Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 10th 2013 Contents A43
November 10, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
PARIS---France s principal credit rating
was downgraded again Friday by Standard
& Poor s, which said the country has lim-
ited ability to get its public finances in
shape and make its economy more com-
The agency lowered France s long-term
foreign and local currency sovereign credit
ratings one notch to AA from AA+. How-
ever, the outlook for the rating is "stable,"
meaning no further changes are expected
in the near term.
Since taking office in 2012, President
Francois Hollande has passed some eco-
nomic reforms, such as making the labour
market more flexible and changing the
pension system, but many economists say
the changes are too incremental to improve
S&P said those reforms would likely be
"insufficient to significantly unlock France s
economic growth potential." France recently
saw a small rebound in growth after months
of stagnation, but real sustained growth is
expected to be slow in returning.
And the ratings agency added that high
unemployment---it is currently 11.1 per
cent---will make more reforms nearly
Without reforms, it can be difficult to
significantly reduce spending, and S&P
said France has already maxed out its ability
to raise taxes. That means the government
will also struggle to improve its public
finances, even more so as the agency
expects French unemployment to remain
above ten per cent until 2016.
"The overall effect appears to us to leave
France with less economic flexibility than
French credit rating cut by S&P again
NEW YORK---A former technology analyst plead-
ed guilty Friday to insider trading charges in a
co-operation deal with the government, admitting
that he told secrets to an SAC Capital portfolio
manager and others in 2009 about a blockbuster
deal between Microsoft and Yahoo.
Sandeep Aggarwal, 40, entered the plea to con-
spiracy and securities fraud charges, telling US
Magistrate Ronald L Ellis that he passed along tips
he learned from a former colleague at Microsoft
Corp about plans the company had to create a
search engine advertising partnership with Yahoo
The plea settled charges brought against Aggarwal
when he was arrested in July in San Jose, Califor-
Aggarwal said he was working as a senior analyst
at the San Francisco office of research firm Collins
Stewart when he provided inside information "to
improve my standing as an analyst" and to boost
the company s revenues. Collins Stewart has since
been acquired by the Vancouver-based Canaccord
He choked up as he told the judge: "I knew what
I was doing was wrong, and I am extremely sorry
for my actions."
His co-operation deal with the government could
bring him substantial leniency for charges that
otherwise would carry a potential prison sentence
of up to 25 years. A tentative sentencing date was
set for May 14.
During his plea, Aggarwal admitted providing
tips to Richard Lee, a former SAC portfolio manager
who pleaded guilty in July and is co-operating
with law enforcement.
In wiretap evidence described in a criminal com-
plaint, Aggarwal is heard telling Lee that he had
spoken to "a senior guy at Microsoft" who had
been "very, very accurate in the past in terms of
... telling me what s going on."
The plea came just hours before SAC Capital
was scheduled to plead guilty in Manhattan federal
court to insider trading charges in a deal that
carries with it a US$1.8 billion penalty, described
by the government as the largest insider trading
penalty in history.
The company is owned by billionaire Steven A
Cohen. He has not been criminally charged.
Analyst pleads guilty
in US insider case
other highly rated eurozone members," the agency
The market reaction to the downgrade in bond
markets was fairly muted, with the country s ten-
year bond was up a bare 0.02 percentage point at
2.18 per cent---still a historically low rate.
That may be because repeated downgrades have
taken the sting out. S&P was the first agency to
strip France of its top AAA rating last year. The
other two major ratings agencies, Moody s and Fitch,
have since followed suit.
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said
he regretted S&P s decision but emphasised that
France s credit rating remained among the highest
in the European Union and the world.
"I deplore certain judgments that, I think, are
inexact criticisms," Moscovici told France Info radio.
"They underestimate the ability of France to trans-
form itself, to right itself." (AP)
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