Moody's Investors Service on Monday downgraded General Electric ( GE) debt from Aaa to Aa2.

The Moody's downgrade follows a similar move by Standard & Poor's earlier this month.

GE was one of just a handful of U.S. companies with a triple-A rating, and at one time the rating was an important asset to the company. It allowed GE to lend at a lower interest rate that many other financial companies, giving it a competitive advantage.

GE's financing costs, along with those of virtually all other companies, have risen considerably during the current crisis, however.

"This action was not unexpected in the current environment, and while no one likes a downgrade, Moody's, like S&P, confirmed the fundamental soundness of GE Capital and the strength of our industrial businesses," read a statement from GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.

GE shares recently were rising 5.8% to $10.09.

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