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European Banks Bark Back After Moody's Downgrades, Markets Steady


LES ECHOS (France), LE TEMPS (Switzerland), BLOOMBERG 

PARIS - The Moody's ratings agency's downgrading of 15 top Western banks reverberated in world financial capitals Friday, though markets held relatively steady in both Asia and Europe.

The announcement, made late on Thursday, sparked reactions Friday morning from top bank managers and analysts in Europe. One of several French banks affected, BNP Paribas complained that Moody's didn't "sufficiently take into consideration" its deleveraging plan currently underway, French business daily Les Echos reported

Still markets, including bank shares, were largely unaffected, as investors had been anticipating such a move for several months. Pending downgrades had already weighed on banks since Moody’s announced a review in February of 17 top banks. "Pressure mounted as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis intensified and cast doubt on the health of some of the continent’s lenders," Bloomberg reports.

The downgrades affected such US banking giants as Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp and Citigroup. Swiss bank Credit Suisse took the steepest hit, a three-notch downgrade. "Moody's announcement will have no material influence on neither the liquidity nor the financial planning of the bank," Credit Suisse spokesman Marc Dosch was quoted as saying in Geneva daily Le Temps.  

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