Times Staff and Wire Reports

S&P; Downgrades Daiwa Rating: Standard & Poor's downgraded Osaka, Japan-based Daiwa Bank Ltd., warning that the bank's financial woes may widen beyond the immediate impact of a bond-trading scandal's $1.1-billion loss. S&P; lowered Daiwa's long-term rating to BBB from A-minus, the biggest Japanese bank to rank that low. That is just one category above speculative or "junk" grade, although there are some intermediate steps within that category. S&P; also dropped Daiwa's short-term rating to A3 from A2. It was the first official assessment to contradict Daiwa's insistence that it can absorb the loss without further damage to the bank. Daiwa declined immediate comment.

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