Bond Ratings

The fiscal fitness exam performs a thorough analysis, but it takes some time and effort. Another way to get a reading on a firm's financial health is to piggyback on bond analysts' research.

Rating agencies such as Moody's Investors Service (www.moodys.com), Standard & Poors (www.standardandpoors.com), and Fitch (www.fitchratings.com), perform in-depth financial strength analyses of corporations that raise funds by issuing bonds or similar credit instruments. The company being rated pays for the analysis because it needs the rating to sell its bonds. So you won't find bond ratings for companies that raise funds strictly by selling stock.

Don't confuse bond ratings with the stock analysts' buy/sell ratings. Unlike stock analysts who ...

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