The US stepped back from the brink of default on Tuesday, but congressional approval of a last-ditch deficit-cutting plan failed to dispel fears of a credit downgrade and future tax and spending feuds.
President Barack Obama and lawmakers from across the political divide expressed relief over the hard-won compromise to raise the country’s borrowing authority after weeks of rancorous partisan battles.
Nevertheless, US stocks tumbled, turning negative for the year, as investors shifted their attention to the increasingly grim state of the US economy and the potential for a downgrade of America’s gold-plated debt rating.
That risk grew when one of the three major ratings agencies said it was affirming the US government’s AAA-rated sovereign debt but slapping it with a negative outlook.
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