Over 100 Companies Default on Debts with More to Come

Over 100 companies globally have defaulted on their debt this year, affecting $302 billion worth of securities, but that figure could rise as nearly 900 issuers are poised for credit downgrades, Standard & Poor's said on Monday. Of the 108 defaults this year, 86 are from the United States, seven from Europe, five each from Asia and Canada, three from Latin America, and two from Russia. The figure contrasts with 22 defaults in 2007 and 30 in 2006. Furthermore, there are 897 issuers poised for downgrades, with the United States topping the list of potential bond downgrades, said Diane Vazza, head of S&P's global fixed-income research group. The U.S. faces 531, or 59 percent, entities at risk for downgrades, but that concentration partly reflects the larger rated population in the U.S. Europe holds the next position, with 173, or 19 percent, entities at risk for downgrades. Read more.