FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Fitch Ratings downgraded the debt of Italy, Spain and three other countries that use the euro on Friday, a possible setback as European leaders work to contain the continent's debt crisis.
The lower government-debt ratings for Italy, Spain, Belgium, Cyprus and Slovenia could make it more expensive for these countries to borrow.
Fitch said its decision was based on the deteriorating economic outlook in Europe, a concern that Europe's bailout fund is not large enough and a belief that European leaders are not acting quickly or boldly enough to prevent the debt crisis from worsening.
The downgrade came after European financial markets had closed. The major stock indexes of Germany, France and Britain fell slightly on Friday, while the euro rose 0.83 percent to $1.3189.