Thursday, June 21, 2012

Morgan Stanley down two notches

(Reuters) - Ratings agency Moody's downgraded 15 of the world's biggest banks on Thursday, lowering credit ratings by one to three notches to reflect the risk of losses they face from volatile capital markets activities, but banks criticized the move as backward looking.

Morgan Stanley, one of the most closely watched firms in the much anticipated review, had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, sending its stock up sharply in after-hours trading.

The downgrade left Morgan Stanley more highly rated than Bank of America Corp and Citigroup, but a step below Goldman Sachs Group.

Credit Suisse, which last week was warned about weak capital levels by Switzerland's central bank, was the only bank in the group to suffer a three-notch downgrade. But its new A1 deposit and senior debt ratings still rank higher than many of its peers.

"All of the banks affected by today's actions have significant exposure to the volatility and risk of outsized losses inherent to capital markets activities," Moody's Global Banking Managing Director Greg Bauer said in the announcement. Read More