I’ve been wondering how much of last weeks tumbling market was due to rumors that an S&P downgrade was imminent. Here is one claim on this matter that indicates the answer is at least some of it:

At 8 a.m. Friday, S.& P. convened a global conference call of its sovereign rating committee… By 10 a.m., they’d reached a majority decision — the United States no longer was entitled to its top rating…

Rumors of a downgrade were already swirling in the markets — a prime reason the Dow dove more than 200 points at lunchtime, and at 1:15 p.m., the three men called the Treasury to inform them of the decision. “They were not pleased with the news,” Mr. Beers said.