Drop in fallen angels brings cheer to market

But some sectors—including insurance, media and utilities—are still vulnerable

If investors had any doubts about whether the market has passed the bottom of the credit cycle, the decreasing rate of companies downgraded to speculative grade from investment grade—or so-called fallen angels—should allay any fears. In 2003, 56 companies were cut from investment grade to junk, down from 82 a year earlier, according to a Standard & Poor’s report. And expectations are that this positive trend will continue.

“Looking ahead, the global fallen angel count for 2004 will continue to

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