Standard & Poor's revised its outlook on Computer Associates' ( CA) debt to negative from stable, citing concerns about the potential effects of preliminary
investigations into the company by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal regulators. In a press release, the ratings agency said it "will monitor the ongoing status of government investigations, the company's financial flexibility and its access to capital markets necessary to meet maturities in 2003." S&P currently has a triple-B-plus rating on CA's debt. "The current rating anticipates that Computer Associates will be able to access the capital markets to refinance medium-term maturities, although on a less favorable basis than previously expected," S&P said. Shares of Computer Associates dropped $2.91, or 15.4%, to $15.99 in New York Stock Exchange trading Friday after the company said it drew $600 million on one of its credit lines to pay off other borrowings and confirmed that the U.S. attorney's office and the SEC are investigating the company. Computer Associates said it wasn't certain about the details of the probe, but speculation on Wall Street has centered around the company's use of aggressive pro forma numbers in its financial statements.