The number of residential mortgage-backed securities ratings handled by each of the three major rating agencies has been roughly equal, according to a Nov. 6 National Economic Research Associates study that each of the three agencies has responded to differently.Among other findings of the study was that S&P "was more likely than Fitch or Moody’s to initiate a downgrade in RMBS," S&P said. The study "confirms that there are real and substantive differences" between the three agencies, according to Moody's Investors Service, which contracted the NERA to conduct the independent study in 2001. In contrast, Fitch Ratings believes the study shows that those differences are "small." NERA can be found online at http://www.nera.com.

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