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Moodys long-term credit risk ratings: bonds and preferred shares
Bonds and preferred shares rated Aaa are considered to be the best quality. They have the lowest degree of investment risk and are generally called "low risk". Interest payments are protected by a high or exceptionally stable margin, and the principal is safe. Although it is likely that the different insurance elements will change, it is very unlikely that the changes will damage the fundamentally strong position of these issues.
The bonds and preferred shares with the Aa rating are considered high quality, according to all standards. Along with the ratings of the Aaa group, they comprise what is generally known as high quality bonds. They have a lower rating than other bonds, since the protection margins may not be as high as those of the Aaa rating, or that the protective elements have a greater fluctuation, or that there are other elements that make the risk Long-term bonds rated Aa are higher than those rated Aaa.
Bonds and preferred shares rated A have many favorable investment attributes and are considered upper-middle quality obligations. The factors that ensure the principal and interest are considered adequate, but there may be elements that suggest the possibility of default at some future time.
The bonds and preferred shares with the Baa rating are considered as medium-grade obligations (that is, they are not highly protected, but neither can they be considered to have scarce guarantees). Interest payments and principal security appear to be adequate at present, but may lack certain protective elements or may be unstable in the long term. These bonds lack outstanding investment characteristics and, in fact, are also speculative in nature.
It is considered that bonds and preferred shares with the Ba rating have elements of a speculative nature; Your future can not be considered well guaranteed. Often, the protection of the principal's interests and payments can be very moderate and, therefore, not be well protected in both good and bad times in the future. The uncertainty in the position is what characterizes the bonds of this class.
In general, bonds and preferred shares with the B rating lack the characteristics that would be desirable in an investment. Guarantee of interest and principal or maintenance payments of other contract terms during any long period of time may be insufficient.
The bonds and preferred shares with the Caa rating have a low duration. These issues can be made in the absence of a better option or there may be elements of danger related to the principal or interests.
The bonds and preferred shares with the qualification Ca represent obligations that have a high speculative degree. Often, these emissions are made in the absence of a better option or have other marked deficiencies.
Bonds and preferred shares of type C are those with the lowest rating. These issuances are considered to have extremely poor prospects of achieving any real investment position.
Moodys applies numerical modifiers 1, 2 and 3 in each generic rating from Aa to Caa. Modifier 1 indicates that the obligation has a rating that is in the upper part of the generic rating category; modifier 2 indicates that it has an average rating; and modifier 3 indicates that it appears in the lower part of its respective category.
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