Last week, TCF Financial Corp. of Wayzata announced it refinanced $3.9 billion in long-term debt and sold $1.9 billion in mortgage-backed securities. The company said the restructuring will help it shift from financing real estate to specialty categories like autos and inventory.

The stock market bid up TCF shares 6.5 percent on the day of the announcement.

Fitch Ratings was more cautious. That same day, the credit rating agency downgraded TCF's long-term and short-term issuer default ratings, calling the restructuring neutral to its ratings.

Fitch said TCF's balance sheet moves could help long-term growth, but carry short-term risks related to execution, personnel, infrastructure and loan portfolio.

Fitch said of the downgrade: "Should the company find execution of this strategy challenging, either from an operational or credit perspective, the current ratings could be negatively impacted."

MOODY'S WORRIES ABOUT TWO MED-TECH MARKETS

Moody's Investors Service Senior Credit Officer Diana Lee has assigned an A1 rating to Medtronic's new senior notes offering but has given the notes a negative outlook, citing sluggish growth in cardiac rhythm disease management and spinal markets. All of Medtronic's other existing ratings remained unchanged.

"Medtronic's core cardiac rhythm disease management and spinal businesses continue to be negatively affected by a variety of market conditions," Lee said in Moody's release. "This, coupled with the likelihood that Medtronic will need to continue to borrow to fund its U.S. cash needs, supports a negative outlook."

 

PATRICK KENNEDY