Performance-related upgrades exceeded performance-related downgrades by 8-to-1 in the third quarter in the U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities market, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.S&P said in a recent report that there were 228 performance-related upgrades and 28 performance-related downgrades in the U.S. RMBS market during the quarter. "The catalysts for the overwhelmingly positive rating activity continue to include the effect of extraordinarily fast principal prepayments (driven by mortgage loan interest rates that neared a 45-year low), seasoning of the underlying mortgage loans, the shifting interest features of the transactions, market value appreciation, moderate delinquencies, and low losses," S&P said. The rating agency can be found on the Web at http://www.standardandpoors.com.

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