JPMorgan (JPM) reported worse-than-expected results, knocking stocks lower. Thereafter rumors and leaks started that S&P was going to lower credit ratings for eurozone countries including France. This is something that's been bandied about for quite awhile. S&P probably planned to do this Friday "after" the close of trading giving investors a three day weekend to digest it. But, leaks from S&P and calls to associated governments about to be downgraded got out and stocks were sold early. The rating agencies remain a fee conflicted lot just as they were in 1998 on Long Term Capital, 2002 Enron and pals and of course the CDO nonsense. They said they would change after each occasion but never have and won't given their fees. Ask Warren Buffett, owner of 12% of Moody's, if he wants them to change their business model. The French response to this was rather mild for now. I was expecting a raid on S&P headquarters or baguettes being thrown by the French army but that didn't happen. The only comment from the finance ministry was: "well, we're as good as the U.S." Gawd!!! What has been interesting, and could have been "the tell" for this market is the
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