NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--During the second quarter of 2015 (2Q'15) and for the fifth straight quarter, U.S. public finance rating upgrades outnumbered downgrades, according to Fitch Ratings. The not-for-profit healthcare sector had the largest share of upgrades?15 out of 36 across U.S. public finance. Several hospitals and health systems have maintained strong operating performance which, combined with modest capital, has resulted in further improvement in balance sheet liquidity.
Despite the positive balance, par value for downgrades far exceeded upgrades, primarily due to the downgrade of Puerto Rico's general obligation bonds and other related debt.
Fitch downgraded 18 credits, which represented approximately 1.9% of all rating actions and $47.5 billion in par value. Fitch upgraded 36 credits, which represented 3.9% of all rating actions and $11.8 billion in par value. Strong financial position and management were common factors cited for credit upgrades.
The number of Negative Rating Outlooks (136) continued to exceed the number of Positive Rating Outlooks (106). However, Positive Rating Outlooks increased from the prior quarter and the number of Negative Rating Outlooks continued to decrease. The number of Negative Rating Outlooks was at its lowest level since 3Q'08.
A majority of the rating actions (89%) during the first quarter were affirmations. Furthermore, 93% of ratings had a Stable Rating Outlook at the end of the second quarter. Based on present distribution of Rating Outlooks and Watches within U.S. Public Finance, Fitch expects ratings to remain stable for most sectors throughout the year.
The full report 'U.S. Public Finance Rating Actions Second-Quarter 2015' summarizes these rating actions by sector and can be found at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
U.S. Public Finance Rating Actions Second-Quarter 2015