Fitch Ratings notes that during the first quarter of 2012 and for the 13th consecutive quarter, U.S. public finance rating downgrades outnumbered upgrades.

Both the number of upgrades and downgrades decreased from fourth-quarter 2011.

Downgrades still account for a small percentage of total public finance rating actions. Fitch downgraded 45 credits, which represented approximately 5% of all rating actions and $16.1 billion in par value. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Fitch downgraded 60 credits. Fitch upgraded 23 credits, which represented 2.8% of all rating actions and $6.3 billion in par value. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Fitch upgraded 25 credits.

The vast majority of rating actions (78%) in the first quarter were affirmations. Furthermore, 88% of ratings had a stable rating outlook at the end of the first quarter.

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