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France, Austria lose triple-A ratings, + PiIgS too *PIC*

France, Austria lose triple-A ratings, Spain at A ( DXY EURUSD ) (by Sue Chang)

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Standard & Poor's late Friday stripped France and Austria of their triple-A ratings and also downgraded Spain, Italy, and Portugal. France and Austria are now both rated AA+ while Spain is at A and Italy is rated BBB+. Meanwhile, Portugal's rating was slashed to a junk grade of BB. The move had been anticipated after the ratings agency placed 15 euro-zone countries on CreditWatch negative in early December. The euro (eurusd) temporarily lost ground against the dollar following the announcement but it soon rebounded to 1.2675 while the dollar index (dxy) fell back from an initial spike to trade at 81.462 at last check.