Newton, Iowa - Maytag, which had about $1.1 billion in debt at the end of the first quarter, has had its long-term corporate and senior unsecured debt ratings lowered by Standard & Poor's, to BBB, from BBB-plus. The reduction reflects the majap company's weakened operating and financial performance, said the rating agency, which expects that Maytag will continue to be challenged by a slowdown in demand for major appliances. However, Standard & Poor's said Maytag's outlook is stable and that it believes the company's financial ratios will remain at current levels during the intermediate term. Maytag, which reports its second quarter July 15, had 4.1 percent lower sales in its home appliance segment in the first quarter, compared with the year-ago three months. Operating income decreased 34.6 percent for home appliances in the first quarter.
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