Mixed signals


For example, at the end of November, Standard & Poor’s rolling 12-month US speculative-grade default rate had tumbled to 7.84%, while its EU counterpart had declined to 12.95%. The previous month, they were 8.38% and 13.19% respectively.

On the other hand, investment-grade defaults were up slightly in both regions for the same period. Similarly, S&P predicts that in 2002 the US speculative-grade default rate will have declined to 7–7.5%, from 9.77% in 2001. However, US investment-grade defaults

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