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S&P put CME credit ratings on watch

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services placed CME Group Inc.’s credit ratings on watch for downgrade, saying the clearinghouse’s new service for fixed-income traders may weaken its financial safeguard system.

CME, the world’s largest futures exchange by trading volume, said Monday it was launching the service for fixed-income traders that lowers trading costs for interest-rate futures. The plan in is response to NYSE Euronext teaming with the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. to develop a facility that will let investors pool collateral posted against dealings in the interest-rate futures and cash Treasurys markets. Get the full story »

Chicago consumer credit default rates decline

Consumer credit default rates dropped in Chicago in January on a monthly and year-over-year basis, according to data released Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s and Experian.

The two firms track default rates across lines of consumer credit such as first and second mortgages, bank cards and auto loans. Chicago is one of five major cities that the S&P/Experian index breaks out separately. In Chicago, the January default rate was 2.74 percent, a decline of 42 percent from January 2010 and down 12 percent from December 2010. Get the full story »

Post-split Motorola to return to investment grade

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said it would lift its ratings on Motorola Inc.  back to investment-grade territory early next year when the telecom-equipment maker splits into two.

Last month, Motorola set Jan. 4 as the date it will separate into two companies. The current company will change its name to Motorola Solutions and hold onto the business mobile and networks divisions, which sells such products as police radios and barcode scanners. It will spin off a new company consisting of its consumer-focused handset business. Get the full story »

Best, worst bank stocks include 4 Chicago heavy hitters

Four banks with a meaningful Chicago presence made a list of the 20 best- and 20 worst-performing Midwest bank stocks.

The 20 best-performing Midwest bank stocks year to date include Chicago-based PrivateBancorp Inc. and  Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp, according to a report released Thursday by Oppenheimer & Co. Fifth Third ranks eighth in deposit  market share in the Chicago area.
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Case-Shiller shows small home-price gains

Like most major metropolitan areas, Chicago-area home prices rose marginally from April to May, but a “sustained recovery” remains out of sight, according to new data released Tuesday.

The widely-watched Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed that in the Chicago area, home prices rose 1.2 percent in May, compared with April, but remain 1.5  percent below their levels in May 2009. Get the full story »