RATINGS – Evaluations of the credit quality of notes and bonds made by rating agencies. Ratings are intended to measure the probability of the timely repayment of principal of and interest on municipal securities. Ratings often are assigned upon issuance and are periodically reviewed and may be amended to reflect changes in the issuer’s credit position. Ratings also are sometimes assigned after the initial issuance, often on bonds that have been advance refunded. The factors upon which the rating agencies base their credit ratings vary with each type of issue. The ratings may derive from the credit worthiness of the issuer itself or from a credit enhancement feature of the security (e.g. guarantor, letter of credit provider, bond insurer, etc.). In the case of short term obligations, liquidity generally is a significant factor in determining a short term rating. Some rating agencies provide both long term and short term ratings on variable rate demand obligations.
The principal rating agencies in the municipal securities market use the following system of ratings as of the date of this publication – ratings from different rating agencies with the same or similar designation do not necessarily represent equivalent ratings – explanations of the significance of each rating classification are available from the rating agencies at the websites indicated:
See: CREDITWATCH; DOWNGRADE; FITCH RATINGS; INVESTMENT GRADE; MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC.; NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED STATISTICAL RATING ORGANIZATION; PROVISIONAL RATING; RATING AGENCY; SHADOW RATING; SPLIT RATINGS; STANDARD & POOR’S; UNDERLYING RATING; UPGRADE.