Standard & Poor’s scale of credit ratings

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These are Standard & Poor’s ratings for debt, and the company’s definition for each rating.

Ratings below can have a “plus” or “minus.” The U.S. rating was lowered from AAA to AA+.

AAA ? Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments. Highest Rating.

AA ? Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

A ? Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.

BBB ? Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.

BBB- ? Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.

BB+ ? Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.

BB ? Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.

B ? More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.

CCC ? Currently vulnerable and dependent on favorable business, financial and economic conditions to meet financial commitments.

CC ? Currently highly vulnerable.

C ? Currently highly vulnerable obligations and other defined circumstances.

D ? Payment default on financial commitments.