Healthcare debt downgrades outnumbered upgrades 12-to-6 in the third quarter, according to Moody's Investors Services, which maintained a negative outlook for the sector. The number of downgrades and upgrades was identical to the number in the third quarter of 2003, but slightly higher than the levels for the first half of 2004 and fourth quarter of 2003, Moody's said. The dollar amount of upgraded healthcare debt was greater than the amount of downgraded debt, but that result was due to a single large issuer, Adventist Health System Sunbelt. Adventist Health had $2.6 billion in debt upgraded to A3 from A2. Without Adventist, the value of downgraded debt exceeded upgraded debt 2.6-to-1, Moody's said. -- by Paul Barr
Healthcare downgrades continue to exceed upgrades
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