Stung by low oil prices, Exxon loses 'AAA' rating from S&P

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — Low oil prices have helped cost Exxon its pristine "AAA" credit rating from Standard & Poor's, a label it held for over six decades.

The top "AAA" credit rating from S&P means a company's debt is the safest possible investment. Now only two other U.S. corporations are rated triple-A by S&P: consumer and medical products company Johnson & Johnson and technology company Microsoft.

S&P says it lowered Exxon's rating one notch to "AA+" because of slumping oil prices and the large dividend payments the oil giant makes to shareholders. The credit-rating agency says Exxon is more likely to pay dividends than save money or reduce its debt.

Exxon Mobil Corp., which is based in Irving, Texas, said in a statement that nothing has changed about its "financial philosophy."