S&P Expects U.S. Lawsuit Over Its Mortgage Ratings

The U.S. government is expected to file civil charges against Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, alleging that it improperly gave high ratings to mortgage debt that later plunged in value and helped fuel the 2008 financial crisis.

3 Reasons Apple's iPad Textbooks Will Earn an A

Tech giant Apple revealed its new digital textbook initiative on Thursday, joining with major publishers on a quest to replace heavy stacks of schoolbooks with iPads. There will obviously be resistance. Here are three reasons Apple's move will succeed in spite of it.

Get Ready for Great Recession, Part 2

The capital of Pennsylvania just fell into bankruptcy. What? You didn't hear? Neither did the financial markets -- yet. The day after Harrisburg bit the bullet, the Dow barely trembled, while the Nasdaq actually rose slightly. But two of our smartest investors seem to think this is a very big deal indeed.

Nine Cheap, High-Quality Stocks for the Long Run

Some stocks may seem like bargains when they're really duds. Here's how you can find stable, defensive stocks that might provide market-beating returns. You can start with these nine high-quality stocks that should do well for buy-and-hold investors.

McGraw-Hill and Scholastic Book Positive Earnings

While Amazon sucked up most of the air in book publishing circles this week, both Scholastic and McGraw-Hill quietly posted encouraging earnings reports, with promising signs of good tidings over the next three months.

Why Credit Ratings Have Outlived Their Usefulness

While defending the rating agencies last week before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Warren Buffett also admitted, "I don't need them." It seems that more and more, the financial markets are coming to agree with Buffett's stance on ratings.

The EU Tries to Curb the Ratings Agencies

European proposals aimed at better oversight of the ratings agencies will create a EU-wide watchdog to license and oversee the big three, taking these duties from member nations. But critics say the proposals don't go far enough.

Who's at Fault for the Financial Crisis? Everyone

Before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Warren Buffett essentially said this: We are all of us, himself included, a bunch of junkies -- and history shows that markets will always oblige us with a fix.

Big Ratings Agencies May Face New Competition

A decision by the U.S. Senate to restrict the ability of financial institutions to select a credit rating agency to evaluate their bonds may throw open the market to competition.

Legal Briefing: Will Big Banks Pay Over Misleading Ratings?

MBIA has sued Merrill Lynch because the CDOs on which Merrill bought insurance from MBIA were AAA-rated junk. MBIA says Merrill knew the CDOs didn't deserve the top rating at the time it insured them. If this case succeeds, big banks may find dud ratings very expensive.

McGraw-Hill Books Quarterly Profit after Tough 2009

Education publisher McGraw-Hill looks to have recovered from a particularly bruising 2009, posting a profit of $103.3 million, or 33 cents a share, up 65% from $63 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.

Will the Teflon Ratings Agencies Start Losing Fraud Suits?

Given the stories of inflated ratings leading unsuspecting investors to ruin, you'd think lawsuits against the credit raters would be slam dunks. But no. So far, the ratings agencies are undefeated. Here's why -- and why that losing streak could be in jeopardy after the latest revelations before Congress last week.

Behind the $4 Trillion in CDOs: Sneaky Banks and Worthless Ratings

CDOs were a way for investment banks to evade their capital requirements, just as asset-backed securities played a similar role for savings and loan institutions in the 1980s. This time around the banks had plenty of help, especially from fee-hungry credit agencies.

How the Ratings Agencies Lost the Will to Say 'No'

During Friday's hearings in Washington, ex-employees of Standard & Poors and Moody's, told a dark, detailed tale of how the ratings agencies produced inflated ratings. The biggest factor: "The threat of losing business to competitor rating agencies."

Emails Put New Heat on the Credit Rating Agencies

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs release scads of new documents. They provide a flavor for the behind-the-scenes pressure on analysts to maintain market share by keeping banks happy. The revelations are indeed telling.

Ratings Agences: Flush but Still Tarnished

Bond sales surged 41% to $1.2 trillion last year as companies rushed to take advantage of thawing credit markets. That means demand for ratings has also boomed, and both Moody's and S&P delivered solid results recently. But that doesn't mean all the damage to their names has been undone.

McGraw-Hill Reports Higher Earnings in Q4

McGraw-Hill reported its fourth quarter earnings Tuesday morning, and the results handily beat Wall Street expectations. Earnings included a pre-tax gain of $10.5 million, or $0.02 per share, from the company's sale of BusinessWeek to Bloomberg in December.

McGraw-Hill Faces a Tough Fourth Quarter

McGraw-Hill is coming off a tumultuous year that saw the sale of BusinessWeek to Bloomberg, a major corporate reorganization and its Standard & Poor unit slowly coming out of a funk, thanks to small improvements in debt markets.

Media Brain Trust: Death watch edition

The recession has already claimed its share of media properties, but, while the economy may or may not have touched bottom already, nobody who knows...