the ax - cutting debt ratings on 15 large global banks. Moody's cited the firms' exposure to volatile capital markets and the risks of big losses. The downgrade was split into three categories: The first group, including JPMorgan Chase, was seen as being better able to withstand shocks to their balance sheets. The second group was considered to have fewer shock absorbers. Most of the European banks were in that category. The final group, filled mostly with U.S. banks, was seen as being in a weaker position to deal with hits to their balance sheets. The downgrades came after the biggest Wall Street sell-off in three-weeks and may not prompt a big response when markets re-open, says New York Stock Exchange trader Kenneth Polcari. SOUNDBITE: KENNETH POLCARI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ICAP EQUITIES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They've been threatening to do this for two, three months. Moody's, listen, these banks have been downgraded by the other agencies, Moody's is now going to downgrade them. It's been expected. Moody's has threatened that they were going to do it. By now people are almost a little bit immune to the fact that they have been downgraded." But there were a few surprises: the rating for Switzerland's Credit Suisse was knocked three notches lower. Morgan Stanley's rating was not cut as deep as feared, which could give that stock a pop, after losing some 25 percent since Moody's announced its review back in February. Conway Gittens, Reuters