BY Elizabeth Lazarowitz DAILY NEWS BUSINESS WRITER
Tuesday, August 16th 2011, 12:14 PM
Fitch Ratings maintained its top-notch rating on U.S. debt, citing the country's role as a global financial leader and its flexible, rich economy.
The credit ratings agency said that the U.S.' AAA rating was warranted because "key pillars" of the U.S.'s "exceptional creditworthiness" remain intact.
That includes "its pivotal role in the global financial system and the flexible, diversified and wealthy economy that provides its revenue base," Fitch said.
The decision came a little over a week after Standard & Poor's cut its rating on U.S. debt by a notch, sparking a selloff in global stocks.
It lowered the rating to AA+ from AAA, saying there were doubts lawmakers could reach a meaningful deal on slashing massive public debt.
"I think they're looking at a broader perspective than S&P in the global aspects," Steve Goldman, Weeden & Co. market strategist told Reuters. "It's giving a sigh of relief to investors here."
Moody's Investors Service, the third big ratings agency, affirmed its top ranking on the U.S. last week.
Fitch said the outlook for the rating was stable, but warned that could change if policymakers fail to rein in the ballooning deficit.
Fitch's decision, along with unexpectedly strong industrial output data, gave stocks an early boost Tuesday.
But investors' enthusiasm faded as data showing sluggish growth in Germany sparked worries about the health of the global economy.