The Scariest Business Stories of 2011

By Venessa Wong - 2011-11-02T17:07:00Z

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

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U.S. Credit Downgrade

When: Aug. 5
What: Congress may have avoided catastrophe by raising the debt ceiling, but for Standard & Poor's it was not enough. "The effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges," stated a release by the rating agency. The result: a downgrade of the U.S. debt rating to AA+, from AAA, calling into question the credit of the world's largest economy. After the scare subsided, U.S. Treasury bonds rallied.