France strongly criticizes Standard & Poor's after rating agency accidentally sent note to some clients saying it was downgrading its view on the country's economy; S&P blames 'technical error,' says France's rating remains AAA

Cindy Allen

Cindy Allen

PARIS , November 11, 2011 () – France lashed out at ratings agency Standard & Poor's for accidentally sending out a note to some clients saying it was downgrading its view on Europe's second-biggest economy.

On the website of French newspaper La Tribune on Friday, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin described the S&P message "a rather shocking rumor of information that has no foundation."

In a statement about an hour and a half after the initial alert Thursday, Standard & Poor's said a technical error caused the automatic dissemination of a message to some subscribers.

Its ensuing statement that France's rating remained "AAA" is unlikely to assuage concerns that the country may be downgraded.

The French market regulator has already opened an investigation, at Baroin's request.

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