The senior unsecured debt and preferred stock ratings of New Century Financial Corp. have been downgraded to D by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.The debt had previously been rated CC, and the stock had been rated C. New Century's counterparty credit rating was lowered from CC to D on March 12, S&P said. "The latest rating action follows New Century's announcement that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in light of continuing financial difficulties," the rating agency said. "Upon a bankruptcy filing, the 'D' category is used when we believe that payments on an obligation are jeopardized even though no payment default has yet occurred." S&P can be found online at http://www.standardandpoors.com.

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