LONDON (AFX) - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it raised its long-term counterparty credit rating on Credit Suisse Group to A+ from A and affirmed the short-term A-1 counterparty credit rating, adding that the outlook is stable.

S&P raised the long and short-term counterparty credit ratings on the core operating subsidiaries Credit Suisse, Credit Suisse (USA) Inc, Credit Suisse International, Credit Suisse Holdings (USA) Inc and Credit Suisse International (Holding) AG to AA-/A-1+ from A+/A-1. The outlook for them is stable.

The upgrades follow Credit Suisse's news that it has agreed to sell Winterthur Swiss Insurance Co to AXA, which 'will produce material benefits' for Credit Suisse, said S&P credit analyst Nick Hill.

In a separate statement, S&P said it placed the A- long-term counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Winterthur on CreditWatch with positive implications.

Hill said a positive change in Credit Suisse's ratings would be subject to another major improvement in the group's profitability. Conversely, they could be constrained by unexpectedly large market losses, litigation charges, or a failure to deliver results from the integration of its banking businesses.

S&P credit analyst Hiltrud Besgen said Winterthur's CreditWatch placement indicates that its ratings might be raised by two notches, as S&P expects the company to be strategically important to AXA.

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