A day after Disney ( DIS) warned Wall Street that its theme park business continued to drag on the company's performance, Standard & Poor's said it placed Disney's long-term credit rating on watch for a possible downgrade.

S&P based Friday's move on what it called "postponed expectations" for Disney's credit measures to return to levels appropriate for its current A- rating. The downgrade potential, says S&P, is likely limited to one notch, or to BBB+, itself three notches above junk.

The ratings service says it earlier said that Disney would have to hit the financial hurdle of total debt amounting to no more than 2.5 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a common media industry bottom-line yardstick. "Disney's earnings trends do not suggest that restoring total debt to EBITDA of 2.5 times by the end of its fiscal year will be possible under prevailing trends," said S&P credit analyst Heather Goodchild in a statement.

"Operations remain under pressure from the weak U.S. economy, and parks and resorts are affected by the global economy," said Goodchild. "In addition, the broadcasting and theme park businesses, which are key incremental cash flow generators, also are suffering from non-economic pressures. Travel-related businesses will need increased confidence in security, and the ABC Television Network faces a major task to rebuild its prime time ratings."

Disney, which reported drooping earnings Thursday, fell 9% Friday to close at $15.31.

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