S&P Global Ratings Inc. said Wednesday that the number of “rising stars” has increased to the highest monthly total since before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The credit rating agency said there were five new rising stars (credit issuers with ratings upgraded to investment grade from speculative grade, or “junk” status) in April, the most in any month since late 2019. The rising stars also continued to outnumber “fallen angels” (issuers with ratings downgraded to “junk” from investment grade), of which there were three in April. Since the end of 2020, there have been 14 rising stars and seven fallen angels. The number of potential rising stars (issuers rated BB+ with positive outlooks) increased by six in April, while the number of potential fallen angels (issuers rated BBB- with negative outlooks) declined for a ninth straight month. “This continues the trend of improving credit quality that we’re seeing for many investment-grade, and near-investment-grade, issuers,” said Evan Gunter of S&P Global Ratings Performance Analytics.

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