Although two U.S. credit rating agencies have affirmed the country's top-tier AAA credit rating, both are maintaining a "negative" outlook on U.S. federal debt - making it clear this week's congressional debt-ceiling deal failed to bring about the deep-government-spending cuts the market was looking for.
After Congress on Tuesday approved a debt deal that would raise the country's debt limit by as much as $2.4 trillion, Moody's Investors Service (NYSE: MCO) and Fitch Ratings Inc. confirmed the United States' top-tier AAA credit rating - but gave it a "negative" outlook.
A "negative" outlook means the rating could be downgraded in the next year or two.
But the debt-ceiling saga isn't over: Standard & Poor's - which has taken the hardest line, stating there's a 50% chance it would slash the U.S. credit rating - has yet to deliver its decision.
All three of the rating firms - S&P, Moody's and Fitch - had warned that a downgrade was possible. S&P said it would downgrade the credit rating by one level if Congress didn't slash spending by at least $4 trillion over 10 years.