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Moody's trims its rating for Toyota

MOODY'S Investors Service lowered its credit rating on Toyota Motor Corp, saying yesterday that the tough global auto market was seriously hurting the Japanese car maker's profitability.

Toyota, which is reporting earnings later, has already said it is expecting its first annual operating loss in 70 years for the fiscal year through March.

Toyota became the world's biggest car maker last year, dethroning General Motors Corp, but its auto sales have been battered, especially in the key North American market.

The Moody's agency lowered by one notch its long-term rating on Toyota from the top "Aaa" ranking to "Aa1," which still denotes extremely low risk. The company gave Toyota a "negative" rating outlook -- meaning the rating could be cut again -- as recovery would likely take time amid the global slowdown and the strong yen.

Moody's has also placed Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co under review.

Moody's also said stimulus measures that may kick in across various regions are likely to help car makers, including Toyota.

Toyota, which is cutting costs while continuing to invest in ecological technologies, should mark a recovery by the fiscal year ending March 2011, Moody's said in a statement.


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