Moody's warns of 'severe default cycle'

Weak consumer spending in the US means 283 companies are now at high risk of default, rating agency Moody's has warned. In its quarterly 'Bottom Rung' list, published on March 6, the agency said there is "ample evidence of a severe default cycle". More than 23% of all US speculative grade companies are on the list, compared with 9% two years ago. As recently as early 2007, there were only 158 companies on the list, it added. In the last three months alone, only 24 companies have left the list

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